Graduate Certificate Practical Politics

The Graduate Certificate in Practical Politics is intended for political practitioners, or for those who intend to become political practitioners, who wish to augment their background and skills through exposure to political science frameworks and concepts with a focus on electoral politics, interest group politics and lobbying, and policy analysis. Students are expected to sharpen the skills and understanding required of thoughtful and effective practitioners in elective and appointive public service. Instruction involves consultation with experienced representatives of government and government-related endeavors in the capital. Students learn political and policy research, organizing and lobbying skills, campaign techniques, and an array of analytical approaches to policy making in partisan and nonpartisan settings.

Practical knowledge is intelligence in context. All graduate students in Political Science have opportunities to enhance their skill and understanding in actual political settings. The department has developed a broad range of internship experiences with legislative staffs and agencies, legislative liaisons, lobbyists, public interest groups, political consultants, and campaign organizations. These learning experiences ensure that M.A. students are effective learners both in the classroom and in the field and that they can transfer their learning from one setting to another, as the professional practice of politics requires.

Students with significant practical experience may submit a Student Petition to replace the internship requirement with a PSC elective. The certificate can be taken as a part of the M.A. PSC curriculum through electives or independently.

Grading Policy

A grade of B or better must be earned in each of the following classes to qualify for the certificate (grades of B- or lower will not be accepted).


Required Courses
PSC 501Introduction to the Graduate Study of Politics4
Select two of the following:8
Practical Politics Seminar in Political Campaigns
Practical Politics Seminar in Lobbying
Practical Politics Seminar in Policy Formation, Analysis, and Presentation
PSC 530Graduate Internship in Political Science4
Total Hours16