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.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate substantive understanding of governmental and political processes in a global context, including mastery of key concepts.
  • Conduct political analysis using a range of qualitative and quantitative tools.
  • Reason analytically to evaluate causal claims in political science.
  • Demonstrate a capacity, in both oral and written communication, to present arguments cogently and ground them in empirical evidence.

Requirements

All students entering as freshmen in Fall 2018 and after will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through co-curricular activities. Students majoring in Political Science will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic and Historical Interpretation, Social Inquiry, Diversity, Civic Engagement and Global Citizenship, and some areas of the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, co-curricular experiences.

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 (or CAS PO 408 or PO 409)

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 in the Major

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.