Academic Catalog 2021-2022 
    Jul 18, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science, B.A.

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Requirements for the Major:

Of the twelve, no more than two may be internship courses (i.e. PSC 277, PSC 280T).

Eight non-specified courses:

Note: at least three of the four major areas of the discipline must be covered

Within the eight non-specified courses, beginning with the Class of 2021, two must be at the 300-level.

All students must take at least one “R” course.

Note: The presence of the “R” designation next to a course number in the registration materials (i.e., PSC 272R) denotes that the course will have a major research assignment as a central component of the course.

Students must take an additional “R” course, a seminar, or a research methods course:

Research methods:


Both research courses should be taken by the end of the student’s junior year as preparation for the senior project (PSC 498   and PSC 499  ). Students are welcome and encouraged to take more than two research courses; these are simply minimum requirements. Normally, a GPA of 3.0 is required to gain admittance to a seminar.

Two courses in any of the other social sciences (Economics, History, Sociology, and Anthropology) and/or Psychology and Philosophy.

A Foreign Experience Requirement.


The primary option to fulfill the foreign experience requirement will be the completion of a three-course language sequence. If students begin their language sequence beyond the introductory course, only two language courses are required. We recommend that all political science students begin a language track early in their academic career and do not wait until senior year.

The foreign experience requirement can also be completed by going on a full-length term abroad (mini-terms will not fulfill this requirement). We strongly advise students not to count on acceptance into a term abroad program, as they have highly competitive application processes. If students make the decision not to start a language early and are not admitted to a full-length term abroad, they will not be guaranteed the language of their choice if they must fulfill the language requirement in their senior year. If accepted into the Term in Washington, D.C. program, foreign students (on an F-1 or J-1 visa) can count that term, assuming all three courses are passed, as their foreign experience requirement.

Alternatively, a student may petition the department chair with a proposal that includes a Union mini-term abroad or other organized foreign experience of at least three weeks’ length, plus two associated Union courses. These three components must demonstrate regional or thematic coherence. Normally, only one component can be in process or complete at the time of the proposal’s submission. Foreign students may submit a proposal that features a domestic mini-term plus two associated courses. For more information on this option, please refer to the guidelines and proposal form, which are posted on the FAQ section of the Political Science Department’s website. The department chair makes the final determination regarding proposal approval.

Requirements for Honors in Political Science:

To receive departmental honors the student must fulfill the following requirements: (1) a minimum index of 3.50 in political science; (2) completion of a political science seminar with a grade of “A minus” or better; (3) a grade of “A minus” or higher on the senior project, and (4) delivery of an oral presentation of the senior project research at the Steinmetz Symposium unless exceptional circumstances warrant an alternative forum. Students who do not attain an A minus or better grade in the seminar may still be eligible for honors if their departmental grade point average is 3.70 or higher. In addition the student must satisfy College requirements for departmental honors, which are described in the Academic Policies section of this catalog. Note: Students must take a seminar to qualify for honors.

Course Selection Guidelines

Placement: Students who received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement exam for U.S. Government and Politics may earn credit for PSC 111  . Students who earned a 4 or 5 on the Comparative Government and Politics Advanced Placement exam may earn one unspecified political science course credit. Credits earned from Advanced Placement exams can count toward the Political Science major or minor.

Course Numbering: These guidelines are offered so that students may make informed choices in the selection of courses appropriate to their level of education. 200-level political science courses are oriented towards a wide student audience from across the College whereas 300-level courses are focused more on advanced political science issues and therefore are more appropriate for upper-class political science majors as well as interested juniors and seniors from other majors. For subfield-specific descriptions of 200 and 300-level courses, please go to Course Listings and select the Prefix PSC.

It is important for students to know that 200-level courses are not “easier” than 300-level courses in terms of reading load, course assignments, or the amount of work and effort expected of students. That said, as a general rule, 300-level courses will be more theoretically and/or conceptually dense. Non-majors are welcome, but should understand that such courses typically will demand that students embrace key theories, concepts, frameworks, and/or methods in the discipline.

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