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.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Political Science will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical Inquiry, Historical Interpretation, Social Inquiry I & II, Global Citizenship & Intercultural Literacy, Ethical Reasoning, 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, cocurricular experiences.

A total of eleven 4-unit 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 505598 

No more than 8 units toward the major shall be derived from directed study. First-year students considering a political science major should take at least one core course in the first 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-term thesis project culminating in an oral defense, and cocurricular activities that provide insight into politics and government. Applications for the honors program must be submitted no later than the spring of the junior year. Interested students should contact the director of advanced programs or the academic advisor in the Department of Political Science.