Jun 13, 2024  
Catalog 2015-2016 
    
Catalog 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political and Justice Studies, M.A.


The College of Arts and Sciences  graduate major in Political and Justice Studies is designed to develop the conceptual abilities and substantive knowledge needed to acquire an understanding of political behavior, current policy issues, problems, and changes in government and society. The curriculum addresses the areas of American politics, justice studies, public policy formulation and evaluation, comparative politics, and international relations. The major and its related course offerings provide individuals with the opportunity to study areas such as American government and public policy, justice studies, comparative politics, and international affairs. The graduate program provides an academic foundation for students seeking careers in higher education, the legal profession, state or local governments, the non-profit sector, the federal bureaucracy, justice related fields, or organizations that monitor political and social processes or influence the content of public policy.

Admission Requirements and Recommended Preparation

In addition to the university admissions requirements, students applying to the Political and Justice Studies MA program must submit:

  • Official transcripts showing successful completion of a bachelor’s degree. Applicants will be expected to have a 2.75 cumulative G.P. A. (on a 4.0 scale);
  • Submit a letter of application explaining a statement of personal interest in pursuing a master’s degree in the Political and Justice Studies program. This statement should be specific and include information about the applicant’s short- and long-term goals, and how enrolling in the program may help achieve them.
  • Completed applications must be submitted by June 1st for fall admission and November 1st for spring admission.
  • Addition material such as confidential letters of recommendation from professional references (e. g. current or former college faculty member, current or former work supervisor, or community leader) and written work may be requested by the program admissions committee or submitted voluntarily by the student for admission consideration.

Students seeking admission to the Political and Justice Studies MA program with a GPA lower than 2.75, but have a strong personal interest in the program may petition to the graduate program admissions committee for admission. The admissions committee takes into consideration strong letters of recommendation from professional references that attest to the student’s abilities in writing and communication skills and concrete examples of the student’s leadership abilities.

An undergraduate major or minor in political science, or a major in one of the social sciences or humanities, including anthropology, economics, sociology, history, philosophy, international studies, black studies, or area studies is recommended. Students may be required to demonstrate competency for graduate work by satisfying the following undergraduate preparatory courses at Governors State University or another accredited university: Foundations of U.S. Democracy (POLS-2100 ) and a research methods course such as SOSC-4500 . These courses must be completed with a grade of “B” or better and are required in addition to the degree requirements listed below.

It is also highly recommended that students enroll in POJS - 6100 Theoretical Foundation of Political and Justice Studies (3)  and POJS - 6120 Research Methods (3) , as well as attend a program orientation at the earliest opportunity.

Transfer Credits

Providing that University policies regarding transfer of graduate credits are met, transfer credit will only be allowed for courses taken in a graduate social science or related graduate programs at accredited institutions. A limit of nine hours of transferable credits can be awarded for the Political and Justice Studies master’s degree program.

Admission to Candidacy

After admission as a degree-seeking student, a student also must apply for candidacy. Application for candidacy should be made at the beginning of the term in which the student expects to fulfill the candidacy requirements. Application forms are available in the college office. To qualify for degree candidacy, a student must:

  1. complete each of the core courses listed below with a grade of “B” or better;
  2. complete the selectives course work with a grade average of “B” or better, and;
  3. with approval of a committee comprised of at least two Political and Justice Studies faculty, complete a proposal for either a thesis topic, internship project, or directed readings and obtain the committee’s approval to study for the comprehensive examination.

More detailed candidacy information is available through the division office or the student’s advisor.

Degree Requirements


Students must meet all university requirements for a master’s degree.

Selectives (15 Hours)


In consultation with an advisor, students select at least 15 hours from the areas below. Courses must be taken in at least two areas. The following courses are suggestive of those that will fulfill this requirement.

Thesis/Internship Paper/Practicum/Directed Readings Options (3 or 6 Hours)


Students must be in Candidacy Status before registering for the thesis, internship, practicum, or directed readings options. This includes having completed all core courses with a grade of “B” or better and an overall grade point average of B or higher.

Select one of the following options:

A. Thesis/Project Option (3 Hours):


A panel of three faculty members, one of which is the thesis director who is faculty from Political and Justice Studies, must approve the thesis. Students must also present their thesis to invited faculty members in a public forum. It is highly recommended that student enroll in POJS - 8700 Graduate Research (1-4)  prior to registering for thesis hours in order to allow the student the requisite time to complete the readings and research needed for a quality thesis. The student is also responsible for circulating the paperwork so that all three readers (one main reader from Political and Justice Studies faculty and at least two secondary readers, with one of the secondary readers being a faculty member from Political and Justice Studies) sign the appropriate paperwork for a timely registration. POJS-8700  and POJS-8990  must be completed with at least a “B” grade.

B. Directed Readings Option (6 Hours):


The directed readings option requires students to take the directed readings course twice covering two distinct areas of study. Readings are selected from the following areas: American Politics and Public Policy, Social Justice and Public Policy, and Comparative and Global Politics.

Students must successfully pass two comprehensive examinations covering the two areas selected with a “B” or higher. Directed Readings (POJS-8981  & POJS-8982 ) must be taken in two different fields and they must be taken with two different faculty members as the main readers, with at least two secondary readers, with one of the secondary readers being a faculty member from Political and Justice Studies.

C. Internship/Practicum Project and Paper Option (6 Hours):


Students may select the internship project for a total of six credits and will have completed 300 hours at the internship/practicum experience. The analytical internship paper option involves the application of the student’s knowledge and skills in a culminating experience approved by a main faculty supervisor in consultation with a panel of two additional faculty readers, with at least one of the secondary readers being a faculty member from Political and Justice Studies who will also read and evaluate the culminating major analytical paper. POJS-8970  must be completed with at least a “B” grade.

D. Directed Scholarship I


If the Thesis/Internship/Practicum/Directed readings Options (graduate capstone) is not completed in the term the student is enrolled in the graduate capstone course, students may, under the supervision of the graduate faculty member, register for POJS - 8999 Directed Scholarship: Political and Justice Studies (1-2)  to maintain active enrolment in their graduate program while completing the requirements for their degree. To receive this option, students must have received a grade of “CO” in the graduate capstone course and completed a Student Contract that is signed by the student, thesis director, and department/division chair that clearly specifies how the student will demonstrate significant progress towards or completion of the graduate capstone designate for which they are registered (hold the “CO” in). NOTE: This course is variable (1-2) in credit hours, repeatable (not replaceable) for a maximum of three times in a degree program, and is a P/NC option.

Total with Thesis/Project - 33 Hours


Total with Directed Readings/Internship/Practicum Project - 36 Hours