Political Science, the study of how various political systems work, is a Bachelor of Arts degree program. Courses ranging from urban politics and government to international politics are offered. The department also provides many outlets through which students can gain practical knowledge of the field, including visits to Virginia’s state capital and to Washington, D.C., internships in governmental offices, and involvement in major political events, such as the United Nations’ student conference. Political Science is a good background for a career in law, urban planning, teaching, government, and private enterprise; it also lends itself to further study in graduate school.
Students majoring in Political Science who complete all requirements earn the degree of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science.
36 Total Credit Hours Required
Required Courses (9 credits)
[Prospective majors should enroll in 101 & 102 during their first year]
- 101 Introduction to Political Science (3)
- 102 Introduction to International Relations (3)
- 201 American Government (3)
Required Subfield Courses (12 credits)
One course from each of the four sub-fields of political science (see below).
Elective Courses (15 credits)
To be chosen from departmental offerings, excluding required courses). Up to 3 credits of PSCI 499 (Internship) can count for major elective credit if student receives approval from the department chair.
Writing Intensive Requirement
At least one Writing Intensive course (officially designated as WI) must be among the 36 credits in the major program.
Honors Thesis Registration Requirements
Students interested in writing an honors thesis must fill out an independent study form with the registrar, and specify that the project is for honors (PSCI 491H). The form requires the signature of the professor chairing the thesis and the department chair. To be eligible to take 491H, students must have at least a 3.4 GPA in the major, and a 3.4 GPA overall.
Political Science Sub-fields
1. American Government
202 American Public Policy
291 Research and Writing in Political Science
304 Contemporary American Politics
311 Congress & Political Process
312 American Presidency
313 US Federal Judiciary
332 Metropolitan Problems
334 Political Parties and Elections
363 Mass Media and Politics
370 Women and Politics
422 American Civil Liberties
2. Comparative Government
301 Comparative Government of Western Europe
302 Politics of Soviet Successor States
323 Latin American Politics
350 Politics of Developing Countries
354 Politics of South Asia
355 Politics of Middle East and North Africa
360 Theory and Practice of Revolution
362 Politics of Central and Eastern Europe
366 Government and Politics of China
368 Government and Politics of Japan
372 Gender and Development
444 Latin American Political Movements and Organizations
3. International Relations
315 Alliance Politics
321 Theories of International Relations
324 US-Latin American Relations
351 International Political Economy
356 American Foreign Policy
357 Russian Foreign Policy
361 Problems of Communism
367 East Asia in World Affairs
387 Security and Conflict Studies
4. Political Theory
441 History of Political Thought I
442 History of Political Thought II
Special topics courses (PSCI 471)- The department chair will notify majors when one of these courses is available and may allow these courses to fulfill particular sub-field requirements as appropriate.
Online courses- The department chair may designate online courses as appropriate for general and sub-field credit as appropriate.
Study-abroad courses- The department chair may designate political science courses taken during study-abroad programs to fulfill particular sub-field requirements as appropriate.
Special note about credits for online and study-abroad cases- The Department requires students to consult with the department chair about credit for online or study abroad courses before they take these courses. Students may bring the syllabi of these courses to the department chair before taking the courses to determine if they are appropriate for political science credit.
Advanced Placement (AP) Exams- only count as general elective credits, not as PSCI electives or as one of the four sub-field requirements.