MSSc Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will I receive the same Syracuse University degree as on-campus students?
Yes, MSSc students receive a Syracuse University diploma from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

How does the MSSc program differ from other distance education or online program?
MSSc students learn from leading scholars from the faculty of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, one of the most distinguished schools in the country. The residencies combine the advantages of traditional classroom seminars with the benefits of independent study in a flexible format.

What kinds of careers does the MSSc degree prepare me for?
MSSc can be a credential for career advancement or career change. MSSc students often prepare for college or advanced level teaching positions, or jobs in business, government or nonprofit organizations requiring an international or global perspective.

Can I go on to a Ph.D.?
MSSc is a writing-intensive program that helps to prepare you for the rigors of a doctoral program in the social sciences. Many MSSc graduates have gone on to pursue a Ph.D. in history, social science, and political science at various universities.

Can the program be done completely online?
MSSc is not an online program. Program materials and administrative information and announcements are conveyed through the MSSc program web site and Blackboard.  Course requirements are set out in the course syllabi and coursework is submitted through e-mail and Blackboard. In addition, course completion requires attendance at classes during the program residencies. A total of four weeks of residency is required for degree completion.

How will I communicate with the faculty?
Most communication will be through e-mail and Blackboard, although you may contact faculty by telephone at any time. Communication is usually initiated by the student when you have registered for a course and begun readings.

What is the length and format of the residencies?
You must attend a total of four weeks of residency. One two-week, on-campus residency is required, while the other two weeks of residency time may be done in another two-week session, or in 2 one-week sessions.

The two-week on-campus residency is held each July.  SOS 800, the three-credit required Residency Seminar, meets for the full two weeks. This includes the intervening weekend, when the program moves to Minnowbrook, the University’s Adirondack conference center, for an intense weekend of lectures and discussion. Six core courses are offered during each of the two weeks. Students usually attend two or three classes each week.

Both on campus & off campus housing options are available during the Summer residency.  Details are sent to current students with the Summer residency planning information.

How long do I have to complete a course?
You have up to 12 months from the beginning of the semester of registration to complete a course. Once you are officially registered you may begin to submit papers. If circumstances dictate that you require more time, a request for Incomplete grade must be submitted.

How long does it take to complete the degree program?
The 30-credit program can be completed in as little as 18 months, if pursued full-time. Most students work on the degree part time. You may take up to seven years to complete the degree.

How much does the program cost?
Please check the tuition and fees page for the current graduate tuition rate. The MSSc degree is a 30-credit program; most classes are three credits each. Tuition rates change each summer. In addition to tuition, add the cost of books, travel to and lodging in Syracuse for residencies. Low-cost residency hall lodging is available. A residency fee covers the cost of lunches and several other meals during the residency. There is an additional fee for the Minnowbrook weekend, which is required as part of SOS 800.

May I use veterans educational benefits? 

Yes.  As someone who has served in the U.S. armed forces you have earned educational benefits. We are pleased that you are considering Syracuse University as you plan your future. Our proud history of serving veterans dates back to World War II, when SU ranked nationally among the leaders in veteran enrollment. We remain committed to supporting those who have served our country, and recently established the Veterans Resource Center—housed at University College, 700 University Avenue—to provide the services you need as you pursue your education.  For additional information, visit