BA in Political Science

Political science explores the concerns and issues that animate public life. Using both humanistic and scientific approaches, it studies how political communities attempt to reconcile the claims of justice, power, liberty, and authority. Drawing on history, law, economics, psychology, sociology, and philosophy, political science is a broadly based social science that shares the traditional aims of liberal arts education while attempting to come to grips with the major public issues of our time.

Our students focus on the study of politics while advancing their skills in writing, analytical thinking, and quantitative reasoning.

Required Courses

A total of 11 four-credit courses with a grade of C or higher is required:

  • three from among PO core courses CAS PO 111, 141, 151, 171, and 191
  • eight political science courses numbered PO 200–599; at least one of these eight courses must be a seminar numbered CAS PO 505599.

No more than 8 credits toward the major shall be derived from directed study. Freshmen considering a political science major should take at least one core course in the freshman year.

Note: College of Arts & Sciences international relations courses (CAS IR XXX) do not fulfill major requirements in political science unless they are cross-listed with political science courses (CAS PO XXX).

Honors Option

Highly qualified students who are majoring in political science may wish to undertake a special course of study aimed at graduation with honors in the major. This departmental honors program is usually endeavored during the senior year and includes a required course on research design, a two-semester thesis project culminating in an oral defense, and co-curricular activities that provide insight into politics and government. Applications for the honors program must be submitted no later than May 15 of the junior year. Interested students should contact the director of advanced programs or the academic advisor in the Political Science Department.

Joint and Related Programs