Master of Arts in Political Science - Legislative Studies



Professors: Anthony M. Champagne, Harold D. Clarke, Euel Elliott, Edward J. Harpham, Robert C. Lowry, Marianne C. Stewart
Associate Professors: Thomas Brunell, Marie I. Chevrier, Gregory S. Thielemann
Assistant Professors: Patrick Brandt, Linda Camp Keith, Carole J. Wilson


Mission Statement


The mission of the Master of Arts in Political Science - Legislative Studies degree is to offer pre-professional instruction for students interested in positions as legislative staff, political consultants, or other careers in professional politics. Students will receive instruction that moves beyond the standard coursework in American and Texas government and politics by advancing their knowledge of legislative processes and the role that legislatures play at the local, state, and national levels of government. Graduates will have the communication, research and project management skills that are necessary for undertaking policy or political analysis in legislative and/or public affairs offices of the state of Texas and elsewhere.




Students in the Master of Arts in Political Science - Legislative Studies program will:

·         Demonstrate the ability to apply political science theories and concepts to the practice of politics.

·         Acquire detailed practical knowledge of the working of institutions and processes related to legislatures in Texas and the United States.

·         Develop basic skills in professional communication appropriate to political professionals.

·         Develop competency in analysis, evaluation and research design relevant to the practice of politics.




Students have access to the computing facilities in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences and the University’s Computing Center. The School has two computing laboratories that have over 30 computers that are network linked and equipped with major social science software packages, including E-Views, R. Rats, SPSS, and STATA. A computerized geographic information system, the Lexis Nexis Database and WestLaw are also available for student use. The University’s Computing Center provides personal computers and UNIX Workstations. Many important data and reference materials are available online from professional associations or at UTD via the Library's and School's memberships in the American Political Science Association, the European Consortium for Political Research, the Inter University Consortium for Political and Social Research, the Roper Center, and the University Consortium for Geographic Information Systems, and other organizations.


Students also have access to the non-partisan Center for the Study of Texas Politics.  The Center develops opportunities for North Texans to interact with Texas’ leading policy-makers while simultaneously enhancing the quality of instruction, research and service that exists in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.


Admissions Requirement

The University’s general admission requirements are discussed here.

The Master of Arts in Political Science seeks applications from students with a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university or college. Although applications will be reviewed holistically, in general, entering students have earned a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), and a combined verbal and quantitative score of at least 1100 on the Graduate Records Examination (GRE). Standardized test scores are only one of the factors taken into account in determining admission. Students should also submit all transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a one-page essay outlining the applicant’s background, education, and professional objectives. Applications are reviewed by the Political Science Program Committee in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.


Undergraduate students who are interested in completing their undergraduate degrees while simultaneously taking graduate courses in the M.A. in Political Science - Legislative Studies program are expected to meet the School’s “fast-tracking” requirements.




While there are no specific course prerequisites, entering students will benefit from exposure to undergraduate courses in the Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, statistics, and research design.  In cases where undergraduate preparation is not adequate, students may be required to take additional course work before starting the master's program.


Transfer Policies

Students who have previous graduate work pertinent to the requirements of a master’s program may be given up to 12 hours of transfer credit, and the hours of coursework required for the degree will be reduced accordingly. Students desiring to transfer graduate courses thought to be equivalent to core courses may be required to demonstrate competency through examination. The award of such transfer credit must be consistent with the University’s “Transfer of Credit” policy.

Degree Requirements

The University’s general degree requirements are discussed here.


Students seeking a Master of Arts in Political Science - Legislative Studies must complete at least 30 semester credit hours of work in the program, and must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average to graduate.


The curriculum has three components:

(1)  Fifteen semester hours of required coursework

(2)  Nine semester hours of prescribed electives

(3)  Six semester hours of internship.

Required Courses (15 hours)

All students should complete the core courses as soon as possible.

PSCI 5360         Data Collection and Analysis

PSCI 5362         Multivariate Models for Analyzing Political and Social Science Data

PSCI 5364         Public Opinion and Survey Research

PSCI 6324         Local and State Government and Politics

PSCI 6331         Executives, Legislatures, and Public Policy

Prescribed Electives (9 hours)

Three additional courses at the 6000 level on political and civic organizations, bureaucracy and public policy, campaigns and media, Congress, or the Texas legislature.


Internship (6 hours)


Each student’s degree program concludes with a six-credit hour internship over the summer semester. Internships will be done in the state legislature in Austin, in Congress in Washington DC, or at some other state or local agency.