Program Overview

UF Campaigners on a field trip to Tallahassee, FL to meet with lobbyists and state politicians.

Fall 2013 UF Campaigners on a field trip to Tallahassee, FL to meet with lobbyists and state politicians.

The Graduate Program in Political Campaigning is designed to provide students with the basic skills, insights, and experiences that are so critical for success in today’s ever-changing profession of politics and political management. Unlike other programs that prepare students for a career in politics, the University of Florida’s M.A. in Political Campaigning combines the best of both academic study and practical experience.

Through exposure to academic perspectives in the fields of voting behavior, political participation, public opinion, and political communication, students are presented with a sound theoretical basis that can be used to better understand the “how and why” of political competition in the electoral arena and elsewhere.

Program Chair Dr. Craig with 2015 program graduates Ansley Tuten, Joel Mendelson, and Chad Smith

In addition, students enrolled in the Political Campaigning Program have the opportunity to study with adjunct faculty and guest lecturers who are actively engaged with candidates, parties, interest and advocacy groups, and government at all levels. This combination of academic and practical orientations makes the University of Florida’s M.A. in Political Campaigning unique among graduate programs in the United States. Working with some of today’s top scholars and political professionals, our students learn to incorporate a broad array of both academic and practical information into their political decision making.

In recent years, the Political Campaigning Program has hosted numerous special events, both in Gainesville and around the state of Florida. These include, for example, workshops dealing with such topics as election retrospectives, political polling, direct democracy, and campaign ethics and reform. Our 2005 conference, whose participants included nationally prominent academics and campaign consultants, resulted in the CQ Press edited volume, The Electoral Challenge: Theory meets Practice (2nd edition by Stephen C. Craig and noted political pollster David B. Hill). Guest speakers (including elected officials, consultants, lobbyists, and others) also visit campus on a regular basis.

In participating states, this program may be eligible for funding assistance via the Academic Common Market