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 minimum of 15 units must be completed for a letter grade.
  • A 3.0 GPA must be maintained across all courses applied to the Master's degree.
  • 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.

2021-2022 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.  

2021-2022 POLS Course Requirements

POLS Seminar 

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

Methods Requirement 

  • One methods course is required; two methods courses are recommended.
  • This requirement may not be waived. Select from the list below. 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