The MA degree requires 8 graduate-level courses (i.e., 32 semester hours), 2 of which can be for writing a thesis (PS 599). Six of these courses must be at the 500 level and six must be Political Science courses. In addition, the student's advisor must approve a research paper. Candidates for the M.A. degree must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 out of a possible 4.0. Students in the PhD program usually receive a MA degree during their second year in the graduate program, following completion of the minimum requirements.