Master's Programs in Political Science


With over 80 years of storied excellence, Duke’s Department of Political Science has produced expert, global leadership on the most important political issues of the last century.  Built around an international Duke faculty, the MA program in political science offers the perfect launch to a career in political discourse.  

Our MA students work alongside our Ph.D. students in seminar courses and receive the same access to faculty mentorship. Dedicated experts in the department provide our MA students guidance on the thesis-writing process.  Seminar courses unpack leading approaches to analytic and methodological standards in political analysis.

As a result, we have a strong track record of helping to place students into Ph.D. programs. In recent years our MAs have achieved entry into Ph.D. programs such as NYU, Princeton, Emory, Chicago, Maryland, Penn State, and of course, Duke itself. In addition, our program is both flexible and rigorous, and the skills we cultivate translate well to careers in the public sector (foreign service, state department, federal administration) and the private sector (mostly NGOs and companies with international outreach).

Students in the graduate master's program in political science will pursue coursework in two fields of the discipline, selected from the following: Normative Political Theory & Philosophy; Political Behavior & Identities; Political Institutions; Political Economy; Political Methodology; and Security, Peace & Conflict. Typically, students who are pursuing only the M.A. degree are not eligible for departmental financial assistance. However, there may be opportunities for financial support for select admits. In addition, the MELD program offers participating students paid internships. Moreover, the Dean’s Research Award for Master’s Students provides funds for conference or research travel or research supplies in support of degree completion. 

MA students are encouraged to take advantage of a new Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning for Development (MELD) Program. The MELD Program will provide paid internships and training opportunities during the academic year for students interested in a career in research and evaluation in the international development industry. Admission to MELD is subject to an application process and spaces are limited. In coordination with DevLab@Duke, the program will engage students in the management and implementation of real-world development research and evaluation, with the objective of strengthening both research and management skills.