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Faculty of Arts
UNB Fredericton

Back to Political Science

Admission requirements

All applicants should normally hold an undergraduate major or honours degree in political science with a minimum GPA of 3.5 (B+). In addition to evaluating transcripts, careful consideration is given to the documents listed below, which must all be submitted at the time of application.

Note to international applicants: the minimum requirement for admission to the program is a Second Class Upper Division degree. However, due to strong competition for places among international applicants, a First Class degree is normally required to secure admission and funding.

How to apply

This should be a piece of academic writing (normally, an essay or chapter of an honours thesis) of no more than 30 pages double-spaced or 15 pages single-spaced. This is a firm page limit; additional pages will not be read. The writing sample should demonstrate:

  • That the applicant has excellent understanding of a substantive topic in political science, ideally one related to their proposed graduate research.
  • That the applicant meets or exceeds the standards for academic writing at the graduate level, and is capable of developing a well-written, persuasive, evidence-supported argument.
  • That the applicant can conduct research, that is, locate appropriate scholarly material and properly use and cite this material in an academic paper.

This should be a maximum of one single-spaced page. The research statement is used by the admissions committee to assess whether the applicant is proposing a course of research that can feasibly be completed within the MA timeframe, and whether the proposed topic is one in which the department can offer supervision. Therefore, the research statement should:

  • Clearly describe the topic the applicant proposes to research. This description should be as precise as possible. For example, don’t just name a political science subfield (IR, Canadian politics, etc.); explain exactly what area of this subfield is of interest to you, and especially the question or issue that you wish to examine. Your research statement should demonstrate that you have given serious thought to the line of independent research you wish to pursue in your graduate degree.
  • Indicate which faculty member(s) you wish to work with. You do not need to have contacted a prospective supervisor in advance. However, you should carefully review the areas of faculty research supervision to ensure that your research interests can be supervised by one or more political science faculty members, as the department assigns students to supervisors upon admission, and we will not admit applicants if there is no faculty member available to supervise.
  • If there are special factors you want the admissions committee to consider (e.g. rationale for lower grades in some undergraduate coursework; training or work experience relevant to your proposed research), you may devote a paragraph to describing these. Applicants are advised to consult with the graduate director about any special circumstances and the best way to address these, as the primary focus of the research statement should be your proposed MA research.

Applicants must provide the names and contact information for three referees, who must send confidential reference letters directly to the School of Graduate Studies.

Reference letters should be from professors who are familiar with your academic work, and who can evaluate your potential to succeed in graduate school. References from work supervisors should be provided only if academic references are unavailable; in this case applicants are advised to consult with the graduate director. Personal references (friends, family) will not be accepted.

For detailed information about application requirements and procedures, please refer to the School of Graduate Studies guidelines. The department recognizes that some applicants with potential to excel in graduate studies – for example, mature students or students whose undergraduate studies were adversely affected by serious illness, family crisis or armed conflict – may not meet these requirements. Students in these or other exceptional circumstances are advised to consult with the graduate director before submitting their application.

Applicants should submit a CV outlining their prior academic, work and volunteer experience.


The deadline for application in each calendar year is Jan. 10. Students applying by this date will be automatically considered for financial support. The late application deadline for enrolment without consideration for financial support is March 15. When these deadlines fall on a weekend, the application deadline is the first Monday following the deadline.

Incomplete applications will not be considered. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all supporting documentation and the application fee are received by these deadlines.


The minimum residency requirement for the MA program is one academic year.

Residency can be either in Fredericton or Saint John; normally the residency will be on the same campus at which the student’s supervisor is located.

The program and residency start dates are in September of each year; the department does not offer January admission.