Political Science Major

Requirements for a Major in Political Science

  1. A core of four courses to provide a grounding in the traditional subfields of the discipline
    • PLS 105 Introduction to American Government
    • PLS 205 Introduction to Comparative Politics
    • PLS 207 Introduction to Political Theory
    • PLS 208 Fundamentals of International Relations
  2. A research methods course
    • PLS 209 Scope and Methods of Political Science
  3. Two upper-level (300- or 400-level) courses in each of two subfields to permit concentration and to acquire a depth of understanding. Subfield coursework is distributed as follows:
    • American Politics: PLS 105, 202, 301, 310, 311, 314, 315, 360, 419, 420, 421, 422, 440, 459, 460, 494
    • Comparative Politics: PLS 205, 303, 304, 305, 306, 491
    • International Relations: PLS 208, 302, 317, 318, 319, 492
    • Political Theory: PLS 207, 300, 307, 308, 407, 493
  4. A senior seminar designed to be a culminating experience:
    • PLS 491 Seminar in Comparative Politics
    • PLS 492 Seminar in International Relations
    • PLS 493 Seminar in Political Theory
    • PLS 494 Seminar in American Politics

Each student's prospectus, which must be approved by his/her advisor, will outline the courses to be taken to satisfy the degree requirements. Individual interests and special capabilities of the student, as well as the scope of the discipline, are considered in preparing the prospectus. Courses initially proposed in the prospectus may be revised upon approval of the advisor.

In planning their academic program, students intending to major in political science are encouraged to complete the core courses (PLS 105, 205, 207, 208) as early as practicable. Students should complete PLS 209 prior to enrolling in a senior seminar.

In addition to the University Basic Skills requirements, the University and College General Education requirements, each student majoring in political science is required to either complete a foreign language requirement (for those interested in earning a Bachelor of Arts degree) or a quantitative skills requirement (for those interested in earning a Bachelor of Science degree).

Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements

Two years or its equivalent of college-level foreign language. (This means that a student must complete 202 or a 300-level language course. Whenever that has been completed, the requirement has been met.)

Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements

To receive the Bachelor of Science degree, students must successfully complete at least 6 hours of courses selected from physical and natural science, mathematics, computer science, statistics, or quantitative methods in addition to the hours used to fulfill the University general education requirements. The following courses may be used to fulfill the additional 6-hour requirement for the B.S. degree – all courses in astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, geological sciences, physics, mathematics (except MTH 100 and MTH 109), technical mathematics, and, in addition, these courses: BMA 372, ECO 319, FCS 303, PSY 415, PSY 536, QM 262, QM 263, and SCI 101.

Suggested Courses for a Freshman

Fall Semester

  • Political Science:                                                                                        3 semester hours

            PLS 105  Introduction to American Government

  • General Education:  Composition or Speech Requirement:*                3 semester hours

            ENG 101  English Composition
                                 OR
            COM 103  The Oral Communication Process

  • General Education:  Mathematics Requirement:**                                3 semester hours

            MTH 101  Basic College Mathematics
                                 OR
            MTH 111  Elementary Statistics

  • General Education:  Fine Arts Requirement:***                                    3 semester hours

           ART 131   Art Appreciation
                                OR
           MUS 109  Music Appreciation
                                OR
           THE 131    Introduction to Theater  

  • Elective Course:                                                                                         3-4 semester hours

            Your choice ****

                         Total Course Load*****                                                   15-16 semester hours

*   Take one of these courses during the Fall Semester; take the other during the Spring Semester.

 **   Either of the two Math courses will satisfy the General Education/Math requirement.  If you are planning to get a double major or a minor in a department in the Foster College of Business Administration, you will want to take MTH 115 (Techniques of Calculus I) which the College requires for many of its majors and minors.

***  You could substitute a course which satisfies an alternative General Education requirement (e.g., Western Civilization, Human Values Literary, Non-Western, etc). We recommend satisfying the Fine Arts requirement because the range of options in the fall semester is greater than what you will probably see in the spring semester.

****Take any course in which you have an interest-whether or not the course helps meet any General Education requirements.  For example, if you want to take a course in American History or Photography or Accounting or whatever, take it.

***** Students who wish to begin with a course load of 12-13 semester hours  (instead of 15-16 semester hours) may wish to delete the Elective Course from their schedule.