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Expectations of Students

Pursuing a Master’s degree is a serious academic endeavor and the department expects students to maintain a serious and professional approach to their studies. This page contains a non-exhaustive list of topics that are a common stumbling blocks for students as they being their graduate career. If you have any questions about any of these topics, do not hesitate to initiate a dialogue with your advisor or the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is vital at all levels of higher education; graduate level work is not an exception. The department expects students to abide by the Academic Integrity guidelines maintained by Boise State. Given the level of education students are engaging in while pursuing a Master’s degree, offenses are taken very seriously and violations can be grounds for failure in a class and dismissal from the program. If you have questions about ethical issues in the conduct of academic work, please seek out your divisor or the Program Coordinator.

Forms and Deadlines

Students must pay attention to Graduate College as specified in the Graduate Catalog. While the department may send out reminders, this is ultimately the students responsibility. You can find semester specific deadlines in the Graduate Catalog and all forms on the Graduate College’s webpage.

Advisors and Meetings

Students should check in regularly with their advisors for both guidance and to make sure they are are on track for completion of the degree. Setting up these appointments and check-ins are the student’s responsibility and not that of the advisor. Additionally, if you feel like you need more input or structure from your advisor, let them know and they will work with you to create an environment that suits your intellectual needs.


Graduate education relies heavily upon student contributions within and without the classroom. Students should hesitate and consider the consequences before missing a scheduled class as missing a single session’s worth of material is a significant percentage of the class’ material. Professors do understand that missing a class can, though rarely, be unavoidable. If you see a potential conflict, notify your professor as soon as possible and seek out a way to make up missed material.


Students should do all of the reading that is assigned. Skipping assigned readings is often a poor choice. If you have difficulty with some material, it may be an opportune way to discuss those issues within the classroom to promote discussion of the material.


All assigned writing should be done with the greatest care and professionalism. Students should make regular appointments with the writing center to receive feedback on your writing both in-class and, if they are writing a thesis, their culminating project. Your professors should not be the first source you seek out for feedback on your writing and poor writing will likely be penalized both in the classroom as well as delay graduation in a thesis.


Professors will vary in their expectations, but the discussion is often a pivotal part of the graduate student experience. Expect to add meaningful contributions to every class session as simply being in the classroom or offering surface-level comments will not earn students the highest grade. This may involve asking good questions and may not always involve having the right answer.

Citation Style

Unless otherwise noted by syllabi or professors, students should use the American Political Science Association’s style of citation in all academic writing within the program. You can find a copy of the APSA style guide online.

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