Master of Arts in Public Affairs and Policy

The Master of Arts in Public Affairs and Policy is a 33-semester-hour program designed to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of political and public affairs and the policy process.  Serious study and successful completion of the program enable students to become productive participants in organizations dedicated to effective management and the development, implementation, and evaluation of public policies at the local, state, or national levels.  Students also develop the skills and expertise necessary to contribute to the success of non-profit and for-profit private sector organizations that interact with the public policy system.

The Public Affairs and Policy curriculum emphasizes theoretical, practical, and methodological issues using historical, empirical, and normative approaches.  The concepts of public service, sound governance, effective analysis, and knowledgeable evaluation are also fundamental to the program's design, and those who complete it are expected to acquire the relevant skills in quantitative and qualitative analyses.

The Public Affairs and Policy program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis, with those who do not yet have experience as a professional in the field typically enrolling full-time and those who have organizational experience and/or want to shift their present career toward public policy activities typically enrolling part-time. Nevertheless, accommodations can be made on an individual basis.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the general requirements for admission to the Graduate School and be recommended for approval by the Political Science department's graduate committee prior to admission to the program.  Applicants will be considered for admission with the following minimal requirements:

  • Completion of requirements for an undergraduate degree program from an accredited institution
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • GRE score of 300 (combined verbal and quantitative) and 3.0 (analytical) or MAT score of 410

English Language Ability for International Students

International students are expected to provide English testing scores that meet the following results:

  • A minimum TOEFL (code 1854) score of 550 (paper-based), or 213 (computer-based), or 80 (Internet-based with all sub-scores at a minimum of 18); or a minimal IELTS score with a minimum 6.0 overall bandwidth. 

Required Courses

The Public Affairs and Policy program requires a total of 33 hours (without thesis) or 27 hours (with thesis, plus an additional 6 hours of thesis hours) of formal graduate coursework.  Students may also transfer a maximum of 9 hours of graduate coursework from outside of the department (unless pursuing two master's degrees at UAH, in which case, only 6 hours may double-count).  

Of the 33 total hours, four core courses are required, with the first three preferably taken at the beginning of the program and the fourth capstone course taken at the end of the program:

PSC 600
The American Polity
PSC 601
The Public Policy Process
PSC 635
Program Evaluation and Methods
PSC 690


To complete the total hours of the Public Affairs and Policy graduate program, students must select an additional 21 hours of political science electives (for the non-thesis option) or 15 hours of political science electives (for the thesis option, plus an additional 6 thesis hours).  Students may also transfer a combined maximum of 9 hours of graduate coursework taken outside of the department, including from other universities, which will count toward the required number of elective hours.

For a full list of courses for the Master of Arts in Public Affairs and Policy, please visit the UAH Catalog.

View the Catalog