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 24-unit common core of courses studies the relationship between values, ideology, and politics (POLS 201); fundamental issues in American politics (POLS 202); the logic of research in political science (POLS 302); comparative approaches and politics (POLS 303); analysis of international politics (POLS 304); and a senior research seminar POLS 498).

Beyond this common core, as part of the additional 16 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: political theory, international relations, comparative government, and American government and politics.

Courses fulfilling major requirements (except internships) must be taken for a letter grade.

The department 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.

With a 40-unit major, B.A. Degree Requirements look like this:

B.A. Degree Requirements
Degree Requirements Units
General Education (50, 8 units in major) 42
Major Requirements 40*
General Electives 38
Total units needed for graduation 120

* Major requirement units (except internships) must be taken for a letter grade

Major Requirements

Passage of all major core requirements requires a grade of ‘C’ or better. POLS 302 is a prerequisite for POLS 498.

Major Core Requirements
Course Units
POLS 201 Ideas and Institutions 4
POLS 202* Issues in Modern American Politics or POLS 200 (3 units) 4
POLS 302 Social Science Research Methods 4
POLS 303 Comparative Political Analysis 4
POLS 304 Theory and Analysis of International Relations 4
POLS 498 Senior Seminar 4

*POLS 202 is strongly recommended for POLS majors. If you take 200 instead of 202, you will be short 1 unit for the B.A. degree. Consult an advisor for options to make up the unit.


Major Electives

One course must be taken from each of the following areas: Political Theory, International Relations, Comparative Politics, and American Government and Politics.


Major Electives - Political Theory Courses
Political Theory courses Units
POLS 310 Classical Political Thought 2-4 (4 Units Required)
POLS 311 Development of Modern Political Thought: Machiavelli to Obama 4
POLS 312 American Political Thought 4
POLS 313 Critical Theory: Race and Gender 4
POLS 314 Environmental Political Theory 4
POLS 315 Modern Political Ideologies 3-4 (4 Units Required)
POLS 415 Explorations in Political Theory 3-4 (4 Units Required)


Major Electives - International Relations Courses
International Relations courses Units
POLS 345 Model United Nations (MUN)   4
POLS 444 United States Foreign Policy 4
POLS 445 International Organizations 4
POLS 446 International Relations of the Middle East, Israel, the Palestinians and the United States 4
POLS 447 Nonviolent Strategies in International Relations 4
POLS 448 Political Violence, Terrorism, and Law   4
POLS 449 Gender and Geopolitics in Science Fiction and Fantasy 4
POLS 486 Selected Issues: International Politics 3-4 (4 Units Required)


Major Electives - Comparative Politics Courses
Comparative Politics courses Units
POLS 350 European Parliamentary Democracies 4
POLS 351 Politics of Russia 4
POLS 352 Politics of Eastern Europe 4
POLS 354 Comparative Political Parties 4
POLS 450 Politics of Asia 4
POLS 452 Politics of the Developing World 4
POLS 453 Politics of Latin America 4
POLS 458 Comparative Social Policy 4
POLS 487 Selected Topics in Comparative Politics 4


Major Electives - American Government and Politics Courses
American Governement and Politics courses Units
POLS 320 State, City, and County Government 4
POLS 330 Race, Ethnicity, and Politics 4
POLS 391 Gender and Politics 4
POLS 420 American Political Development 4
POLS 421 Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations 3-4 (4 Units Required)
POLS 423 Introduction to Constitutional Law 4
POLS 424 The Bill of Rights, Civil Liberties, and the Constitution 4
POLS 425 The American Party System 4
POLS 426 The Legislative Process 4
POLS 427 The American Presidency 4
POLS 428 Seminar in California Politics and Government 4
POLS 429 Interest Groups 4
POLS 430 Introduction to Public Administration 4
POLS 431 Politics and the Media 4
POLS 466 Political Psychology 4
POLS 475 Urban Politics and Policy 4
POLS 481 Politics of Regulation and Land Use 3-4 (4 Units Required)
POLS 483 Politics of Wealth and Poverty 4
POLS 484 Elections and Voter Behavior 4
POLS 485 Political Power and Social Isolation 4
POLS 488 Special Topics in American Government and Politics 4


Total units in the major core: 40 units