2019-2020 University Catalog 
    Jun 21, 2024  
2019-2020 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science Major

Major Requirements

Normally, no more than two independent study courses or political science courses taken on an off-campus study group are accepted for major credit. For the two study groups sponsored by the Department of Political Science, in Geneva, Switzerland, and in Washington, D.C., up to three course credits may automatically be applied toward fulfilling departmental major credit. For more information about transfer credit, refer to the Political Science Department  page.

For students electing a double major in political science and international relations, no more than two courses may be counted for completion of both majors. For students seeking a major in political science and a minor in international relations, no courses may be double-counted.

No course with a grade below C will count for major credit.

The requirements for a major in political science are as follows:

Political Science Courses (ten)


  • One additional political science course at any level
  • Four additional 300- or 400-level political science courses

400-level Seminar

One 400-level seminar course. Note that study group courses, POSC 498 , and POSC 499  do not fulfill this requirement.

Recommendations for Majors and Other Students

Those interested in studying political science may begin at any course level but are likely to find it most convenient to start with those at the 100 or 200 levels. In consultation with their faculty advisers, students should plan course sequences that fulfill major requirements while allowing them, if so desired, to develop particular interests in some depth while still gaining a well-rounded grounding in the discipline. All majors are encouraged, as well, to take electives in other closely allied social sciences.

The 100-level courses are designed for students likely to major in other fields of study as well as those considering a major or minor in political science. The 200-level courses are intended to serve as gateway courses to the major as well as to particular subfields. Both the 100- and 200-level courses, then, serve as general introductions providing a broad foundation in the discipline and are particularly suitable for first - and second - year students. The 300- and 400-level courses are, in most instances, somewhat more demanding and less general than lower-level courses and allow students to explore a specific topic in greater depth. These courses are generally directed, but not limited, to the needs of juniors and seniors. Majors and others interested in one particular area of the discipline, for example in international relations, can take up to seven courses, seminars, or independent studies in that area of interest, especially in classes at the 300 and 400 level.

Political Science Department

For more information about the department, including Faculty, transfer credit, awards, etc., please visit the Political Science department  catalogue page.