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Advanced Certificates

Starting in Fall 2022, we will offer two Advanced Certificate programs at the graduate level:  1) Comparative and Global Politics, and 2) Public Policy.

Comparative and Global Politics

The Advanced Certificate in Comparative and Global Politics is intended for students who wish to pursue careers related to comparative and/or global politics. It provides students with both a theoretical and practical foundation in politics within and across regions. Students take core courses introducing them to major theoretical traditions in comparative and global politics and to research methods appropriate to their interests. Students also take electives that provide an in-depth look at world regions or issue areas, including international law, foreign policy, and migration. Our faculty is particularly strong in studies of international law and human rights, imperialism, human migration, transnational activism, and U.S. foreign policy.

Required courses (6 units): 

  • POL S 655 Seminar in Comparative Politics and
  • POL S 675 Seminar in International Relations 

One required course in methods of inquiry, drawn from the following options (3 units): 

  • POL S 616 Statistics for Political Science
  • POL S 617 Applied Qualitative Methods
  • POL S 507 Marx and Marxism
  • POLS 510 Contemporary Political Thought

Two elective courses (6 units), drawn from the following list:

  • POL S 658 Seminar in Post-Communist Political Systems
  • POL S 661 Seminar in the Political Systems of the Developing Nations
  • POL S 667 Seminar in Latin American Political Systems
  • POL S 630 Seminar in Politics (with approval of certificate administrator)
  • POL S 530 Political Parties
  • POL S 555 Comparative Political Systems
  • POL S 560 Comparative Citizenship in Policy and Practice
  • POL S 562 Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective
  • POL S 564 Political Ecology of Latin America
  • POL S 565 Nations and Nationalism
  • POL S 568 Mexican Politics
  • POL S 575 International Relations of the Pacific Rim
  • POL S 577 Politics of International Law
  • Other elective courses are possible with approval of the certificate administrator

Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all advanced certificate coursework, with no less than the grade of “C” in any course. 

Students who complete the Advanced Certificate in Comparative and Global Politics will:

  • Develop expertise within or across regions, including Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East
  • Explore, analyze, and critique the impact of regional and/or international political institutions and systems on politics and society
  • Develop issue expertise in comparative and/or global politics that will prepare you for careers in both the public and private sectors, for example, in foreign policy, human rights, or migration
  • Develop methodological skills for the study of comparative and/or global politics, including quantitative, qualitative, and/or theoretical methods


Public Policy

The Advanced Certificate in Public Policy is intended for students who have interests in a particular issue area (such as immigration, poverty, environment, housing, urban redevelopment, civil or minority rights, health care, or education), or who wish to pursue policy-related careers in public, private, or nonprofit sectors. It provides students with both a theoretical and practical foundation in policy studies. 

Students take core courses introducing them to major theoretical traditions in the field, at least one research methods course, and electives that either provide an in-depth look at a policy area or develop skills through an internship or a thesis project. 

The advanced certificate requires 15 units. Courses in the certificate program may be applied to an SDSU master’s degree (if applicable) with approval of the adviser.

Required courses (6 units):

  • P A 660 Administration and Public Policy Development
  • POL S 603 Seminar in Foundations of Public Policy

One research methods elective (3 units) drawn from the following options: 

  • P A 605 Seminar in Applied Research
  • P A 606 Seminar in Quantitative Approaches to Public Administration
  • POL S 616 Tools for Quantitative Analysis
  • POL S 617 Applied Qualitative Methods

Two electives (6 units) drawn from the following options: 

  • C P 635 Seminar in Housing Policy and Community Development
  • C P 675 Seminar in Land Use and Environmental Law
  • POL S 560 Comparative Citizenship in Policy and Practice
  • POL S 635 Seminar in the Politics of Public Policy
  • POL S 796 Internship in Public Policy
  • POL S 799A or P A 799A (Thesis) may also count toward the certificate with approval from the certificate administrator, if a student has advanced to candidacy and undertakes a policy-centered thesis
  • An additional research methods course (listed above) as an elective
  • Other elective courses are possible with the approval of the certificate administrator

Students who complete the Advanced Certificate in Public Policy will:

  • Explain, analyze, critique, and apply scholarly work across the fields of public policy and public administration through core coursework
  • Develop methodological skills for conducting policy-related research and analysis  
  • Design and carry out policy analysis projects
  • Develop substantive expertise in at least one policy issue area through core and elective coursework


Who may enroll? 

Students enrolled in any Master’s level program at SDSU are welcome to apply for enrollment in a certificate program. Certificate programs are also open to students with a Bachelor’s degree who would like to develop expertise in a specialized field without earning an MA.

Can these units also count toward an MA degree?

The units for these certificate programs can count toward an MA in Political Science. Some units may also count toward other MA degree programs, with the approval of the relevant departmental graduate advisor.

How do I apply? 

Students who are not yet enrolled at SDSU must apply for admission through CAL State Apply and submit required documents (generally, just official transcripts) to Graduate Admissions. There are no additional program-specific application requirements. GRE scores, letters of recommendation, or a personal statement are not required. 

Students who are already enrolled in an MA program at SDSU may apply using the following online forms: 


Please address any questions about either Advanced Certificate program to the certificate administrator (and Professor of Political Science), Kristen Hill Maher, [email protected].