Graduate program

Brock’s Master of Arts in Political Science program offers the high-quality academic pursuit available in larger institutions, but in a more intimate and collegial setting.

Students are given the opportunity to work closely with the department’s nationally and internationally recognized faculty in small, seminar-style classes and in one-one interaction.

Most MA students in the department are also employed as teaching or research assistants, allowing them to earn income to support their studies, while exposing them to the real worlds of academic teaching and research.

Our application deadline for full or part-time studies is February 1 for admission the following September. In exceptional circumstances students may be admitted to enter the program commencing coursework in January. But applications for January admission will only be accepted with advance permission from the Graduate Program Director.

Group of students studying in a cafe in downtown St. Catharines

MA in Political Science

View the details below and visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies for more information.

MA in Political Science

There are three types of courses in the MA program and all are one term in length:

  1. There are core courses, taught as seminars and restricted to graduate students. They provide an opportunity for critical examination of some of the most significant writings in the various subfields of the discipline and constitute a key component in the Brock MA program.
  2. There are specialized courses, most of which are taught in conjunction with fourth year undergraduate honours courses. However, graduate students will have assignments and responsibilities that differ from the undergraduate students. These are also seminar courses with small class sizes.
  3. In rare cases there are tutorial courses. These are individualized reading courses approved for students who want to pursue a topic not covered in the graduate curriculum.

A thesis or major essay is also a part of all courses of study. A thesis is an independent research project that makes an original contribution to the discipline. More information about thesis requirements can be found on the Faculty of Graduate Studies site. The essay (MRP) stream is the default option, and the one taken by most students. 
Students are required to consult with the Graduate Program Director, who will assist students in choosing among the various program options.

The MA program in political science allows students to specialize in one of five sub-fields of political science:

  1. Canadian Politics
  2. Comparative Politics
  3. International Relations
  4. Political Philosophy
  5. Public Policy

At the same time, all MA students are required to take core seminars focusing on the great works of political science and political science research methods. In this way, the program allows students to focus on their areas of research interest while ensuring they have the general knowledge and research skills necessary to see the significance of their research in broader context. The core seminars also contribute greatly to the widely renowned collegiality of the MA program.

“Students in our program are exposed to high-quality academic training in a mid-size institution that offers a combination of world-class seminars and a more intimate environment where their whole personalities are nurtured. The program is intellectually stimulating and socially enriching as students get the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world and work of the department’s nationally and internationally recognized faculty.  Our program appeals to students interested in government, law, international affairs, and to those who want to understand the shaping of our political world. Students can specialize in one of five fields:  Canadian politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory/philosophy, or public policy.”

— Tim Heinmiller, Graduate Program Director

Graduates of the program have proceeded to successful careers in government, politics, and business; many have pursued further study to become scholars and teachers.

The Department of Political Science prides itself on its research and publication record.  All faculty members have active research agendas, producing a continuous stream of journal articles, academic books, government reports, and other research resources.  Many faculty are strongly engaged with local, provincial, and federal policy communities, serving as media experts, policy advocates, and government consultants.

The department also has a strong record of attracting and securing research funding, used to support some of the larger faculty research projects.

The research and publications produced by the faculty span all of the sub-disciplines of political science, touching on some of the most important contemporary social and political issues.  Many faculty members are also involved in inter-disciplinary research endeavours with other social and natural scientists, providing even further opportunities for discovery and innovation.

Graduate Program Director 
Tim Heinmiller, Associate Professor
Office: Plaza 347
905-688-5550 x4232
theinmiller@brocku.ca