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The University of Texas at Dallas
Graduate Admissions

Master of Arts in Political Science - Constitutional Law Studies


Professors: Thomas Brunell, Anthony M. Champagne, Harold D. Clarke, James Marquart, Marianne C. Stewart, Paul Tracy, John Worrell
Associate Professors: Linda Camp Keith
Assistant Professors: Denise Boots, Patrick Brandt, Banks Miller

Mission Statement

The mission of the Master of Arts in Political Science - Constitutional Law Studies degree is to provide students with the reasoning and analytic skills necessary to understand the technical rules of law, legal practices and policies, and law more generally as a social phenomenon. It serves the interests and needs of students who want an intellectually rigorous legal education as preparation for law school, for more advanced graduate learning, or for law-related careers in teaching, journalism, government, policy-making, or the private sector.


Students in the Master of Arts in Political Science - Constitutional Law Studies program will:

Acquire detailed knowledge of the role of the judicial system in the evolution of public policy in the United States.

Acquire detailed knowledge of the roles played by practicing attorneys in the development and application of public law in the United States.

Demonstrate basic skills in legal research and writing.

Develop competency in the application of theories of the evolution of constitutional law to United States Supreme Court decisions

Demonstrate the ability to conduct original research on law and courts using skills in legal research and writing, quantitative research or field research.


Students have access to the computing facilities in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences and the University’s Computing Center. The School has two computing laboratories that have over 30 computers that are network linked and equipped with major social science software packages, including E-Views, R. Rats, SPSS, and STATA. A computerized geographic information system, the Lexis Nexis Database and WestLaw are also available for student use. The University’s Computing Center provides personal computers and UNIX Workstations. Many important data and reference materials are available online from professional associations or at UTD via the Library's and School's memberships in the American Political Science Association, the European Consortium for Political Research, the Inter University Consortium for Political and Social Research, the Roper Center, and the University Consortium for Geographic Information Systems, and other organizations.

The Center for American and International Law, an internationally known organization that provides professional development to lawyers, judges, and law enforcement officers, helps to administer the Capstone Seminar in Constitutional Law Studies in which leading lawyers and judges provide lectures on law and the legal process.

Admissions Requirement

The University’s general admission requirements are discussed here.

The Master of Arts in Political Science seeks applications from students with a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university or college. Although applications will be reviewed holistically, in general, entering students have earned a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), and a combined verbal and quantitative score of at least 1100 on the Graduate Records Examination (GRE). Standardized test scores are only one of the factors taken into account in determining admission. Students should also submit all transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a one-page essay outlining the applicant’s background, education, and professional objectives. Applications are reviewed by the Political Science Program Committee in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.

Undergraduate students who are interested in completing their undergraduate degrees while simultaneously taking graduate courses in the M.A. in Political Science - Constitutional Law Studies program are expected to meet the School’s "fast-tracking" requirements.


While there are no specific course prerequisites, entering students will benefit from exposure to undergraduate courses in the Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, statistics, and research design. In cases where undergraduate preparation is not adequate, students may be required to take additional course work before starting the master's program.

Transfer Policies

Students who have previous graduate work pertinent to the requirements of a master’s program may be given up to 12 hours of transfer credit, and the hours of coursework required for the degree will be reduced accordingly. Students desiring to transfer graduate courses thought to be equivalent to core courses may be required to demonstrate competency through examination. The award of such transfer credit must be consistent with the University’s "Transfer of Credit" policy.

Degree Requirements

The University’s general degree requirements are discussed here.

Students seeking a Master of Arts in Political Science - Constitutional Law Studies must complete at least 30 semester credit hours of work in the program, must receive a grade of B- or better in all required courses, and must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average to graduate.

The curriculum has two components:

(1) Eighteen semester hours of required coursework
(2) Twelve semester hours of prescribed electives

Required Courses (18 hours)

All students should complete the core courses as soon as possible.

One of the following:

EPPS 6313 Introduction to Quantitative Methods
PSCI 6350 Logic, Scope and Methodology of Political Science

All of the following:

PSCI 5306 The American Legal System and the Practice of Law
PSCI 5307 Legal Reasoning and Writing
PSCI 6301 Constitutional Law
PSCI 6305 Workshop in Constitutional Law Studies
PSCI 6343 Law and the Policy Process

Prescribed Electives (12 hours)

Four of the following:

CRIM 6305 Law and Social Control
CRIM 6311 Criminal Justice Policy
CRIM 6317 The Courts
CRIM 6348 Drugs and Crime
EPPS 6316 Applied Regression
PA 6319 Topics: Administrative Law
PSCI 6306 Human Rights and International Law
PSCI 6311 Judicial Politics Seminar
PSCI 6312 Comparative Constitutions and Courts
PSCI 6331 Executives, Legislatures, and Public Policy
PSCI 6339 Election Law and Electoral Systems
PSCI 7320 International Negotiations


Last Updated: June 3, 2011