GRADUATE STUDIES  |  Masters Program

Master of Science in Political Science (SM)

The MIT Political Science master's program prepares students to uncover essential insights into the workings of societies and governments in the 21st century. Master's students develop the skills and knowledge to evaluate and promote effective public policies.

How the master's program works

The one-year MIT Master of Science in Political Science is designed for students who want to build proficiency in applied research so that they can pursue successful careers in government, business, and public policy. Students interested in an academic career should read more about the PhD in Political Science.

The MIT Political Science master's program emphasizes intensive preparation in a single field of study:

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Models and Methods
  • Political Economy
  • Security Studies

1. Six subjects
You must satisfactorily complete a minimum of six graduate subjects. At least four of those subjects must be completed here at MIT Political Science. You may take the remaining two subjects at MIT or through cross-registration at Harvard University.

2. Sixty-six units
You must satisfactorily complete a program of study of at least 66 units—42 of those units must be H-level (higher level) subjects acceptable to the department.

3. Three semesters
The master's program requires a minimum of three semesters—typically fall, spring, and summer (summer tuition is subsidized by MIT). As a rule, students are not permitted to enroll for more than seven semesters to complete the degree.

4. Master's thesis
As a candidate for a master's degree, you must complete a thesis that is approved by two members of the faculty.

5. 3.5 GPA
You must maintain a grade point average of 3.5 in all subjects applied toward fulfillment of the requirements for your master's degree.

The master's thesis process
  • Seek out two members of the faculty to serve as your thesis advisors—one to serve as supervisor and the second as a reader.
  • Develop a schedule with your thesis advisors for the submission of outlines and drafts.
  • Consult your thesis advisors regularly during the planning and writing stages.
  • Submit the first draft of your thesis by the end of your second term.
  • Consult MIT Specifications for Thesis Preparation and MIT Political Science Thesis Guidelines for the strictly-enforced rules governing the format of your thesis.
  • Submit your final thesis to your advisors for review.
  • Defend your thesis orally to your faculty advisors.
  • Obtain official signatures from your principal advisor and the Graduate Program Committee chair approving your thesis.

Questions? Consult the MIT Political Science Departmental Handbook or a member of the staff in the MIT Political Science Graduate Office.



Susan Twarog
Graduate Administrator

Diana Gallagher
Graduate Administrator's Assistant

Graduate Office