Political Science

Degree Requirements

Political Science Studies

Learning goals:

  • Factual information: American politics
  • Factual information: World/international politics
  • Factual information: Comparative politics
  • Factual information: Political thought/philosophy
  • Communication skills: Written, oral and listening
  • Diversity issues: U.S./global diversity of population and societies
  • Diversity issues: Relationship between politics and differences
  • Diversity issues: Criticize views of categories of diversity/portray others’ perceptions/views

Requirements for the Major in Political Science. Majors take 44 semester hours in political science, including at least 20 hours at the 300 level or above, all with grades of C- or better and at least a 2.00 political science GPA. Twenty semester hours of electives are selected with faculty adviser guidance (these may include two hours of internship credit).

semester hours


POLI:111 American Government and Politics


POLI:121 Comparative Government and Politics


POLI:131 World Affairs or POLI:133 World Affairs: Statecraft


POLI:205 Research Process and Data Analysis


Four hours from Political Thought courses at the 300 or 400 level


20 hours of electives selected with faculty adviser guidance to emphasize depth in a departmental subfield (may include two hours of internship credit)


POLI:501 Senior Seminar

The department also recommends additional courses in other areas, depending upon career goals. Frequent choices include business, communications, economics, earth and environmental sciences, foreign language, history, and sociology.

Portfolio: All majors are to maintain a cumulative portfolio of their academic work in political science. Materials in the portfolio will include a resume; research papers, essays or other assignments representative of the student’s work; and other relevant materials evidencing the student’s academic performance and growth. The portfolio is to be updated at the end of each semester and shared with the student’s academic adviser. Timely completion of the required portfolio elements is a precondition for enrolling in POLI:501, the required senior seminar capstone course.

Secondary Teaching Certification. Majors interested in social studies or citizenship education teaching certification take 40 hours in political science, including the required courses. Students must also take cognate courses in related disciplines and meet additional Department of Education requirements. Student teaching serves as an internship. For more information, see the education studies section.

Minor in Political Science. A political science minor complements many other majors. The minor requires 24 semester hours with grades of C- or better and at least a 2.00 GPA in the minor. Required courses include POLI:111, POLI:121, either POLI:131 or POLI:133, and four hours in political thought. Minors take eight additional hours from a subfield selected with departmental adviser guidance. At least four of the 24 hours must be at the 300 level or above.

Minor in International Relations. International relations is the study of interactions among countries. It explores countries’ foreign policy, interstate trade, cooperation and war. An international relations minor is a strong complement to a number of fields, particularly for students who wish to pursue international study or business. Students may not attain an international relations minor if they have a political science major or minor. The minor requires 24 semester hours with grades of C- or better and at least a 2.00 GPA in the minor. Required courses include POLI:121 Comparative Government and Politics, POLI:131 World Affairs or POLI:133 World Affairs: Statecraft, and 12 semester hours from the following courses: POLI:321 European Union; POLI:322 Arab World and the West; POLI:331 American Foreign Policy; POLI:333 Development, Globalization and Society; POLI:334 International Organizations and Law; POLI:335 War and Politics; POLI:338 International Political Economy; POLI:436 Issues of Conflict; or other approved courses. Students must also take one other four-semester-hour comparative politics course.

Interdisciplinary Options. Political science majors can easily complete a minor in other departments. Others opt to take a second major. Many choose a related field, such as a foreign language, economics, sociology or business. A legal studies minor is a popular choice for those considering a career in the law. International studies, also an interdisciplinary program, is another common option as a minor or second major.

Honors. The departmental honors program encourages and commends outstanding academic work in political science. To graduate with departmental honors, political science majors must do the following:

  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.50 in the department and 3.25 overall,
  • Request admission to the program at the beginning of their senior seminar, and
  • Complete and publicly present and defend an honors-quality project in their senior year

Pi Sigma Alpha. Students who satisfy membership requirements may be invited to join the campus chapter of this national honor society in political science.

Course Catalog

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