Political Science Major

Structure of the Political Science Major

The core consists of six required courses.  Students begin with one of several courses introducing the study of political science; they go on to courses focusing on the subfields of American politics, international relations, and political thought; they take a course on research methodology; and the major culminates in the capstone senior seminar, in which students write and defend a major research paper on a topic of their choice.

Electives cover a range of topics in all the major subfields of the discipline, from the Presidency, Congress, and public policy; to international development and foreign policy; to the regional politics of Russia, China, and the Middle East; to courses on philosophical topics such as loyalty and conservatism.

Field study, internship, and independent or collaborative research opportunities exist as well.  Selected courses include required field study components.  Many students receive credit for supervised internship work at the local, state, national, or international level.  Students can apply to do independent study on topics not covered by regular courses.  And qualified juniors can apply to do senior honors work involving independent research and writing under the tutelage of a professor from the department.

The major requires a total of 36 hours of coursework; the minor requires any 16 hours of POLS coursework.

Political Science Major (24 hours of core requirements)
POLS 212 Social Science Research Methods 4
POLS 220 The American Political System 4
POLS 230 Introduction to International Relations 4
POLS 260 Introduction to Political Thought 4
POLS 480 Senior Capstone: Politics Seminar 4
Political Science Electives
Majors may fulfill up to 4 of these 12 hours through an internship.

Students will be encouraged to complete a broad liberal arts education, especially including exposure to the other social sciences (economics, sociology, psychology, and cultural anthropology) as well as history, philosophy, ethics, logic, and critical thinking.

Minor: 16 hours of POLS coursework.* Students may take no more than two of the following for the minor: POLS 201, 202, 203, and 204.

*If a student takes a Mayterm course worth only 3 credit hours, s/he may complete the major with only 11 hours of elective credit and 35 hours total. The minor can be completed in 15 hours in the same way.

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