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Major

Undergraduate Tracks

The mission of the undergraduate program in Political Science is to provide students with a solid grasp of the American political system and other political systems within the context of global forces, international conflicts, social movements, ideological systems and diversity.

About the Major

Students who major in Political Science will learn how political decisions are made and will develop analytic skills useful in careers in government, business, professional schools, and not-for-profit organizations.

To complete a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, students focus on two of five tracks: Data Science; Elections, Representation, and Governance; International Relations; Justice and Law; or Political Economy and Development. Students supplement these tracks with an introductory course in political science, a methods course, and a variety of courses offered both in the department and throughout the university.  

The Department of Political Science offers both a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors (B.A.H). After enrolling in the B.A., students may apply to the Political Science Honors program.

Graph of PoliSci Tracks after taking PoliSci1

B.A. in Political Science

Declaring the Major

Students are encouraged to declare the major by the end of the sophomore year.

  1. Complete a declaration form.
  2. Choose a major advisor from the Political Science faculty, and meet with them to talk about the major. Ask them to sign your declaration form.
  3. Make an appointment to meet with Brenna Curtis, the Undergraduate Program Administrator, and bring your signed declaration form to the meeting.
  4. Once your form is approved, declare in Axess.

Major Requirements

Students majoring in Political Science must complete a minimum of 70 units.

Additional Requirements and Policies

  • Take at least one 5-unit, 200-level or 300-level undergraduate seminar in Political Science. This course may count toward the units taken to satisfy the Primary Track, Secondary Track, or Additional Coursework requirements.
  • Take least one Political Science Writing in the Major (WIM) course. This course may count toward the units taken to satisfy the Primary Track, Secondary Track, or Additional Coursework requirements. Select one of the following:
    • POLISCI 103 Justice
    • POLISCI 110C America and the World Economy
    • POLISCI 110D War and Peace in American Foreign Policy
    • POLISCI 120C American Political Institutions in Uncertain Times
    • POLISCI 121 Political Power in American Cities
    • POLISCI 212C Civil War and International Politics: Syria in Context
    • POLISCI 236S Theories and Practices of Civil Society, Philanthropy, and the Nonprofit Sector
    • POLISCI 299A Research Design
      Note: POLISCI 299A only fulfills the WIM requirement for students who are writing an honors thesis in Political Science.
       
  • No more than two 3-unit Stanford Introductory Seminar courses can be applied toward the 70 unit major requirement.
  • All courses applied toward the major must be completed for a letter grade of 'C' or higher.

Counting non-Political Science Courses Toward the Major

  • Students may count up to 25 units of coursework from outside the Political Science Department toward the Political Science major. Pre-approved non-Political Science courses are listed on the Pre-Approved Courses page and can be applied directly to the major. Courses from outside of the department that have not been pre-approved can be petitioned toward the major using a petition form. Course petitions are reviewed and, if appropriate, approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Petitions must be submitted to the undergraduate administrator within one quarter of course completion or within one quarter of declaring the major. Pre-approved and petitioned courses may be applied to the major in any combination of the following ways:
    • Up to one pre-approved or petitioned course may count toward the primary track.
    • Up to one pre-approved or petitioned course may count toward the secondary track.
    • One pre-approved course may count toward the methods course requirement. STATS 60, ECON 102A, and CS 106A are courses from outside the Political Science Department and count toward the 25-unit limit. POLISCI 150A and POLISCI 155 do not count toward the 25-unit limit.
    • Pre-approved and petitioned courses may count toward the additional coursework requirement.
  • BOSP and SIW courses are non-Political Science courses and count toward the 25-unit limit listed above. Some have been pre-approved while others require a petition.
  • Directed readings and Oxford tutorials require a petition and may only be applied toward the additional coursework requirement. No more than 10 combined units of directed reading and Oxford tutorial units may count toward the required 70 units for the Political Science major.

Double Counting Courses

  • Students pursuing a double major may not double count any courses in the Political Science major aside from POLISCI 1 The Science of Politics and the methods course.
  • Students pursuing a primary/secondary major may double count up to 30 units in the Political Science major.
  • Students completing a minor in another department may not double count any courses in the Political Science major aside from POLISCI 1 The Science of Politics and the methods course.

Course Number System

  • 1-99      Introductory Courses
  • 100-199   Intermediate Undergraduate Lecture Courses
  • 200-299   Advanced Undergraduate Seminar Courses
  • ​300-399   Advanced Undergraduate / Graduate Courses
  • 400-499   Graduate Courses

Questions?

For questions regarding the B.A. program, Research Honors Program or finding an advisor, make an appointment with the undergraduate program administrator, Brenna Curtis.