Montana State University

Department of Political Science

Department Head

Dr. Jerry Johnson
2-143 Wilson Hall, (406) 994-4141


  • Jerry Johnson - Administrative law, public lands and natural resource policy. 
  • Franke Wilmer - International organization, international law, human rights, ethnic conflict, peace studies.

Assistant Professors

  • Eric Austin - Organization Theory, Public Policy, Management, Administrative Ethics
  • Elizabeth Shanahan - Public Administration Theory, Research Methods, Public Budgeting, Policy Analysis, and Environmental Politics.
  • Sarah Rushing- Political Theory, feminist theory.
  • Linda Young- International political economy, globalization and politics, the politics of food and hunger, research methods.

Degree Offered

M. in Public Administration

As part of a statewide program of education for the public service, the department grants the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree.
The MPA degree is a professional degree designed to prepare candidates for management and policy making positions in public sector agencies at the local, state and federal levels. The program stresses sound preparation in public management, personnel and financial administration. Further coursework is available in administrative law, leadership, program evaluation, local government, and ethics. Specializations in local government, administration of Native American affairs, education leadership, planning and other subspecialties are available. Practical experience is obtained through a supervised internship with a public or quasi-public agency. A minimum of 36 semester credits, including a research paper and internship, is required.


Program Requirements

Full time students should be able to graduate in two academic years. The MPA degree requires completion of 36 credits.
Core Required Courses:

  • PolS 551: Quantitative Research Methods
  • PolS 554: Foundations of Public Administration
  • PolS 555: Human Resources Management 
  • PolS 557: Public Budgeting and Finance 
  • PolS 558: Organization Theory
  • PolS 559: Program Evaluation/Policy Analysis
  • PolS 562: Local Government Administration or Pols 500: Leadership and Government Administration
  • PoLS 560: Ethics and Public Service
  • PolS 574: Professional/Directed Research Project

Financial Assistance

The Political Science Department offers a limited number of teaching assistants which are usually reserved for second year students. Outstanding first year students, however, may receive a teaching assistantship as well. Teaching assistants receive a monthly stipend as well as a tuition and fee waiver. The Local Government Center periodically offers one research assistant position which carries a tuition waiver.

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