Graduate Program

Brock’s Master of Arts in Political Science offers the opportunity for students to study and work with nationally and internationally renowned scholars in an intimate and collegial environment.

As a Political Science graduate student, you will have the opportunity to learn from faculty members in small, seminar-style classes that allow for significant one-on-one interactions. For more on our program specializations, see below.

You will also have the opportunity to work alongside and benefit from the experience of faculty to design and complete a research project that reflects your interests. Our faculty are leading researchers in issues such as digital politics, Latin American social movements, Indigenous politics, migration, municipal politics, Canadian constitutional law, and more. For further information on our faculty’s diverse research interests, click here.

All successful MA applicants also receive a position as teaching or research assistants. These paid positions offer valuable experience in academic teaching and research.

For further information about the program’s structure and how to apply, see below.


Graduate Program Director
Paul Hamilton, Associate Professor
905-688-5550 x4646

Key Resources

At a glance: Program Overview

To browse courses: Graduate Calendar

For current students: Graduate Handbook and Progress Report

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


Our MA program allows students to specialize in one of the sub-fields of political science and to benefit from the expertise of our dedicated faculty members. Read on to learn about our faculty’s research interests and our program specializations:

Several areas of Canadian politics are of particular interest to Brock faculty, including advocacy groups and social movements, the constitution and judicial review, digital politics, elections and voting behaviour, Indigenous politics, municipal politics, and the politics of immigration and diversity. Canadian phenomena can also be studied within the field of public policy — the two fields work closely together at Brock.

Faculty Spotlight

Livianna Tossutti, Associate Professor

Dr. Tossutti’s research is focused on immigration and diversity policies, social capital, the political behaviour and representation of youths, immigrants and racialized minorities, and on resilient cities and neighbourhoods. She is writing a book on how Canadian municipalities have adapted their plans, policies and practises to immigration and diversity (University of Toronto Press). She is the lead author (with Eric Mintz, Kathy Brock and Doreen Barrie) of Canadian Politics Today: Democracy, Diversity and Good Government, a fully digital and interactive text on Canadian politics, and co-author of three previous editions of the text.

Canadian Politics Faculty:
Nicole Goodman
Matthew Hennigar
Livianna Tossutti

Other faculty who may offer courses on Canadian Politics include:
Charles Conteh
Hevina Dashwood
Tim Heinmiller
Danielle McNabb

North America, South America, Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa are areas of focus for members of the department. Subjects of special interest are federalism, nationalism, the integration and disintegration of political communities, judiciaries and constitutional law, civil society and development, global Indigenous politics, and the impact of multilateral political and economic organizations on domestic political institutions.

Faculty Spotlight

Pascal Lupien, Associate Professor

Social movements and participatory democracy in latin america

My research interests revolve around participatory democracy, social movements, political communication and technology, and the factors that enhance or diminish the capacity of marginalized communities to participate in politics. Here In North America, we don’t really have mechanisms for engaging in participatory democracy, unlike in Latin America where people are able to engage in making decisions and those decisions are binding. What can Canada, a country that has systems from the 19th century functioning essentially unchanged today, learn from the democratic innovation in countries that have experimented with participatory democracy? That is what I’m interested in, along with social movements, particularly Indigenous social movements. More recently — and this is the subject of my most recent book — I’ve explored how Indigenous social movements use digital technologies to engage in the political sphere and the extent to which these types of technologies help or hinder their efforts.

Comparative Politics Faculty
Paul Hamilton’s main research interests are nationalism, identity, and environmentalism in North America and Western Europe.

Several additional faculty members whose primary areas of research are in Canadian or international politics also sometimes do comparative research. They include:
Charles Conteh (economic development and governance in developing countries)
Hevina S. Dashwood (politics in Africa)
Tim Heinmiller (environmental governance in developed countries)
Matthew Hennigar (comparative law and judicial systems)
Pierre Lizee (politics in Southeast Asia)
Livianna Tossutti (public opinion in Canada, the US, and other advanced democratic systems)

The specialization in international politics encompasses the diversity of conceptual insights and theoretical perspectives that reflect the complexity of global relations today. Subjects of special interest include traditional and new sources of threats to security, global political-economic relations, global digital economy, international theory, problems of global economic and political governance among multiple actors, international Indigenous relations, and issues pertaining to international ethics.

Faculty Spotlight

Blayne Haggart, Associate Professor

Studying the intersection of technology and politics

My current research focuses on how the collection of data and the emergence of large online companies like Google and Amazon are transforming politics and the economy. In particular, I am interested in how these companies can be made more democratically accountable to the people who use and depend on them. As a result of my work, I have testified before Parliament on regulating platforms and have lectured throughout Europe on topics such as the governance of smart cities. I’ve also published several books on these issues. The digital economy is only going to become more important, which makes this an exciting area to study.

Faculty page

Personal homepage

International Relations Faculty:
Hevina S. Dashwood
Pierre Lizée
Liam Midzain-Gobin

This specialization provides a distinctive blend of the political, legal, and administrative dimensions of public policy at the federal, provincial, and local levels. Special areas of focus are business-government relations, public policy theory, and policymaking.

Faculty Spotlight

Tim Heinmiller, Professor

Studying Canadian public policy using ACF 

My main research area is public policy and more specifically, Canadian public policy. I am interested in investigating how and why Canadian governments make policy decisions, particularly big changes. Right now, I am working on cannabis policy. For almost 100 years, it was prohibited and criminalized. Then, in 2018, it was legalized. That’s a 180 turn in government policy. Understanding how our government made a big decision like this is really about understanding how Canadian democracy works. To do so, I use the advocacy coalition framework (ACF), one of several theories of policymaking. It’s a framework I’ve taken the lead on and as a result of my work, I have connected with an international group of scholars who also work on advocacy coalitions and ACF.  

Public Policy & Administration Faculty
Charles Conteh – Professor Conteh’s research and teaching interests are in the areas of Canadian and Comparative Public Policy, Public Management, Political Economy and Multilevel Governance. His current research focuses on innovation policy development and governance in complex and dynamic political systems, particularly examining policy formulation and implementation in the context of Canadian federalism. He currently investigates how local and regional economies are reinventing themselves in the face of seismic global economic, technological and ecological changes.

Joanne Heritz – Professor Heritz’s current research and teaching interests are in Public Policy, Public Administration, and Canadian Studies. Research interests include urban Indigenous Peoples in Canada, the representation of marginalized minorities in policy processes, and urban governance. Current research projects address the housing crisis in Canada. A community-driven partnership with the Indigenous community in Niagara assists in asserting their voices in local housing policy. Another project looks at how soaring housing costs have impacted on sustaining food security in Niagara. 

Danielle McNabb – Professor McNabb’s research and teaching interests focus on Canadian public law and criminal justice policy and administration. A central part of her work in public law examines how and why political actors rely on the courts to resolve issues of politics and public policy. One of her larger projects supported by SSHRC explores forms of “legal mobilization”—or in other words, the mechanisms by which citizens, governments, and organizations strategically use the law and courts to produce social and political change. With respect to criminal justice, much of her work has focused on police and police oversight. Her past and current work examines how civilian oversight agencies such as the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of Ontario respond to allegations of police criminality. Professor McNabb’s research also explores legal and political responses to sexual violence—she has published articles on topics such as “rape shield” legislation, police-involved sexual assault, and the #MeToo movement.

Course of study

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. Specialized courses, tutorial courses, and the MRP or thesis round out the course of study.

Core Courses

Taught as seminars and restricted to graduate students. Core courses 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 of the MA program.

Specialized Courses

Most specialized courses 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.

Tutorial Courses

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 a key degree component

The essay (major research project, or MRP) is the default option, and the one taken by most students. Students are required to consult with the Graduate Program Director, who will assist in choosing among the various program options.

Program Details

Entry point

September (full-time or part-time)


  • MRP – 3 terms (12 months)
  • Thesis – 3 terms (12 months)

This program is funded for the defined length above.

Application Deadline

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 be accepted only with advance permission from the Graduate Program Director.

Admission requirements

  1. Check the university requirements and the program requirements.
  2. Complete the online application and submit the non-refundable application fee.
  3. You will need to submit your transcripts as well as the following program-specific materials:
    • Three references are required.
    • A brief statement of your specific current academic interests and your intentions with regard to studies in a particular field of concentration. Tell us why you think our program is suited to your own special academic and research interests.
    • A current resumé
    • A copy of a paper that you have written for one of your university courses — it would be especially helpful if this essay falls within the area of interest you hope to pursue at the graduate level.

After the program

Colton Ambrosio

“… a unique opportunity to learn about several areas across the globe with faculty members who are world-renowned experts.”

Felisia Milana

“Brock’s Political Science program is about expanding on your existing knowledge of political science while also enhancing your understanding of world views.”

Peter Sekyere

“I loved every experience of it — the challenging nature of the course, the opportunities, and the sense of empowerment.”

  • Law
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In their own voices: Brock graduates talk about the Political Science MA program