Students may not apply directly for the master’s, and should instead see the admissions information for the Ph.D. This master’s program is offered for work done en route to the Ph.D. 

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

The department funding guarantee applies to all students admitted to the Ph.D. program. Support may be in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships, or as an assistant to a faculty research project.

The department does not admit for a master’s degree in political science. Please see admissions information for the Ph.D.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements No other grade requirements.
Assessments and Examinations No formal examination required.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

General Structure of the Program
POLI SCI 800 Political Science as a Discipline and Profession1
POLI SCI 817 Empirical Methods of Political Inquiry3
Statistical Methodology Coursework-Graduate Level3
At least 18 of the 30 credits must be earned in graduate courses in Political Science at the 800 level or above. 18
No more than 3 credits of POLI SCI 999 may count toward the degree.
Meet the minimum graduate credit requirement.5
Maintain minimum of B average in coursework.
Courses taken outside the department must be chosen in consultation with a student’s advisor and must be at a level (300 or above ) for which graduate credit is available.
Total Credits30

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

No credits from graduate work from other institutions may count toward the degree.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

UW–Madison University Special

No credits from a UW–Madison University Special student career may count toward the degree.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).


All students are required to meet with their advisor to discuss the first year review.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

grievances and appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.


The department currently guarantees at least five years of financial support to all students admitted to the doctoral program, assuming they are making satisfactory progress toward their degrees. This funding may be in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships, or project assistantships. All appointments receive valuable fringe benefits such as excellent health insurance and tuition remission.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Develop an appreciation of the diverse subfields of political science.
  2. Learn to articulate questions of importance to the field that can be answered using the methods of political science.
  3. Learn to select and utilize methods of political inquiry appropriate to particular research questions.
  4. Learn to constructively critique existing work in political science.
  5. Develop an understanding of political science from an historical context.
  6. Recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct in research, teaching, and service.

Faculty: Professors: Avramenko, Burden, Canon (Chair fall 2020), Cramer, Copelovitch, Kapust, Hendley, Herrera, Kydd, Marquez, Martin, Mayer, Owens, Pevehouse, Ringe, Schweber, Shelef, Straus (Chair starting spring 2021), Tripp, Weimer, Yackee, Weeks, Zumbrunnen; Associate Professors: Bhavnani, Powell, Renshon, Simmons, Tahk, Johnson; Assistant Professors: Brooke, Lei, Lo, Lindsay, Schwarze, Shalaby

More information can be found here: https://polisci.wisc.edu/faculty-2/