BA Political Science

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Program Learning Objectives

  1. To increase knowledge of the political science discipline; its principal theoretical frameworks and applications, conceptual vocabulary, and methods of inquiry; its major subfields of study; and its interrelationships with the other social science fields.
  2. To increase understanding of basic facts and concepts about the American political system, including its history, philosophical, constitutional and legal foundations, leading political values and ideas, governing institutions, and policy making processes.
  3. To increase knowledge of diverse political systems around the world, including empirical area-based knowledge; broader theoretical understanding of different political systems, institutions and processes; and the changing domestic and global contexts within which they operate.
  4. To increase knowledge of the history of classical and modern political thought; of the fundamental values and ethical issues contested in politics over time; and of alternative moral and ethical frameworks for interpreting and evaluating contemporary political discourses.
  5. To increase recognition of the major problems, the leading policies, and the legal issues confronting contemporary political systems, particularly in the U.S.
  6. To increase acquisition of citizenship skills, ethical values, and the ability to understand and appreciate human diversity; and to engage in community life as active citizens.
  7. To increase understanding of political science research and analytical skills, including the ability to think critically; to construct logical arguments; to collect, analyze, and interpret evidence and data; and to formulate reasoned conclusions.
  8. To increase development of writing skills through research papers, essay exams, senior projects in political science topics, and collaborative research/writing opportunities with faculty.
  9. To provide opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students to link theory and practice and to apply political science knowledge and skills to actual problem-solving and community service.
  10. To increase awareness of career options available with an undergraduate degree in political science; its utility in the public and private sectors; and its value as entry into a range of graduate programs, teaching positions, and legal education.

Degree Requirements and Curriculum

In addition to the program requirements listed on this page, students must also satisfy requirements outlined in more detail in the Minimum Requirements for Graduation section of this catalog, including:

  • 60 units of upper division courses
  • Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR)
  • 2.0 GPA
  • U.S. Cultural Pluralism (USCP)

Note: No major, support or concentration courses may be selected as credit/no credit.

POLS 112American and California Government (D1) 14
POLS 180Political Inquiry4
POLS 225Introduction to International Relations4
POLS 229Introduction to Comparative Politics4
POLS 230Basic Concepts of Political Thought4
POLS 359Research Design4
POLS 361Quantitative Methodology4
POLS 461
POLS 462
Senior Project I
and Senior Project II
Political Science electives (300-400 level) 220
Concentration courses or individualized course of study28
Support Courses
Select from the following:4
Cultural Anthropology
Human Geography
Western Civilization: Ancient to Renaissance
Western Civilization: Reformation to the Present
World History, 1000 - 1800
World History, 1800 - Present
STAT 217Introduction to Statistical Concepts and Methods (B1) 14
(See GE program requirements below.)64
Free Electives28
Total units180

Required in Major/Support; also satisfies GE.


A total of 4 units of either POLS 386 or POLS 387 may count toward upper division Political Science electives. A total of 4 units of either POLS 386 or 387 may count towards the concentration. A total of 4 units of either POLS 386 or POLS 387 may count toward Free Electives. Any combination of POLS 386 and POLS 387 may be taken for a maximum of 12 units total credit for the degree.

Concentrations or Individualized Course of Study (select one)

Individualized Course of Study

A minimum of 28 units of coursework are selected by the student and approved by the student's academic advisor. 20 of these must be at the 300–400 level and 16 units must carry a POLS prefix.

General Education (GE) Requirements

  • 72 units required, 8 of which are specified in Major and/or Support.
  • See the complete GE course listing.
  • Minimum of 12 units required at the 300 level.
Area ACommunication
A1Expository Writing4
A2Oral Communication4
A3Reasoning, Argumentation and Writing4
Area BScience and Mathematics
B1Mathematics/Statistics (4 units in Support plus 4 units in GE) 14
B2Life Science4
B3Physical Science4
B4One lab taken with either a B2 or B3 course
B5Area B elective (select one course from B1-B5)4
Area CArts and Humanities
C3Fine/Performing Arts4
C4Upper-division elective4
Area D/E Society and the Individual
D1The American Experience (Title 5, Section 40404 requirement) (4 units in Major) 10
D2Political Economy4
D3Comparative Social Institutions4
D4Self Development (CSU Area E)4
D5Upper-division elective (no POLS course)4
Area FTechnology
FUpper-division elective4
Total units64

Required in Support; also satisfies GE