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Being a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


Our one-year program offers a variety of options to fulfil program requirements. You may choose a coursework-only option, consisting of eight half-credit courses, or you may choose to undertake a Major Research Project in addition to six half-credit courses. There are four options to complete the Major Research Project: a policy analysis project, a public opinion project, a journal article option, or a master’s research paper.

Policy Analysis Project

The Policy Analysis is a 50-page project that provides students with the opportunity to carry out a professional policy analysis on an existing policy, working under the supervision of two faculty members (an advisor and second reader). Students are required to first write a 7-10-page proposal that identifies the policy issue or problem to be examined, outlines a short summary of background information consisting of a few key facts that are important for understanding the context of the policy problem to be studied and provides a brief discussion of the evaluative framework to be applied. Students are expected to defend their research proposal before a committee (graduate officer, one member of the graduate affairs committee, and the proposed advisor) in December. Upon successful defense of the proposal, students will be eligible to register in PO695 to complete the Policy Analysis Option and will be expected to orally defend their final piece of work upon its completion in late August.

Students wishing to complete the policy analysis project must take:

  • PO601: The Craft of Political Science
  • PO602: Applied Political Analysis
  • PO604: Understanding and Applying Public Policy Analysis
  • Three additional half-credit courses. For example, students who wish to pursue an interest in public policy might take PO612: Engagement with the Global South: Tools and Strategies; PO620: The Politics of Social Policy in an Era of Globalisation; and PO650: International Human Rights, the Law and Governance. Note also that with the approval of the graduate officer and the dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, students may choose some electives from courses offered by other master's programs at Laurier, such as Laurier’s Master of International Public Policy program, or programs at another university.

Public Opinion Project

The Public Opinion Project is a 25-30 page paper (not including the required survey instruments) that provides students with an opportunity to undertake the design of a major public opinion project involving the administration of a survey working under the supervision of two faculty members (an advisor and second reader). Students are required to first write a 7-10 page proposal that includes a brief discussion of the research question, an explanation of the project design and details of the survey methodology to be employed. Students are expected to defend their research proposal before a committee (graduate officer, one member of the graduate affairs committee, and the proposed advisor) in December. Upon successful defense of the proposal, students will be eligible to register in PO695 to complete the Public Opinion Project and will be expected to orally defend their final piece of work upon its completion in late August.

Students wishing to complete the journal article project must take:

  • PO601: The Craft of Political Science
  • PO602: Applied Political Analysis
  • PO633: Public Opinion and Survey Design
  • Three additional half-credit courses. For example, students who wish to pursue an interest in public opinion might take PO609: Interpreting and Understanding Elections, PO611: Media Analysis for Politics and Policy in a Digital Age, and PO691T: Political Parties. Note also that with the approval of the graduate officer and the dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, students may choose some electives from courses offered by other master's programs at Laurier, such as Laurier’s Master of International Public Policy program, or programs at another university.

Journal Article Project

The Journal Article Option is reserved for students with an A- and above standing (unless otherwise approved) and provides students with the opportunity to write a 30-35 page piece of work in journal article format, working under the supervision of two faculty members (an advisor and second reader). Students are required to first write a 7-10 page proposal that includes a brief discussion of the research question, succinctly articulates a central hypothesis and situates the research question within an area of scholarly literature and area of debate. Students are expected to defend their research proposal before a committee (graduate officer, one member of the graduate affairs committee, and the proposed advisor) in December. Upon successful defense of the proposal, students will be eligible to register in PO695 to complete the Journal Article Option. Students will receive feedback through a simulated peer-review process of their work (normally over the summer term), with written feedback provided and a discussion of the feedback with the committee in late August. Students will be encouraged to submit their completed article to an academic journal.

Students wishing to complete the journal article project must take:

  • PO601: The Craft of Political Science
  • PO602: Applied Political Analysis
  • Four additional half-credit courses that match students’ area of interest (see course offerings). Note also that with the approval of the graduate officer and the dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, students may choose some electives from courses offered by other master's programs at Laurier, such as Laurier’s Master of International Public Policy program, or programs at another university.

Major Research Paper

The Research Paper is approximately 50 pages in length, and provides students with an opportunity to carry out empirical research on a topic of their choice, working under the supervision of two faculty members (an advisor and second reader). Students are required to first write a 7-10 page proposal that includes a brief discussion of the research question, succinctly articulates a central hypothesis, and situates the research question within an area of scholarly literature and area of debate. Students are expected to defend their research proposal before a committee (graduate officer, one member of the graduate affairs committee, and the proposed advisor) in December. Upon successful defense of the proposal, students will be eligible to register in PO695 to complete the Research Paper Option and will be expected to orally defend their final piece of work upon its completion in late August.

Students wishing to complete the journal article project must take:

  • PO601: The Craft of Political Science
  • PO602: Applied Political Analysis
  • Four additional half-credit courses that match students’ area of interest (see course offerings). Note also that with the approval of the graduate officer and the dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, students may choose some electives from courses offered by other master's programs at Laurier, such as Laurier’s Master of International Public Policy program, or programs at another university.

Coursework-Only Option

The course-work only option provides students who are not interested in completing a Major Research Project an opportunity to take a variety of courses in fulfillment of their degree requirements.

Students wishing to complete course-work only option must take:

  • PO601: The Craft of Political Science
  • PO602: Applied Political Analysis
  • Six additional half-credit courses that match students’ area of interest (see course offerings). Note also that with the approval of the graduate officer and the dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, students may choose some electives from courses offered by other master's programs at Laurier, such as Laurier’s Master of International Public Policy program, or programs at another university.

Contact Us:

General Inquiries

E: spalmer@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x3374


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