MA Admissions

Admission to the MA program in Politics are accepted for the fall semester only.  Our priority application deadline is January 4th.  

Please visit the GSAS Application Resource Center for comprehensive information on the application process and to access the on-line application.      

Application Requirements

The following application materials are required along with the on-line application:

•     Official GRE :   GRE scores are required for all applicants.
•    TOEFL or IELTS test scores:   TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for all international applicants unless you received your undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution where English was the language of instruction.
•     Academic transcripts:  Academic transcript(s) from each undergraduate and/or graduate institutions you have attended.
•     Statement of Academic Purpose:  A clear and concise statement of your reasons for applying to the MA program and your goals and objectives in terms of obtaining a Master’s Degree in Politics.  Should be no more than two pages, double-spaced.
•     Writing sample:  The writing sample should be a paper from an undergraduate or graduate class, a chapter from a thesis, or a publication.  It should be written in the English language, double-spaced, and should not exceed 25 pages.
•     Resume or CV
•     Three letters of recommendation

Admissions FAQ

Must my bachelor’s degree be in political science in order to apply?
No.  While many of the students in the MA program were political science majors, it is not a requirement.  We have students in the program from a wide range of undergraduate backgrounds although it is helpful from an admissions perspective if you have had some courses in political science or one of the other social sciences.  

Do you have a minimum GPA requirement?
No.  While we do expect applicants to have at least a 3.0 GPA, we do not impose it as a required minimum.  We recognize that there may be particular circumstances that led to a lower undergraduate GPA and consider all aspects of your application in our admission decision.

What are the minimum GRE scores for admissions?  
We do not have a fixed minimum.  All components of your application are taken into consideration when reviewing your application.

What are the average GRE or TOEFL scores or GPAs of admitted students?
We do not track average GRE or TOEFL/IELTS scores or GPAs.  

Can the GRE be waived?
No. The GRE is required for all applicants. There are no exceptions.

Can the TOEFL or IELTS be waived?
The TOEFL or IELTS can be waived only if you received your undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution where English was the language of instruction.

Can my GRE/TOEFL/IELTS scores arrive after the application deadline?
Yes, but we cannot make an offer of admission until all required test scores are received.

I have not yet completed my undergraduate degree, so I do not have a final transcript.  What should I include with my application?
While you must have received your undergraduate degree prior to enrollment in the graduate school, it is not uncommon for applicants to still be enrolled as undergraduates at the time of the application deadline.  If you are currently completing your undergraduate degree, you should include your most current transcript. Please not the offers of admission are not final until an applicant’s final transcript listing their degree and conferral date is submitted.  

What should I include in my statement of academic purpose?
Your statement of academic purpose should be a statement of your goals and reasons for pursuing a master’s degree in political science.  It should demonstrate your interest in political science, whether through your education or work or life experiences.  You may address your main areas of research interests, what your long-term career goals are, and why you are applying to the NYU Department of Politics.  You may include any information you think is important for us to know in evaluating your application.  Your statement of academic purpose should be written clear and concisely in order to demonstrate your writing ability.

Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation are a very important part of your application.  You should ask individuals who are best able to evaluate your past academic performance and your abilities to pursue a master’s degree.  While we encourage you to have letters of recommendation from professors who are familiar with your academics abilities, it is acceptable to have some of your letters of recommendations written by non-academics who know you in a professional capacity, such as an internship or work supervisor.  

What are you looking for in a writing sample?
Writing samples are varied.  Your writing sample might be a research paper or an essay from an undergraduate (or graduate) class, a chapter or excerpt from you thesis, or even possibly a published work.  We encourage you to submit what you feel is your best work in terms or demonstrating research or analytical abilities.  It should also demonstrate your ability to write clearly.  While we encourage you to submit a writing sample from a political science or related course, we realize that not all applicants are in a position to do so.

Can I apply for admission as a part-time student?
Yes.  Some of our students work full-time and are enrolled in the program part-time.

Do you accept non-degree students?
No.  At this time, the department does not accept non-degree students.

When are admissions decisions made?
Applicants to the MA program are usually informed in March.

Prospective Student FAQs

How long does it take to complete the MA program?  
Most full-time students complete the MA in Politics in 3-4 semesters.  Most part-time students usually finish in 2-3 years.  The time limit for completion of the degree is 5 years for both full-time and part-time students.

How many students are in the MA program?
The number of students enrolled in the program varies each year.  We generally enroll about 25-30 new MA students per year.

What are the requirements of the MA in Politics?
For an overview of the requirements for the master’s degree, please link here.  

What is the foreign language requirement?  Do I need to enter the program with proficiency in a foreign language?
Students must demonstrate proficiency in one language other than English or with permission of the MA Program Director, in statistics.  Proficiency in a foreign language is demonstrated after entering the program.  Students demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language by passing the GSAS foreign language proficiency examination or by earning a grade of B or better in a fourth semester (intermediate-level II) university foreign language course.  Students demonstrate competency in statistics by completing Quantitative Analysis II (POL-GA 2127) with a grade of B or better.   A student whose native language is not English may have the foreign language requirement waived.

Can I transfer credits?
MA students can transfer up to nine graduate level credits from an accredited institution.   Eligible courses must have a grade of B of better, must be relevant to political science, and must not have counted towards a degree that has already been awarded (whether an undergraduate or graduate degree).  Transferred courses cannot be substituted for departmental core courses.  Transfer of credit for courses older than ten years is not allowed.  Please note that the Graduate School of Arts and Science has final authority to approve credit transfers.  

Can I take courses in other departments?
MA students may take up to 8 graduate-level credits outside of the Department of Politics.  Whether the course is appropriate for the MA degree is something you would discuss with your faculty advisor. Our MA students have taken courses in many different departments and schools at NYU.  Please note that courses in other departments may require the approval of the course instructor.   

What is the cost of attending NYU?
You should refer to the Bursar’s web page for the most up to date information on tuition and fees for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.   Tuition for the graduate school is paid on a per-credit basis, and the MA in Politics is a 36 credit/point program with full-time study being 12 credits/points per semester.  You will also need to account for fees and the cost of mandatory health insurance.  

Do you have funding available/ scholarships for MA students?
We do not have fellowships or assistantships available for students in the MA program, although many of our students receive funding from external sources. Students receiving external funding may be eligible to receive additional funding through the Graduate School’s Tuition Incentive Program. For more information on financing graduate education please visit the Graduate School’s overview on financial aid.   MA students are eligible for conference funding at the departmental level and through the Dean’s Student Travel Grant Program.

What do MA politics students do after completing their degrees?
Graduates of the MA program and Politics have embarked on a number of different career paths.   Alumni of the program work for the government and in public sector, at non-profits, and in the private sector.  A number of our students have entered competitive PhD programs.   As a student in the program, you would have access to all of the resources provided by NYU’s Wasserman Center for Career Development, including advisors with their Graduate Student Career Development Team, their online job search database, and on-campus recruitment.

Does the MA program lead to the PhD program in Politics?
The MA in Politics is a terminal master’s degree program and does not lead into the PhD program.  The two programs are separate and students cannot transfer from the master’s program to the PhD program.  However, students can apply to the PhD program while enrolled in the MA program. Our MA program lays the groundwork for students wishing to pursue a PhD, as it provides methodological training, the opportunity to work with faculty and develop research interests, and advisement on the application process. A number of our alumni have been successful in gaining admission to competitive PhD programs.

Can I pursue an internship as an MA student?
Yes.  Our students have completed internships both for credit and no-credit.  Each student is responsible for securing his or her own internship.  Many internship opportunities can be found through the Wasserman Center for Career Development.  Students seeking credit for the internship would enroll in the MA Internship Seminar, in conjunction with the internship.

How do I visit before applying?
If you live in or are planning on visiting the New York City area, please email us at to set up an appointment.

How can I learn more about the MA Program?
If you have any questions regarding the MA program or the application process, please email us at