Master of Professional Studies in the Field of Legislative Affairs

The master of professional studies in the field of legislative affairs degree program centers on the study of applied politics in the legislative arena, offering students the perspective of both political scholars and working professionals. The curriculum focuses on how Congress operates, how legislative procedures shape outcomes, and how entities like the executive branch, lobbyists, and constituents influence the work of the legislature.

The program is designed for both working professionals and full-time students, with classes meeting Monday through Thursday evenings in the Washington, DC, metro area. The required 33 credits can be completed in as little as one year; however, the usual pace is two courses per semester completed in two years.

Visit the program website for additional information.

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 33 credits, including 12 credits in required courses; at least 6 credits in courses in each of two elective areas; either 6 credits in thesis or 6 additional credits in one or both of the two elective areas; and successful completion of a master's comprehensive examination.

LGAF 6201Politics and Public Policy
LGAF 6202Legislative Politics
LGAF 6203Executive–Legislative Relations
LGAF 6204Research Methods for Legislative Affairs Specialists
Elective areas
American Political Process
At least two courses from the following:
LGAF 6217Budgetary Politics
LGAF 6218Judicial Politics
LGAF 6219American Presidency
LGAF 6222Parties and Elections
LGAF 6223Public Opinion and Political Socialization
LGAF 6224Interest Group Politics
LGAF 6228Media and Congressional Politics
LGAF 6233Comparative Legislatures
LGAF 6234PACs and Congress
Public Policy Analysis
At least two courses from the following:
LGAF 6246Congress and Foreign Policy
LGAF 6249Congress and National Security Policy
LGAF 6251Budgetary Policy
LGAF 6260Special Topics: Domestic Policy
LGAF 6270Special Topics: Congress and Foreign Policy
Thesis option
LGAF 6998Thesis
LGAF 6999Thesis
Non-thesis option
Six additional credits in one or both of the elective areas, above.

*With prior approval of the academic advisor, students may take up to three of the required number of elective courses in related disciplines.

Successful completion of a master's comprehensive examination is required.

See CPS regulations for additional information regarding enrollment status and time limits. 

Director  S. Billet

Associate Professors  S. Billet, S. Wiley

Professorial Lecturers  R. Carr, G. Fisher, R. Whitlock

Explanation of Course Numbers

  • Courses in the 1000s are primarily introductory undergraduate courses
  • Those in the 2000s to 4000s are upper-division undergraduate courses that can also be taken for graduate credit with permission and additional work
  • Those in the 6000s and 8000s are for master’s, doctoral, and professional-level students
  • The 6000s are open to advanced undergraduate students with approval of the instructor and the dean or advising office

LGAF 6201. Politics and Public Policy. 3 Credits.

Examination of political processes that influence policy formulation, policy implementation, and the uses of policy analysis. Topics include political and policy decision making, actors, and process.

LGAF 6202. Legislative Politics. 3 Credits.

Theory, structure, and process of the U.S. Congress, with emphasis on member–constituency relations, individual and collective decision making, party and committee activities, executive–legislative relations, and interest-group activities.

LGAF 6203. Executive–Legislative Relations. 3 Credits.

Political and institutional relationships between the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.

LGAF 6204. Research Methods for Legislative Affairs Specialists. 3 Credits.

Approaches to political analysis. Construction of research designs and problems of measurement.

LGAF 6210. Legislative Procedure. 3 Credits.

LGAF 6211. Congressional Leadership. 3 Credits.

LGAF 6212. Congressional Committees. 3 Credits.

LGAF 6217. Budgetary Politics. 3 Credits.

Examination of federal budget policymaking and politics.

LGAF 6218. Judicial Politics. 3 Credits.

Role of the judiciary in policy formulation; emphasis on Congress and the Supreme Court.

LGAF 6219. American Presidency. 3 Credits.

Personalized and institutionalized aspects of the presidency, with emphasis on the politics of contemporary policymaking.

LGAF 6221. Executive Branch Decision Making. 3 Credits.


LGAF 6222. Parties and Elections. 3 Credits.

Nature and functions of American political parties: organizational status, nominating and electoral politics, and role in governing.

LGAF 6223. Public Opinion and Political Socialization. 3 Credits.

Sources and dynamics of public opinion and political socialization.

LGAF 6224. Interest Group Politics. 3 Credits.

Theory, structure, and activities of interest groups in America politics.

LGAF 6228. Media and Congressional Politics. 3 Credits.

Role of the media in American politics, with emphasis on news coverage, political debates, and political advertising, with their impact on the electorate.

LGAF 6233. Comparative Legislatures. 3 Credits.

Selected problems of legislative theory and behavior from a comparative perspective, with particular reference to the parliamentary systems of Germany, France, and Britain.

LGAF 6234. PACs and Congress. 3 Credits.

Examination of the structure and function of political action committees in the United States in the context of wider arenas of campaign finance, elections, and issue management.

LGAF 6240. Special Topics in Legislative Affairs. 3 Credits.

In-depth coverage of significant theoretical and empirical issues in American politics, including such topics as political behavior, electoral politics, and race and politics.

LGAF 6246. Congress and Foreign Policy. 3 Credits.

The role of Congress in setting foreign policy.

LGAF 6249. Congress and National Security Policy. 3 Credits.

The role of Congress in setting defense policy.

LGAF 6251. Budgetary Policy. 3 Credits.

Analysis of U.S. monetary and fiscal policy.

LGAF 6260. Special Topics: Domestic Policy. 3 Credits.

Analysis of U.S. policy on selected domestic problems.

LGAF 6270. Special Topics: Congress and Foreign Policy. 3 Credits.

Analysis of U.S. policy on selected issues, challenges, or world regions.

LGAF 6290. Independent Study. 1-3 Credits.

Directed readings in a topic related to Congress and public policymaking. Limited to Legislative Affairs degree candidates. Written permission of program director required.

LGAF 6299. Thesis. 3 Credits.

LGAF 6300. Thesis. 3 Credits.

LGAF 6998. Thesis. 3 Credits.

LGAF 6999. Thesis. 3 Credits.