Degree to Offer Inside Look at Legislative Process

Master’s Program Will Emphasize Practical Knowledge for Careers in Politics

May 29, 2009

Texas political activity may wind down when the Legislature’s 81st session closes this summer, but the political scientists on the UT Dallas campus will be busy gearing up for the launch of the University’s new master’s degree in legislative studies.

The master's in political science - legislative studies program opening this fall will be one of only a few of its kind in the country. Its professional focus is designed for students seeking careers in politics.

Dr. Robert LowryDr. Robert Lowry

“Many graduate programs in political science are purely academic,” said Dr. Robert Lowry, head of the political science program in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. “This program is different because it will address practical, professional issues, like how to get things done in the Legislature and how to run campaigns.”

The program’s internship requirement will ensure students gain professional exposure. Practical courses on survey research and elections and campaigns will prepare students for work on legislative staffs, in local government and for political consulting firms. There are also plans to offer students first-hand perspectives in courses taught by current or retired state legislators.

Christian Damewood, who will be a member of the inaugural class, says his decision to enroll in the program was an easy one. “As a student who just graduated, I was a bit hesitant to enter the current job market,” said Damewood. “This program will allow me to gain new and marketable skills in a profession that is always in demand – politics.”

The Texas Legislature has almost 2,000 permanent staff members, and the hiring swells during sessions. Since the program will the only one of its kind in the state, it is a logical choice for students interested in Texas politics, Lowry says, but the program will prepare students for all levels of legislative work.

The program is still accepting applications for its first class. For more information about the 30-credit-hour program, contact Dr. Tom Brunell at tbrunell@utdallas.edu or (972) 883-4963.


Media Contact: Audrey Glickert, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4320, audrey.glickert@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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