The department usually offers the master's degree only as a preliminary step toward the Ph.D.

The Master of Arts program in political science requires a minimum of 30 s.h. of graduate credit, with a g.p.a. of at least 3.25. No thesis is required. Each student's record is reviewed by a final examination committee, which may waive the final oral examination.

A first-year evaluation committee convenes at the end of a student's first year of courses; if the committee finds that the student's work provides sufficient evidence of the research and writing skills ordinarily demonstrated in a master's thesis, it may recommend that the student be allowed to proceed with a doctoral program. When the first-year evaluation committee finds the quality of a student's work inadequate for recommending continuation toward the Ph.D., the committee may recommend that the student be permitted to seek the nonthesis M.A. as a terminal degree.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College.

A recent surveyed showed that graduates with political science degrees have higher average salaries than graduates in all other social sciences excluding economics, and the University of Iowa’s political science department organizes career workshops for its students throughout the year. The workshops are led by former political science students who have achieved distinction in business, law, campaign operations, local government, elected office, or other fields.

The Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.