Master’s in Political Science

Deepen your understanding of political processes and gain research-focused expertise in American Politics, comparative politics, and international relations with a degree in political science.

As a student in the Master's in Political Science program at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government, you will learn from the best. The Schar School faculty includes some of our country’s leading political commentators, as well as practitioners with experience at the highest levels of the federal government. They publish widely and the media often seek them out for their analysis on national and international affairs. They will help you deepen your understanding of political processes at all levels of government, improve your research skills, and provide you with a foundation in international relations, comparative politics, or American politics.

The analytical and research skills gained in the program, as well as the specialized focus offered in the concentration tracks, allows students to explore a range of fascinating career paths. Upon graduating from the program, political science students are positioned for top job titles such as political consultant, research manager, senior campaign finance analyst, advocacy director, and more. Political Science covers a range of industries and sectors, including, but not limited to government relations, consulting, legislative affairs, advocacy, research, nonprofit management, and federal/state/local government.

Learn more about the curriculum on the current student page.

Photo of Ali Nayyef, Master's in Political Science

"I can apply the lessons I have learned at war and as a refugee, along with my passion for studying international relations, to address many of the security challenges the United States and the world continue to face."
—Ali Nayyef, Master's in Political Science student

Photo of Melissa Howard, Master's in Political Science '16

"[The program] is a great way to learn the skills necessary in political science, whether it's qualitative skills, quantitative skills, conducting research, [or] being able to read the literature in a new way and piece together new information."
—Melissa Howard, Master's in Political Science '16

Where You'll Work

Photo of Schar School Professor Bassam Haddad and Professor Peter Mandaville

With George Mason University's prime location in the Washington, D.C. area, Schar School students gain access to leading scholars and practitioners who bring real-world experience to the classroom, providing you with the mentorship and skillsets needed to advance in your career.

The Schar School as a whole has 80+ faculty members, as well as hundreds of adjunct faculty, allowing students to gain access to a variety of perspectives and subjects through elective courses. Notable faculty members include program director Mariely Lopez-Santana, Dean Mark J. Rozell, Jennifer Victor, Jeremy Mayer, Mark Katz, Trevor Thrall, and Toni-Michelle Travis, Peter Mandaville, Robert Deitz, Michael Hayden, and more. Browse the full list of Schar School political science faculty members.


Photo of Professor Ahsan Butt giving a lecture

In addition to university-wide resources, the Schar School has a dedicated team of student services and career development advisors to assist you in your academic and professional plans. The Master's in Political Science program prepares students for a range of industries and roles in the public and private sectors. In a recent graduating class career outcomes survey, approximately 40 percent of Political Science graduates reported working in private sector consulting, 20 percent in academia, 20 percent with the federal government, and 20 percent with NGOs and nonprofit organizations.

Top employers hiring our Political Science graduates include:

  • BAE Systems
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Chemonics International
  • City of Fairfax
  • Decisive Analytics Corporation
  • Federal Election Commission
  • IBM
  • PFLAG National
  • U.S. Department of State


Program News

Photo of Matt Moran, Kristina Hagen, and Dean Mark Rozell

Party Leaders Discuss How the Statehouse Was Won and Lost in Virginia

During the seventh "After Virginia Votes," a conversation among representatives of both dominant political parties covered topics ranging from fundraising strategies and the Equal Rights Amendment, to campaign technology and gun control policies.


VA is for voters button

Schar School Almanac Now Provides Election Information on Key Virginia Races

New entries in the Almanac of Virginia Politics include election-relevant material in key races throughout the Commonwealth. Voters can find up-to-date information on candidates and campaign activities on the closely watched, hotly contested races in the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate.


Photo of Professor James Burroughs and Professor James Conant

Northern Virginia MPA Fellows: A History of Success for Graduates—and the Region

Five Northern Virginia jurisdictions in the Top 20 of a national poll conducted by the independent business news publication 24/7 Wall Street boast leaders who earned their Master’s in Public Administration degrees in the Northern Virginia Public Service Fellows Program at the Schar School.


Photo of Yasser Aburdene

A Government Major Finds Political Purpose in Bolivian Uprising

The sudden resignation of Bolivian president Evo Morales was a positive turn of events for Yasser Aburdene, who had been spending his evenings at the Bolivian embassy in Washington, D.C., along with others protesting Morales’ questionable election victory.