Political Science Major

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.

Learning Goals and Objectives

The Political Science Department requires its students to learn, think, and apply.

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.

Objective 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.

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

Objective 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.

Objective 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.

Objective 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 include 40 courses 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 areas:

  1. Diversity, Globalization or Non-western Area Studies,
  2. Ethics Intensive, and
  3. Writing Intensive. Overlay requirements are part of the forty-course requirement.

General Education Signature Courses

See this page about Signature courses. Six 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

GEP Integrative Learning Component

Class of 2018:

  • ECN 102 Introduction to Macro Economics
  • MAT 118 Statistics
  • Any upper division ECN, HIS, PHL, PSY, SOC or continuing Non-Native Language course beyond the GEP requirements.

Class of 2019 and beyond:

  • ECN 101 Introduction to Micro Economics or ECN 102 Introduction to Macro Economics
  • Any upper division HIS course (200-499)
  • Any upper division ECN, HIS, PHL, PSY, SOC or continuing Non-Native Language course beyond the GEP requirements.

GEP Electives

At least nine courses

Major Requirements

Major Concentration

Twelve courses

Additional Introductory Courses (see POL 111 under GEP Variable Courses):

POL 113Intro to Comparative Politics3
POL 115Introduction to Global Politcs3
POL 117Intro to Political Thought3

Class of 2018:

Sophomore Seminar
POL 201Soph Sem:Law and Social Change 13
or POL 231 Soph Sem: 1989/2011
Upper Division Courses
Select six POL courses numbered 300-49918
Capstone Course
Select one POL Capstone course from among 400-4093

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

Class of 2019 and beyond:

Upper Division Courses
Select seven POL courses numbered 300-499 121
Experiential Learning Course
Select one of the following:3
Washington Internship I
Washington Internship II
International Internship I
International Internship II
Philadelphia-Area Internship
Any Service Learning course (with SLR attribute)
Capstone Course
Select one POL Capstone course from among 400-409 23

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. These two courses may be counted toward the student's total upper division POL courses, and one semester of the thesis can replace the POL Capstone Course requirement.  Specific requirements for the Honors thesis may be found under the Honors Program.