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Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies (POLS)

Program Requirements

Students must complete at least 45 units at Stanford to receive the Master's degree in POLS. The following constraints are placed on those 45 units:

  • All courses must be at or above the 100 level – courses numbered below 100 do not count toward the MA degree.
  • At least 23 units must be at or above the 200 level (EDUC 180 or 190 count toward this requirement).
  • At least 27 units must be from courses offered by the Graduate School of Education (EDUC units). 
  • A 3.0 GPA must be maintained across all letter-graded courses applied to the Master's degree.*
    * For AY 2020-21 only, POLS students are permitted to take all courses for Credit/No Credit. In this case, the minimum GPA does not apply.
  • Students must enroll in a minimum of 11 units and a maximum of 18 units each quarter of the POLS program (Autumn-Spring).
  • English for Foreign Students (EFSLANG 600 level) and Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (ATHLETIC) courses cannot be applied towards the Master's degree.
  • See the "Coterminal Degree" section for unit requirements applying to students admitted through the coterminal degree program.

2020-2021 POLS Field Placement & Project

Each POLS student will be placed with and will work with an organization for approximately 150 hours over the Winter and Spring quarters.  Your field project will culminate in a defined “deliverable” by the end of the Spring quarter. The deliverable can be a research report, a policy paper, a business plan, a curriculum, or other output that effectively demonstrates your accomplishment while also bringing tangible value to the site. You will present a synthetic summary of your deliverable in a public conference at the end of the academic year.  

During POLS seminar (EDUC 210), groups of students will have the opportunity to meet with an advanced doctoral student mentor to ask questions and troubleshoot issues related to their field project.

2020-2021 POLS Course Requirements

POLS Seminar (EDUC 209A & EDUC 209B)

The POLS Seminar is a required course that all POLS students take in Autumn and Winter quarters.

POLS Workshop (EDUC 210)

The POLS Workshop is a required course that all POLS students take in Winter and Spring quarters. Staffed by GSE faculty and advanced doctoral students, EDUC 210 provides support for the POLS Field Project.

Methods Requirement 

  • Two methods courses selected from the list below are required.
  • These courses may not be waived. Students with prior experience may enroll in more advanced coursework to satisfy this requirement.

Standard: Basic Research Literacy

Quant Focus I: Math background but no statistics

Quant Focus II: Math background, basis stats

High End Quant Focus: Comfortable with regression & calculus

Math Light

Other Methodology Courses

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