Accelerated M.A. degree in political science partners with Honors Program

The Department of Political Science recently partnered with NIU’s Honors Program to provide students interested in earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years, guaranteed seats in the program.

Students must complete all the requirements for the Political Science B.A. or B.S. degree programs (with an emphasis in politics and governance) as well as all general education requirements by the end of their junior year. Students will need still need to apply to the M.A. program and take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), and score within specific targets. Beginning with the first semester of their senior year, students will start taking classes in the Political Science M.A. program as well as complete undergraduate departmental honors. These courses will count toward the final 24 credits of the undergraduate degree and can be used to fulfill a student’s final Honors Program requirements. Upon receiving their undergraduate degree, students will then follow the standard timetable for receiving an M.A. in political science.

Selecting the accelerated master’s track results in considerable cost savings for the student, according to Scot Schraufnagel, chair of the Department of Political Science. In addition to shaving off one year of tuition, fees and living expenses, the student will pay undergraduate tuition in the fourth year, while already being enrolled in graduate school.

“Having a select number of seats set aside for guaranteed admission by the Department of Political Science for their accelerated B.S. or B.A./M.A. is a benefit that only a handful of Honors Programs across the country offer,” said Todd Gilson, director of the Honors Program. “This intentional partnership provides students a unique vehicle to study with outstanding professors and leave NIU with an advanced degree in a condensed timeline.”

The program, open to all undergraduates who major in political science, provides students with additional opportunities and enhances skills employers are looking for.

“Increasingly quality government jobs require an advanced degree,” Schraufnagel said. “This program allows students to become eligible for many mid-level manager positions at both the state and national government levels. For instance, many federal law enforcement positions require an advanced degree.”

The M.A. in political science is a research degree, which means that students will develop analytical skills, which the private sector and nongovernment organizations are increasingly looking for. The degree allows students to test themselves to learn whether they want to pursue a career as an academic without having to fully commit to a doctoral degree program.

For more information about the accelerated M.A. in political science, contact Scot Schraufnagel, chair of the Department of Political Science, at 815-753-1011.

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