Political Science

Admission Requirements

Applicants who have completed the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree will be considered for admission to the MA program. Degrees in Political Science or close cognates such as International Relations or PPE are strongly preferred; applicants with other undergraduate majors should normally have at least 30 graded credits of coursework in Political Science. Applicants must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.3 (when converted to the University of Alberta’s grading scale) or equivalent in the last 60 graded credits of academic studies.

Students whom the admissions committee considers promising but insufficiently prepared for graduate work in Political Science may be considered for admission to the MA after completing a qualifying year. Qualifying year students normally complete four undergraduate courses a term (although the requirement will vary depending on the student’s background) and must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.3. These credits do not count toward the MA.

Applicants who have completed the equivalent of a Master’s degree will be considered for admission to the PhD program. Graduate degrees in Political Science or close cognates such as International Relations or Public Policy are strongly preferred; applicants with fewer than four graduate-level courses in Political Science are admitted to the PhD only under exceptional circumstances. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of at least 3.3 in the last 60 graded credits of academic studies, but successful applicants will typically have a GPA of 3.7 or higher.

Please note that these minimums do not guarantee admission to the program. A department recommendation of admission with or without funding is determined by the Graduate Studies Committee, who discuss and rank all applicants. Official offers of admission to the university are extended by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Admission is highly competitive and is based on the quality of materials submitted in the admissions package: statement of intent, writing sample, letters of recommendation, CV, application form, English as a Second Language scores (if applicable) and transcripts. Doctoral applicants will also normally be interviewed by phone.

The department welcomes applications from graduate students who intend to come to the University of Alberta for one year, either as part of a formal exchange program or as non-exchange visitors, whereby they receive credit at their home institution for coursework completed at U of A. These applications are evaluated by the Graduate Studies Committee and admitted using the same criteria for likely academic success as our own graduate student admissions. For more information about available exchange programs and the process of becoming a visiting student, see the websites of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (especially the Graduate Manual §5.12) and of University of Alberta International.

English Language Proficiency:

Since English is the primary language of instruction and communication at the University of Alberta, all applicants must be proficient in English prior to admission. Applicants with degrees/ qualifications in a language other than English may need to demonstrate English Language Proficiency through one of the following exam scores: 

  • TOEFL with a minimum score of 600 (paper-based) or a total of 100 (Internet-based) with a score of at least 20 on each of the individual skills areas; or 
  • MELAB of 85; or 
  • IELTS 7.0 with at least 6 on each band.