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Bachelor of Arts

The 40-unit political science major allows students to choose from a wide range of courses and subjects within a general framework. 
A 22-unit common core of courses studies foundational political theories and thinkers (POLS 205); the American political system (POLS 200); research design and methods of political science (POLS 302); comparative political approaches and systems (POLS 303); theories and analysis of international relations (POLS 304); and a senior research seminar (POLS 498).

Beyond this common core, as part of the additional 18 units required for the major, each student must complete at least one upper-division course in each of the four major fields of political science. The department recommends that students take a political science-related internship to address any outstanding units after the upper-division electives are completed.

Summary of Degree

Core Requirements

POLS 200: American Political System (3 units)
POLS 205: Introduction to Political Theory (3 units)
POLS 302: Research Methods in Political Science (4 units)
POLS 303: Comparative Political Analysis (4 units)
POLS 304: Theories and Analysis of International Relations (4 units)
POLS 498: Senior Seminar (4 units)

Total units in core: 22

Upper Division Electives

Plus, a minimum of one upper-division elective in each of four areas: Political Theory, International Relations, Comparative Politics, and American Politics.

Total minimum upper-division elective units: 16

For the remaining two+ units, students may enroll in an internship (POLS 439) or choose an additional course from our upper-division offerings. The department recommends POLS 307 and POLS 315 as additional electives.  

Total units for degree: 40

Note: courses fulfilling major requirements (except internships) must be taken for a letter grade. All political science courses offered by the department are listed here. The department also encourages international study for political science students and will arrange for appropriate credits for courses of study at international universities.  And since politics and economics are so closely tied together, the department recommends each student complete a basic course in economics. The department also strongly recommends that students take SSCI 299 Sophomore Year Experience (SYE) for elective or GE Area E credit.

Please speak with your POLS advisor if you have any questions about what courses to enroll in.

Political Science BA Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

We believe that students should be able to master the following outcomes by the time they graduate.

       A. Information Processing and Competency Skills

  1. SSU Political Science graduates will acquire the techniques for skillfully reading and interpreting different types of writing, such as textbooks, scholarly books and journal articles, case law, newspaper articles, government documents (including those that employ statistics), and original philosophical texts.
  2. Graduates will be able to assess information, including demonstrating the ability to distinguish between the central and peripheral aspects of a piece of writing, and between well-substantiated arguments and unsupported assertions.
  3. Graduates will be able to find scholarly Political Science information using books, peer-reviewed journals, and available electronic databases and demonstrate knowledge of and ability to use social science methods of analysis.

    B. Written Communication Skills
  4. Graduates will be able to write knowledgeably, correctly, clearly and logically.

    C.  Listening and Speaking Skills
  5. Graduates will be adept at listening, taking notes, and commenting on material presented in class.
  6. Graduates will be able to participate effectively in classroom dialogue on controversial political subjects, challenging the facts and ideas presented by others and defending their own.
  7. Graduates will be skilled at oral presentations and argument.