How is the Hillsdale College Master of Arts in Government degree unique?

Hillsdale College prides itself on its commitment to a core curriculum, reflecting the College’s belief that a true education consists of a defined set of knowledge that any educated human ought to know, rather than merely a fixed number of hours spent in a classroom studying scattered topics. The School of Government will operate with that common belief. Every master’s student will be required to complete a core curriculum, which amounts to roughly 50 percent of the degree. The course load is divided between three-credit and one-credit courses and taught by guest faculty as well as full-time Hillsdale professors. Rather than following the typical academic model of tracks with a large variety of courses, the School of Government will focus on a deliberate course of study designed to ensure that all students learn what is essential to understand the principles and practice of the governing arts.

What are Hillsdale College’s educational aims?

Hillsdale College maintains its defense of the traditional liberal arts curriculum, convinced that it is the best preparation for meeting the challenges of modern life and that it offers to all people of all backgrounds not only an important body of knowledge, but also timeless truths about the human condition. The liberal arts are dedicated to stimulating students’ intellectual curiosity, to encouraging the critical, well-disciplined mind, and to fostering personal growth through academic challenge. These arts provide a window to the past and a gateway to the future.

What are some of the core texts and required studies of the Master of Arts in Government program?

Master’s students will read a variety of foundational texts from our philosophical, rhetorical, political, and poetic tradition. Authors include Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Shakespeare, Madison, Lincoln, Churchill, and the like. Master’s students will also make a rich and deep study of American political thought and governance, especially concerning our Founding Fathers and the guiding political documents they produced, namely our Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.

How many credits are required to graduate?

36 credits, which is the normal MA workload.

Am I able to work full time and still matriculate in the graduate program?

Yes. Hillsdale College’s Master of Arts in Government program is designed specifically for working professionals in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

How long will it take to graduate?

The program is designed for working professionals. Thus, each student is able to earn the degree at his or her own pace. An aggressive student might finish the degree requirements in two years, while a student taking the courses at a less rigorous pace might take three or four years to complete the MA. For example, a student setting a moderate, but demanding, schedule might take one three-credit course and one one-credit course each semester (fall, spring, and summer); four credits per semester, three semesters per year, means the student would complete the degree’s 36-credit program in three years. Every student is required to finish the program within four years except for extraordinary circumstances requiring approval of the dean.

What courses are required?

The M.A. program will focus on three areas of knowledge: Political Thought and Literature, American Politics, and Statecraft. Each area of knowledge has required courses and electives. Each of the three areas of knowledge offer three-credit and Special Topic one-credit classes. The required courses in each of the following areas are as follows:

  1. Political Thought and Literature
    GOV 501: Classical Political Thought and Literature, GOV 502: Modern Political Thought and Literature, and 503: The Art of Rhetoric.

  2. American Politics
    GOV 511: American Founding and Constitution, GOV 512: Constitutional Development Through the Civil War, GOV 513: American Progressivism and Liberalism.

  3. Statecraft
    GOV 520: Statesmanship, as well as four elective three-credit courses.

On what days and times are classes typically offered?

Classes are typically offered in the evenings, Monday through Friday, from 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.; intermittent Saturday seminars (usually two per one-credit course) are also offered each term.

How many classes does the average student take each semester?

Each student will likely take from one to three courses in a semester. The schedule depends on what is offered in a given semester and the pace at which the student wants to finish the degree. A minimum of one credit per semester is required.

What is the Academic Calendar for the upcoming year?

Courses will usually follow the Hillsdale College academic calendar, except some summer classes in the master’s program that may follow a schedule specific to the School of Government. Such classes would be announced on a case-by-case basis. For the upcoming school year, see the Hillsdale College 2022-2023 Academic Calendar.

When in the calendar year does the School of Government generally offer courses?

We offer three semesters: fall, spring, and summer. During the summer, the three-credit schedule is shortened and more intensive. There will also be one-credit courses offered during the summer term.

Is there a minimum number of credits I’ll need to take each semester? Does this include the summer?

While each student’s semester plan will need academic approval, there is a one-credit per semester minimum. Semester-long leaves of absence may be granted for special circumstances on a case-by-case basis by the dean.

Can I transfer graduate course credits from another university? If yes, can they fulfill degree requirements?

Master’s students may petition the Dean for a transfer of credits from previous graduate study. The Dean will make the final determination on any transfer of credit, and on how it will be applied to the specific requirements of the M.A. program.

Will I be required to write a master’s thesis?

A master’s thesis is not an option in this program.

Will there be a comprehensive exam? If yes, will it be a written and oral exam?

Yes. There is a comprehensive exam requirement to complete the degree. There is both a written and an oral component of the exam.

Will I have to take any courses on the Hillsdale campus in Michigan?

No. However, there will be opportunities to take courses here in D.C. with professors from Hillsdale College’s Michigan campus.

Can I enroll for a class as a non-degree student, or as a Hillsdale College undergraduate alum?

No. Graduate classes are only for those who are enrolled in the Master of Arts in Government program. However, we encourage you to participate in our other public enrichment programs. In particular, we encourage anyone interested in pursuing serious discussion about the liberal arts, politics, and virtuous statesmanship to apply for our James Madison Fellowship.

Are there study-abroad opportunities?

The Hillsdale College School of Government does not offer any study-abroad opportunities at this time.

Do you offer a Ph.D. program?

No. The School of Government only offers the M.A. in Government. The Michigan campus has a Ph.D. program in Politics.

What is the difference between Hillsdale College’s Graduate School of Government in Washington, D.C., and its Graduate School of Statesmanship in Hillsdale, Michigan?

The Graduate School of Statesmanship offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Politics and a Master of Arts in Politics on Hillsdale’s Michigan campus. The Graduate School of Government offers a Master of Arts in Government for working professionals in Washington, D.C. In keeping with its practical focus on good and prudent governance, students in the Washington, D.C. program are expected to be engaged in professional life in and around our nation’s capital.

Where can I learn more about Hillsdale College’s accreditation?

The Hillsdale College School of Government is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and licensed in the District of Columbia. For more information, see our accreditation.


How do I apply?

Please see our Admissions webpage.

Is there a required Grade Point Average?

No, but evidence of academic excellence, including undergraduate and previous graduate grades, is an important consideration for admission.

Where do I need to send my transcripts?

Your transcripts must be submitted electronically or by mail, by the registrar of any previous academic institution, to our admission team at [email protected] or our DC Campus address: Hillsdale College in D.C., 227 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002.


Do I need to take the GRE?

No. You may, however, submit your scores if you have already taken the GRE or LSAT within the last five years.

Is a formal interview required for final admission?

After an initial round of application review, applicants still under consideration will likely be contacted to set up an interview.

Will I be notified when the admissions team accepts my formal application?

Yes. Your application will be submitted electronically. We will notify you when your application is complete and submitted to our admissions team.

I’ve been accepted and admitted to the Master of Arts in Government program. What’s the next step?

Applicants will be notified of admission decisions both by email and mail. Admitted students will be sent an enrollment form that must be returned to the admissions office by a set date given in your letter of admission.

Can I apply to the graduate program if I am not currently living and/or working in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?

Priority consideration of acceptance is given to those who currently live and work in and around the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.  The graduate program is specifically designed and geared towards those who live in the D.C. area and are currently engaged in gainful employment.  Additionally, our preference is that applicants have established themselves in gainful employment so that they are able to dedicate the necessary time to matriculate in a part-time graduate program.

Am I an ideal candidate?

Hillsdale’s School of Government MA program is designed for young but established professionals, in the early-to-middle part of their career, who are working in politics broadly defined. Typical applicants work on Capitol Hill, in federal departments and agencies, think tanks, nonprofits, associations, education, media, and additionally work in positions encompassing government affairs, legal, speechwriting, campaign and political professionals, and all practitioners drawn to serious study. Course offerings reflect that focus by providing the necessary intellectual foundation for a career in American politics, one deeply enriched by Hillsdale College and its teaching mission. An ideal candidate is eager to learn, is proficient in the English language, and is a civic-minded professional in the D.C. area.

Tuition and Scholarships

How much is the cost of tuition and are there scholarships available?

Tuition for the 2022-2023 academic year is $1,370 per credit hour. All accepted students will receive scholarships – usually up to full tuition. Scholarships do not cover student fees or course materials. Specific offers of financial support will be made at the time of admission.

Do you accept any form of federal or state financial aid?

Hillsdale College does not accept any form of federal or state funding or financial aid, which includes federal student loans.

Do you accept the GI Bill or Yellow Ribbon Program for American Veterans?

Hillsdale College does not accept federal funding of any kind, including from the GI Bill and yellow ribbon program. Instead, we have a privately funded scholarship, the Freedom Scholarship, for those who have served our country in the U.S. military. Due to the generosity of our donors, this scholarship effectively replaces what you would normally receive through the government-backed programs. We encourage you to learn more by visiting our website pertaining to the Freedom Scholarship.

Student Life

What is the graduate student life like at Hillsdale in D.C.?

For more information on the Graduate School of Government’s student community and resources, see Student Life.

Are faculty available to meet with students?

Our faculty and scholars are available by appointment to meet with and advise students.

Do you offer student housing?

No, we do not offer student housing.

Will students have full access to Hillsdale’s library and library materials?

Students enrolled in the M.A. in Government program will have full access to the library resources of Hillsdale College. There is a non-circulating reference library in the Kirby Center, which contains over 4,000 volumes. Students may request books from the Michigan campus Mossey Library, which houses over 952,000 volumes in its main collection. M.A. students will also have access to the online library resources of Hillsdale College such as JSTOR, LexisNexis, Project Muse, and Hein Online.

Where is Hillsdale’s Washington, D.C. campus?

Hillsdale in D.C. is headquartered on Capitol Hill at the Allan P. Kirby, Jr., Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, 227 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002—just blocks away from Union Station Metro on the red line.

Do you have a campus parking lot or parking passes?

No. Street parking is available, however, and more reliable parking is available at Union Station.

What restaurants and shops are close to Hillsdale in D.C.’s Kirby Center?

Bistro Cacao, Café Berlin, Junction (Bistro, Bar, and Bakery), Buffalo & Bergen, Union Pub, Capitol Hill Supermarket, Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse, and the restaurants and shops in Union Station and Pennsylvania Avenue are close to Hillsdale’s D.C. location. We are a two-minute Uber ride or 15-minute walk from the popular H Street corridor and Eastern Market areas.

How secure is the Hillsdale in D.C. Kirby Center facility?

Our location in D.C. is secured by keycard access. A member of our faculty or staff will grant students access to the building. We are located just blocks from the Capitol Hill police station and have security personnel periodically monitor the building.

Where do other School of Government students typically work?

Our students come to us from Capitol Hill offices on both the House and Senate sides, from federal departments and agencies, and from think tanks, law firms, associations, nonprofit advocacy and political organizations, for-profit groups, and media.

What are the career opportunities after graduating?

Because of our focus on good and prudent governance, we expect that our alumni continue on Capitol Hill and in the administration, think tanks, philanthropic groups, and other civic-minded organizations, in journalism, and for-profit groups.