Political Science Major
Students must also complete the Undergraduate Registration Requirement and the degree requirements of their home school.
The major in political science provides an opportunity for students to learn about politics in a variety of realms and settings. Students generally begin the major with 200-level courses, which provide a general introduction to subfields of political science as well as background for 300-level courses. Majors should choose 200-level courses from at least two subfields: American politics, comparative politics, international politics, and political theory.
While some students choose courses from within one or two subfields, most take a wide variety across different areas. Concentrations are not required; however, majors may consult with department advisers to design programs of study. Students might design concentrations around, for instance, themes such as race, ethnicity, and politics; global transformation; representation and law; social and economic inequalities; terrorism and national security; and citizenship studies.
Students planning to major in political science are advised to complete the 200-level gateway courses and at least 1 300-level course in political science by the end of sophomore year. Majors should complete their methodology requirement by the end of junior year and before taking the POLI_SCI 395-0 Political Research Seminar. Students should plan to take POLI_SCI 395-0 in junior year or early in senior year. Those who plan to pursue honors must take POLI_SCI 395-0 in junior year.
|Major Requirements (12 units)|
|3 gateway courses chosen from:|
|Introduction to Political Theory|
|American Government and Politics|
|Introduction to Law in the Political Arena|
|Introduction to International Relations|
|Introduction to Comparative Politics|
|1 methodology course in political science chosen from:|
|Introduction to Empirical Methods in Political Science|
|Introduction to Interpretive Methods in Political Science|
|Methods of Political Inference|
|Logics of Political Inquiry|
|Statistical Research Methods|
|1 Political Research Seminar|
|Political Research Seminar|
|7 additional 300-level courses in political science 1|
Restrictions on eligible credits and substitutions include the following:
Notes about substitutions and restrictions:
- At most two political science courses taken abroad may count toward the major, but courses taken abroad may not replace any of the 200-level gateway courses.
- Courses taken P/N cannot be counted toward the major (this is a Weinberg College rule; for details see Grade Requirements).
- Receiving a 5 on an AP exam (either American Government or Comparative Politics) can place students out of the equivalent 200-level course, but test credit awarded cannot be substituted for the courses (12) required to complete the major. Thus, instead of taking POLI_SCI 220-0 or POLI_SCI 250-0, the student must take an additional 300-level course. Students wishing to use their AP credit in this fashion must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and place the request.
Honors in Political Science
Majors (including students studying abroad) with strong academic records and an interest in pursuing honors should submit an application to the honors program by March of junior year. Interested students should complete at least 7 of the courses required for the major, including the methodology and research seminar requirements, before senior year. Accepted students enroll in the 2-quarter seminar POLI_SCI 398-1 & POLI_SCI 398-2, which provides guidance in writing a senior thesis; these courses do not count toward the major. Students interested in pursuing honors in more than one major are encouraged to pursue interdisciplinary honors.
Students whose theses and grades meet department criteria are recommended to the college for graduation with honors. For more information see Honors in the Major.
American Politics Courses
These courses examine political behavior, power, and politics in American society and in the institutions of US government at the national, state, and local levels.
|POLI_SCI 220-0||American Government and Politics|
|POLI_SCI 230-0||Introduction to Law in the Political Arena|
|POLI_SCI 320-0||The American Presidency|
|POLI_SCI 321-0||Urban Politics|
|POLI_SCI 322-0||Ideas and Institutions in Urban Politics|
|POLI_SCI 323-0||Public Opinion and Voting Behavior|
|POLI_SCI 324-0||Political Parties and Elections|
|POLI_SCI 325-0||Congress and the Legislative Process|
|POLI_SCI 326-0||Race and Public Policy|
|POLI_SCI 327-0||African American Politics|
|POLI_SCI 328-0||Public Policy|
|POLI_SCI 329-0||U.S. Environmental Politics|
|POLI_SCI 330-0||U.S. Refugee Policy & Localities|
|POLI_SCI 331-0||Politics of the Supreme Court|
|POLI_SCI 332-0||Constitutional Law I|
|POLI_SCI 333-0||Constitutional Law II: Civil and Political Rights|
|POLI_SCI 334-0||Latino Politics|
Comparative Politics Courses
Some of these courses concentrate on understanding the politics of specific national systems, while others focus on certain types of political phenomena and make cross-national comparisons.
|POLI_SCI 250-0||Introduction to Comparative Politics|
|POLI_SCI 350-0||Social Movements|
|POLI_SCI 351-0||Politics of the Middle East|
|POLI_SCI 353-0||Politics of Latin America|
|POLI_SCI 354-0||Politics of Southeast Asia|
|POLI_SCI 355-0||Politics of China|
|POLI_SCI 357-SA||Political Economy of Israel|
|POLI_SCI 358-SA||Contemporary South Africa: A Political Economy/Policy Perspective|
|POLI_SCI 359-0||Politics of Africa|
|POLI_SCI 361-0||Democratic Transitions|
|POLI_SCI 362-0||Politics of Europe|
|POLI_SCI 363-SA||The Political Economy of the European Union|
|POLI_SCI 364-SA||France: Politics, Culture, & Society|
|POLI_SCI 365-SA||Decision Making in the European Union|
|POLI_SCI 366-SA||The Dynamics of Law Making in the European Union|
|POLI_SCI 368-0||Political Economy of Development|
|POLI_SCI 369-0||Politics of Post-Soviet Russia|
|POLI_SCI 373-0||Chinese Foreign Policy|
|POLI_SCI 374-0||Politics of Capitalism|
|POLI_SCI 379-SA||China in Transition: Ideology, Political Economy, Law, and Relations with the US|
|POLI_SCI 381-SA||Political Economy of Contemporary China|
|POLI_SCI 388-0||Institutions and Society|
|POLI_SCI 389-0||Understanding Genocide|
International Politics Courses
This field includes the study of major actors and arenas in the world scene, global processes through which cooperation and conflict are managed in the international system, and ways in which change occurs and resources become allocated in the global system.
|POLI_SCI 240-0||Introduction to International Relations|
|POLI_SCI 340-0||International Relations Theory|
|POLI_SCI 341-0||International Political Economy|
|POLI_SCI 342-0||International Organizations|
|POLI_SCI 343-0||Politics of International Law|
|POLI_SCI 344-0||U.S. Foreign Policy|
|POLI_SCI 345-0||National Security|
|POLI_SCI 346-0||European Union in International Affairs|
|POLI_SCI 347-0||Ethics in International Relations|
|POLI_SCI 349-0||International Environmental Politics|
|POLI_SCI 372-0||The Middle East in International Politics|
|POLI_SCI 376-0||Civil Wars|
|POLI_SCI 377-0||Drugs and Politics|
|POLI_SCI 378-0||America and the World|
|POLI_SCI 380-0||Refugee Crises and Human Rights|
|POLI_SCI 382-0||Politics of Religious Diversity|
|POLI_SCI 383-0||War and Change in International Politics|
Political Theory Courses
These courses examine the ideas that inform the thinking of today’s citizens, representatives, and political scientists. They are organized by historical periods and conceptual similarity.
|POLI_SCI 201-0||Introduction to Political Theory|
|POLI_SCI 301-0||Classical Political Theory|
|POLI_SCI 302-0||Subjects, Citizens, Revolutionaries: Early Modern Political Thought|
|POLI_SCI 303-0||Modernity and Its Discontents|
|POLI_SCI 306-0||American Political Thought|
|POLI_SCI 307-0||Deportation Law and Politics|
|POLI_SCI 308-SA||Critical Theory and the Study of Politics|
|POLI_SCI 309-0||Political Theories of the Rule of Law|
Research Methodology Courses
Courses in this field help students engage in the research they may encounter in their 300 level courses and help prepare students to conduct original research on the causes and consequences of political phenomena. The methodological techniques are often transferable to research problems in government and business.
|POLI_SCI 210-0||Introduction to Empirical Methods in Political Science|
|POLI_SCI 211-0||Introduction to Interpretive Methods in Political Science|
|POLI_SCI 310-0||Methods of Political Inference|
|POLI_SCI 311-0||Logics of Political Inquiry|
|POLI_SCI 312-0||Statistical Research Methods|
Seminars and Independent Study
|POLI_SCI 390-0||Special Topics in Political Science|
|POLI_SCI 395-0||Political Research Seminar|
& POLI_SCI 398-2
|Senior Thesis Seminar|
and Senior Thesis Seminar
|POLI_SCI 399-0||Independent Study|