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BA in Political Science

The faculty and students in the Department of Political Science study politics in all of its manifestations: The institutions of government in the United States and around the world; the role of interest groups, elections, and political parties in the political process; relationships among nations; connections among law, courts, and politics; and the role of citizens and other private actors in government. The tools we use to approach these issues include theoretical and philosophical studies, historical and institutional analysis, interpretive approaches, and positive hypothesis-testing and modeling, and incorporate both quantitative and qualitative empirical studies. The program requirements of the major in political science are made up of courses at four levels, providing breadth at the introductory level, depth in one of four distinct areas of specialization and, through elective courses, the opportunity to explore different types of political issues.

Requirements for the Major in Political Science

All three introductory courses in Political Science: RPOS101/RPOS 101W: American Politics, RPOS102/RPOS 102X: Comparative and International Politics, and RPOS103/RPOS 103Y: Political Theory.

A minimum of 36 credits in political science including at least 18 credits from courses at or above the 300-level

At least four courses at or above the 300-level must be in one of the four subfields or five cross-concentrations in the curriculum:

  • American Politics
  • Theory
  • Global Politics
  • Public Law
  • Citizenship
  • Equality & Inequality
  • Law & Institutions
  • Political Economy & Development
  • Security & Statecraft

At least one course at the 400-level to meet the writing-intensive requirement. We recommend, but do not require, that the 400-level class is in the chosen subfield. (If it is in the chosen sub-field, it will be counted towards the four courses required in your chosen subfield). Internships cannot be used to satisfy the 400-level course requirement, but honors seminars or independent studies could be counted if they are appropriate and with permission.

Independent study courses are used to deal with topics not covered by regular departmental offerings and after classroom courses dealing with the same subject have been completed. Prior to registering for independent study, students must have their proposed research project approved by a faculty member willing to direct the research. The student's prospectus must outline the topic of the proposed research, indicate its importance to political science, and describe the methodology to be employed and methodological problems that may be encountered. Students may not register for independent study unless a copy of the prospectus, properly signed, has been filed with the department. Independent study courses may not be used in lieu of classroom courses.

Only cross-listed Public Administration, Public Affairs courses, and Criminal Justice 353 and 414 are acceptable as political science courses in meeting the 36-credit requirement in political science, but PAD and CRJ 400- level courses cannot be used to satisfy the requirement of a 400-level course which requires a major research or writing project. The Political Internship course (POS 390) is open to juniors and seniors only. A maximum of 3 credits from POS 390, UNI 391, and 392 will be applied toward a major in Political Science. Approval of the Director of Undergraduate Education is required prior to enrollment. The Department recommends that students take the 200-level survey and topical courses prior to seeking internships.


Requirements for the Minor in Political Science

The Department of Political Science has an approved minor program for undergraduate students interested in political science but not enrolled in the field as a major. The requirements are:

  • a minimum of 18 graduation credits from course work with an R POS prefix
  • R POS 101/ R POS 101W
  • 9 or more credits (of the 18 total) at or above the 300 level and/or in courses requiring at least one prerequisite course
For more information contact Zakhar Berkovich ( or 518-442-3112) or Professor Julie Novkov ( or 518-442-3112) at the uptown contact office located in Humanities B16.