Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

Frequently Asked Questions


 

1. How many Political Science courses do I need to take to complete the major?

Please see the current catalog for more information: Political Science, B.A. CatalogOpens in new window

2. What are the upper division related fields courses?


These courses are designed to help you to broaden your understanding of political science or courses that involve methods that are similar to those used in political science. Generally these are courses in the social sciences. You have to take three of them—9 units' worth—and all of them have to be upper-division courses. Click on this linkPDF File to download a list of approved related fields courses. If you take any of these, you won't need an adviser's approval. If you have any other courses in mind, you'll need to talk to an adviser.

3. How many units do I need to graduate?


You'll need 120 total units. Completing the units for your major plus General Education units won't be enough until your total units is 120. That total of 120 units is a university rule..

4. Which courses should I begin with?

Start with Political Science 100 and then maybe Political Science 200; after that it makes sense to take the 300 level breadth courses to get an idea of the various subfields available.

5. Should I get all my GE out of the way before I start taking courses in the major?


It's a good idea to start immediately with Political Science 100 and then ease into the 300-level courses. But General Education is not something to "get out of the way" and the major does not need to wait until your junior year. By taking major courses earlier you may find out sooner if you really want that major.

6. After I take the required 300 level courses and the required methodology course, which course should I take?


We pretty much leave that up to you, depending on your interests, except that you must eventually take two 400- level writing courses and a total of three 400-level courses. 

7. Which courses are writing courses?


All 400 level POSC courses count towards the Upper Division Writing Requirement EXCEPT the following courses: 402, 407, 412, 493, 497, 498, and 499.

8. Are there prerequisites for 400 level courses?


Generally no, but it is helpful to take the 300 level course in that area before taking a specialized 400 level course to provide a good foundation. However, if you see a 400 level course that you just have to take, consider taking it now since it may not be offered again while you are here.

9. Is it possible to substitute a course in a different department for the research methods course?


We do not encourage that, but if you are unable to enroll in one of our methods courses we do permit substituting a methods course from another social science department with prior approval by an adviser. In the past Political Science majors have used such courses as Sociology 302 (Social Research Methods) or Sociology 303 (Statistics for the Social Sciences) to meet this requirement.

10. If I substitute a different course for the methodology course, do I still need to take 14 Political Science courses?


Yes, you do.

11. Can I minor in Public Administration or International Politics or Law, Politics and Society?

 

Yes, if you are after course content, you can get that without a formal minor. But if you want something on your diploma, you must minor.

12. Can I double major in Public Administration and Political Science?

Yes, if you'd like that on your diploma. But you can also get the content without a double major. By double majoring in these two disciplines you essentially have a 72 unit Political Science major.

13. What are the rules for minors and double majors?


12 units must be unique to the minor and not used for the major; and 24 units must be unique to the major (no double counting). GE courses may be used for the minor and for one of the majors (but NOT the primary major).

14. Can I double count a course for both the major and General Education?


Well, yes and no. If you are a Political Science major a Political Science course will not double count towards the major and GE credit. Classes outside of Political Science can qualify for GE credit.

 

But, if you take a non-Political Science course to satisfy the related fields requirement—and remember, this course must be outside of Political Science--then the course can qualify for GE credit. But in this case, don't assume that taking a three-unit course that qualifies for both the Political Science related fields requirement and GE credit somehow turns those three units into six. It doesn't.

 

If you double-major, one of your two majors is designated, by you, as your primary major. You can't use courses from your primary major to complete GE requirements, but you can use courses from your secondary major for GE credit.

15. After I finish the General Education and Major Requierments what do I take then?


Whatever you like. These courses are called free electives and allow you to explore other academic areas of interest to you.

16. Do I need a "C" or better in all the major courses?


No. You must have a C average in the major to graduate.

17. Can I take graduate courses?

Yes, if you have senior standing (90 units completed). Permission from instructor may be required.

18. Can major courses count for General Education?


No, unless you are double majoring. Political Science 100 is not part of the major. I took comparative politics and International Relations at my community college. Do they count for the major? Yes: you can have 9 units of lower division work count towards the major (not including Political Science 100, which is not part of the major). We may accept lower division course in Comparative Politics and International Relations as being equivalent to our 300 level courses; you should consult an adviser on this.

19. I took an International Relations course at my community college and Political Science 350 here. Do they both count towards the major?

No. We treat them as equivalent courses. You should have talked to me earlier.

20.  Do I need to take an internship? How many internship courses can I take?

An internship is not required, but most students find them to be a valuable experience and often in help in finding a job later. You can only take a total of 6 units ininternships. They can be the same internship or different internships.

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Last Published 10/5/23

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