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College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Requirements

department of political science

Note: The University will be converting from a course-based system to a credit-based system, beginning with the Class of 2014. Therefore, for students in the Class of 2014 and beyond, special information on course requirements is included in (parentheses).


Fields and Electives

Two introductory courses (six introductory credits), including Fundamental Concepts of Politics I (PO 041) and one course (three credits) from the list of other introductory offerings: Fundamentals II (PO 042), Introduction to American Politics (PO 061), Introduction to International Politics (PO 081), or other introductory courses as they become available.

At least one course (three credits) in each of the four sub-fields of Political Science for a total of four sub-field courses (12 credits):

  • American Politics (PO 300-399)
  • Comparative Politics (PO 400-499)
  • International Politics (PO 500-599)
  • Political Theory (PO 600-699)

Four electives (12 credits) from among any courses offered by the department.

Note: Courses designated as PO 200-299 count as electives toward the major but do not fulfill the four sub-field distributional requirements; courses numbered 700 and above are graduate courses.


Qualifications, Exceptions, and Special Rules

PO 041 and 042 need not be taken in the numerical sequence, although it is generally wise to do so. We recognize that some students coming late to the major will need to take PO 042 prior to PO 041.

Students who have already taken one or more Political Science elective courses (credits) before deciding on the major may be able to substitute one of those for one of the Fundamentals courses (credits). Approval from the department is necessary to do so, however.

There are courses in Political Science offered in the university's Woods College of Advancing Studies (WCAS). However, full-time undergraduate students may take no more than one WCAS course each semester. Freshmen may not enroll in any WCAS course. WCAS courses may be used to fulfill elective requirements only. The Fundamentals of Politics course taught in the Woods College does not fulfill the introductory requirement for political science majors in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students should consult in advance with the department's transfer credit adviser if they intend to use a WCAS course to fulfill a major requirement.

Students may transfer up to four courses (12 credits) from other institutions, including foreign study programs. But in no case may a student earn a degree in Political Science without taking at least six courses (18 credits) in the department. Transfer credits and foreign-study credits may not be used to satisfy the four subfield distributional requirements. Students should consult the other limits and regulations that apply to transfer credits and study-abroad credits.