Political Science

Faculty: Michael Zarkin

Program Goals

  • To develop effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • To engage students in critical, analytical, and integrative thinking.
  • To help students become effective researchers.
  • To improve collaborative problem solving and leadership skills.
  • To enhance global consciousness, a sense of social responsibility and ethical awareness.


Political Science offers an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts academic major. With political science as its core focus, the major includes relevant courses from a number of disciplines. The curriculum stresses student mastery of a variety of allied subjects to enhance understanding of the global and domestic contexts of politics. The major prepares students for further study in law or graduate school; to enter public service careers in government or international organizations; to work in nongovernmental organizations; to work in the private sector, the policy arena, the political/legislative process; to work in domestic, transnational, or international/global civil society organizations, movements, or activism; or to conduct research.

The Political Science minor offers non-majors a flexible academic program for exploring politics in both the domestic and global contexts.  The curriculum can be designed to fit the needs of students pursuing a variety of careers including public service,  civil society organizations,  law, global affairs, business, education and mass communication. Students should work with their minor advisor to choose appropriate coursework.

Program Requirements

The Political Science academic major requires completion of 62-63 credit hours. This includes 8 hours of a world language requirement, 7 hours of lower division political science courses, 32 hours of upper division political science courses, and 15-16 hours of courses in one of three emphases: (a) Global Politics emphasis, (b) Pre-Law emphasis, or (c) Customized emphasis. All details are described in the table below. Students must maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA in courses required to complete any one of the emphases. It is important to note that a course may not count toward both the Political Science core and the student’s chosen emphasis. Additional recommended coursework may be taken in a number of disciplines, depending upon approved student interests. Students choosing a double major or minor in any of the fields included within the political science major may not apply a course to more than one major or minor. It is strongly recommended that students take DATA 220 (Introduction to Statistics). Moreover, while the Political Science major requires only 8 credit hours of a world language, students are strongly advised to take up to 16 hours (two full years, four semesters, or equivalent preparation) of a world language.

The courses listed below are required of all political science majors, regardless of their chosen emphasis.
Students must meet the college-wide graduation requirements in addition to the Political Science major:

  • 124 total hours
  • 30 upper division hours
  • WCore requirements

Political Science Major

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. World Language Requirement 8
Political Studies majors must complete eight credit hours in a single world language.
II. Lower Division Political Science Courses 11
PLSC/JUST 206 Foundations of Politics, Justice & Global Studies (4)
PLSC 106 Explorations in Politics (4)
JUST 203 Courts, Law & Social Justice (3)
III. Upper Division Political Science Courses 28
PLSC 390 Research Methods (4)
PLSC 490 Senior Capstone (4)
Take one of the following courses:

  • PLSC 318 Humanitarian Politics (4)
  • PLSC 367 Contemporary Political Philosophy (4)
Additional upper division PLSC coursework (16)
IV. Emphasis 15-16
Students will complete 15 to 16 credit hours from one of three emphasis options: (a) Global Politics, (b) Pre-Law, or (c) Customized. Important Note: Political Science courses taken toward completion of sections II and III of the major requirements will not count toward completion of an emphasis.
(a) Global Politics Emphasis
Students are required to take the following two courses:
PLSC 315 Theories of Global Politics (4)
PLSC 415 Issues in Global Politics (4) Recommended (but not required): PLSC 315
Students may  choose two of the following courses:
  • ANTH 388 Anthropology of Globalization (4)
  • ENVI 351  The Global Environment (4)
  • JUST 344 Environmental Justice (4)
  • PLSC 306 Comparative Politics (4)
  • PLSC 318 Humanitarian Politics (4)
  • PLSC 367 Contemporary Political Philosophy (4)
  • PUBH 250 Global Health (4)
  • Or additional courses approved by the student’s academic advisor (4)
ENVI 101
(b) Pre-Law Emphasis
COMM 310 Professional Writing (4) COMM 210
DATA 220 Introduction to Statistics (4) MATH 101 or 105
ENGL 371 Advanced Expository Writing (3)
JUST 310 Law and Society (4)
JUST 350 Criminal Law
PHIL 102 Critical Thinking (4)
PHIL 303 Formal Logic (4) PHIL 102
PHIL 312 Applied Ethics (4) PHIL 100 or PHIL 102
PLSC 327 Environmental Politics and Policy (4)
PLSC 355 Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties (4)
SOC 305 Social Problems (4)
SOC 372 Race, Ethnicity, and Class (4)
(c) Customized Emphasis
Students may work with their major advisor to select 16 hours of Political Science or Political Science-related electives from other fields such as Anthropology, Economics, Global Studies, History, Justice Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, or Sociology. By the junior year, students would need to declare this emphasis with a specialization title to ensure completion on time for graduation.

Recommended Plan of Study for Political Science Major

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Freshman Year PLSC 106
Language I
PLSC 106 (if not taken in Fall)
Language II
Sophomore Year

JUST 203
PLSC 367 or PLSC 318
(4) hours in emphasis

(4) hours in emphasis

Junior Year

(4) hours in emphasis
(4-8) hours of upper-division PLSC

(4-8) hours of upper-division PLSC

Senior Year

PLSC 390

(4) hours in emphasis

PLSC 490

(4) hours of upper-division PLSC

Political Science Minor

Students must maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA in courses required for the political science minor. Students choosing a double major or minor may not apply a class to more than one major or minor except in the case of core requirements.

For course prerequisites, please refer to the course description.

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Required Courses 4
PLSC 106 Explorations in Politics (4)
II. Elective Courses 16
Twelve hours of upper division PLSC coursework (12). Four hours of additional political science coursework or coursework in a related field approved by political science faculty (4)

 Recommended Plan of Study for Political Science Minor

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Freshman Year PLSC 106
Sophomore Year

Four (4) hours upper-division PLSC coursework


Junior Year

Four (4) hours upper-division PLSC coursework

Four (4) hours upper-division PLSC coursework

Senior Year

Four (4) hours upper-division PLSC coursework


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