Political Science Major

Political Scientists study power and how it operates at different levels – among individuals, within and between institutions and individuals, and between countries, international organizations, corporations, societal groups, and individuals in the international arena.  Our department hopes students will connect the classroom with the wider issues in global, national, and local politics by attending our many events, trips, and study tours and participating in internships.

Goal 1: Learn Fundamental Knowledge:  Students will gain foundational knowledge in the major sub-fields of political science and understand the content, core concepts, and theories within each sub-field.

Outcome 1.1: Students will identify, define, or analyze the content, core concepts, and theories within the sub-fields.

Goal 2: Think and Make Arguments: Students will think critically and develop arguments based on evidence.

Outcome 2.1 Students will articulate verbally or in writing an argument which defines, analyzes, or synthesizes relevant theories and concepts.

Outcome 2.2 Students will apply relevant theoretical concepts to assess real world issues.

Goal 3: Think and Apply their Skills to Analysis: Students will evaluate arguments based on empirical evidence and assertions rooted in the discipline.

Outcome 3.1 Students will apply a variety of tools, methods, and perspectives to investigate and interpret issues relevant to the discipline.

Goal 4: Apply their Skills to the “Real World”: Students will be prepared for entry into professional careers, graduate schools, and other avenues related to Political Science as a discipline.

Outcome 4.1 Students will demonstrate career preparation through experiential learning opportunities that are closely related to Political Science or a related field through the development of interpersonal, analytical, and problem-solving skills.

The traditional undergraduate programs includes a minimum of 120 credits distributed across three components: A General Education component divided into Signature Courses, Variable Courses, and an Integrative Learning requirement; a Major and Divisional component; and Free Electives. In addition to course requirements as specified in each area, students must complete one certified course in each of the following overlay areas1:

  1. Diversity, Globalization or Non-western Area Studies,
  2. Ethics Intensive
  3. Writing Intensive, and
  4. Diversity

Overlay requirements are part of the 120 credit requirements

General Education Signature Courses

See this page about Signature courses

General Education Variable Courses

See this page about Variable courses. Six to Nine courses

Social/Behavioral Sciences
POL 111Intro to American Politics3

General Education Overlays

See this page about Overlays.

General Education Integrative Learning Component

See this page about Integrative Learning Component. Three courses:

ECN 101Introductory Economics Micro3
or ECN 102 Introductory Economics Macro
Any upper division History Course (200-499)3
Any upper division ECN, ENG, HIS, PHL, PSY, SOC or continuing Non-Native Language course beyond the GEP requirements3

GEP Electives

At least nine courses.

Major Requirements

One Additional Introductory Course (see POL 111 under GEP Variable Courses):
POL 113Intro to Comparative Politics3
or POL 115 Intro to Global Politics
or POL 117 Intro to Political Thought
Professional Development
POL 190Strategies for Success 71
POL 290Career Prep Seminar 61
Lower and Upper Division Courses
Select any two POL courses numbered 100-4996
Select seven POL courses numbered 300-499 1, 2, 321
Experiential Learning Course
Select one of the following:3
Washington Internship I
Washington Internship II
International Internship I
International Internship II
Global Smarts Internship
Philadelphia-Area Internship
OR any Service Learning course (with SLR attribute)
OR completion of all three POL 390, POL 391, and POL 392 Minternships (1 credit each)
Capstone Course
Select one POL Capstone course from among 400-409 4, 53
Total Hours38

POLs 270s count, but only twice.


POL majors who double-major in IR may not count more than three (3) upper division courses towards either degree requirement.


For classes of 2023 and beyond, POL majors may only count 2 study abroad courses towards their degree requirements.


POL majors who double-major in IR must complete a second Senior Capstone Course to fulfill the IR major requirements. In addition, Capstone Courses do not count towards the Upper Division Course requirements for either major.


The Department strongly recommends that all students take the appropriate introductory course prior to enrolling in a Capstone Course.


P/NP requirement for all classes 2024 and beyond.


P/NP requirement for all classes 2026 and beyond.

Plan of Study Grid
POL 111 Intro to American Politics 3
ENG 101 Craft of Language 3
Non-Native Language I 3
HIS 154 Forging the Modern World (or First Year Seminar) 3
PHL 154
Moral Foundations
or Catholic Theological Tradition
POL 190 Strategies for Success 1
POL 113
Intro to Comparative Politics
or Intro to Global Politics
or Intro to Political Thought
ENG 102 Texts & Contexts 3
Non-Native Language II 3
First Year Seminar or HIS 154 3
THE 154
Catholic Theological Tradition
or Moral Foundations
INT 151 Inequality in American Society 1
Any POL 100-300 Level 3
Math Beauty 3
ECN 101
Introductory Economics Micro (or POL Upper Division Elective)
or Introductory Economics Macro
PHL Anthropology or THE Religious Diff 3
Free Elective or Art/Lit 3
POL 290 Career Prep Seminar 1
Any POL 100-300 Level 3
History Course ILC 3
POL Upper Division Elective or ECN 101 or 102 3
THE Religious Diff. or PHL Anthropology 3
Art/Lit or Free Elective 3
POL Upper Division Elective 3
POL Experiential Learning Course 3
Faith & Reason or Natural Science 1 3
Individual Choice ILC 3
Free Elective 3
POL Upper Division Elective 6
Natural Science or Faith & Reason 3
Free Elective 6
POL Upper Division Elective 6
Natural Science 2 (non-lab) or Free Elective 3
Free Elective 6
POL 402
Capstone: Contenious Pol in US
or Capstone: Nations&Nationalism
or Capstone: Revolts&Revolutions
or Capstone: Pol of Labor & Work
or Capstone: Theories of Justice
or Capstone: The Armed Citizen?
or Global Migration
POL Upper Division Elective 3
Free Elective 9
 Total Hours123

Note that the number of free electives may vary depending on AP credits awarded, the natural science option completed (one lab course vs. two non-lab courses), and number of courses completed for the non-native language requirement

University Honors Requirements

To receive University Honors credit, an Honors Program student who is a Political Science major must have a 3.5 GPA; complete the Honors curriculum of 8 specified courses; and must undertake two consecutive semesters of research/study in the form of a senior thesis with a faculty mentor, OR engage in honors-level work in two POL courses/capstone during their senior year. These two courses may be counted toward the student's total upper division POL courses/capstone, and one semester of the thesis can replace the Capstone Course requirement. Specific requirements for the Honors thesis may be found under the Honors Program.