Alternate content for script Text Only VersionSkip to Main Content

Political Science Degree Requirements

Major Requirements for a BA in Political Science

To earn a degree in Political Science, you need to complete 120 credits.

General Education Requirements (57-58 credits)

 In addition to meeting the course requirements for the Biology major and concentration major, all students must also fulfill the General Education requirements for the Undergraduate College. Student may apply 9 credits from the major toward these requirements. 

Required Courses (39 Credits)

This course introduces students to the systematic study of politics and crucial concepts in the discipline, including government, democracy, power, justice, and collective action.  Course materials consist of philosophical and theoretical texts, case studies, political analyses, and documentaries.  Upon completion, students will better understand the practice of politics on local, national, and international levels.  Prerequisite:  None.  Open to First Year students only. Offered fall semester. (3 credits)

Analysis of how the American Government works and why it works the way it does. We will consider what problems we think our government should solve and how it should solve those problems. We will examine the principal institutions of American Government: The Presidency, Congress, the Court system, the media, political parties, interest groups and elections. Each student will pick a current issue of special interest and follow it for the semester. Prerequisites: None. (3 credits)

This course introduces students to the planning and conduct of research in political science.  The class, under the direction of the instructor, will devise and execute a small research project.  By the end of the term, successful students will have learned the logic of social scientific inquiry, be familiar with political science methodology, and have completed a professional and publishable research project. (3 credits)

The senior seminar is the culminating point of the political science major.  Students partake in three critically important tasks: 1) participate in a weekly discussion of a mutually agreed course theme and lead at least one weekly class meeting.  2) Write a term paper related to the mutually agreed seminar theme.  3) Explore career options for political science majors. (3 credits)

Supervised experience in a legal or governmental agency or organization concerned with political issues. Students may intern in the Rosemont-American University collaborative or a number of other internship possibilities in Washington and other locations across the country. Available during the school year or during the summer. Credit depends on particular internship and school year or summer options. Open to junior and senior Political Science majors. (1-6 credits)

One course from below in American Politics (3 credits):

In 2017, women hold 104 of the 535 seats in the 115th US Congress.  Why don’t more women run? Why don’t more women win?   Does it matter?  Topics will include the fight to get the vote, the gender gap in voting and what it means; the leadership styles of women. Students are expected to engage in off-campus activities that connect them to women who work in the political sphere, broadly defined. (3 credits)

Should local governments be able to take one’s property, using eminent domain and turn it over to a private developer? Can the federal government pass laws to punish violence against women? Can states legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes? Using legal opinions and political science analysis, we will answer these and other questions about the fundamental principles of the American political structure, including the relationship amongst the three branches of government. Students will choose cases and topics to research and make presentations to the class. Prerequisite: One social science course or POI. (3 credits)

How have Supreme Court decisions concerning freedoms of speech, press and religion; the rights of the accused; civil rights for women and minority groups, and the right of privacy changed our lives and the political system? We will use legal opinions and political science analysis to answer this question.   Students will research cases and topics and make presentations to the class.  Prerequisite: One social science course or POI. (3 credits)

A consideration of the process of policy making from the formulation of a policy through its success or failure in becoming part of the public agenda and official policy. Students will learn to analyze and write case studies on pressing contemporary political and social issues, e.g. cloning, third world indebtedness, poverty, health care, crime, and education. (3 credits)

Love Philadelphia? Hate it? Want it to be better? Most people in the U.S. now live in metropolitan areas which include cities and their suburban rings. This course analyzes issues raised by suburbanization, the urbanization of poverty, housing, welfare, and schools with a focus on the Philadelphia metro area. Students research a recent conflict in their own communities, interview the principal agents involved, make a presentation to the class, and write a paper based on their research. (3 credits)

“The buck stops here!” read the sign that sat on the desk of President Harry S. Truman. This course studies the evolution of the fundamental powers of the Presidency, the tension among the President, Congress, the Courts, interest groups, and the dynamics of presidential decisions. (3 credits)

“Being a politician is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, but dumb enough to think it matters.” Eugene McCarthy

This course is about understanding the election game. Why do people vote, run for office, and work in politics? What are the functions of political parties, of polling, the media, and interest groups? How has technology changed politics? How do local elections differ from national elections? And most importantly, why does it matter? (3 credits)


One course from below in International or Comparative Politics (3 credits):

This course introduces students to the study of foreign governments, foreign political behavior, foreign political economy, and foreign political culture across the globe.  It focuses on the objective comparison of how other societies organize their governments, how their people vote, how they solve common problems, and how their cultures influence their political behavior.  The course surveys major democracies in the Western world as well as prominent non-Western countries. (3 credits)

This course introduces students to the concepts, themes, and classic cases in international relations, the highest level of politics.  It focuses on the role that states, international organizations, and non-state actors (e.g. Microsoft, al-Qaeda) play in the world arena and the intervening force of globalization. (3 credits)

This course examines the role of ethics in International Relations. International politics is ripe with ethical and normative issues, including when is the use of force justified? Should human rights be important for state behavior? Who should be responsible for environmental protection? This course will ask students to address these and other important questions, as well as think about the consequences and responsibilities that follow for us, our political leaders, and the world. (3 credits)

This course introduces students to international organizations. We study the importance and effectiveness of international organizations in such areas as peace and security, economic globalization, protection of the environment, and human rights. (3 credits)

This course examines the security-seeking behavior of governments and studies the impact it has on international relations as a whole.  Specific topics include terrorism, civil-military relations, peacekeeping, weapons of mass destruction, arms races, interstate war, civil war, ethnic violence, and defense policymaking.  Prerequisites: None. (3 credits)

This course focuses on the past, present, and future role of the United Nations in world politics. Special attention is given to the requirements of participating in Model UN deliberations. Required for participation in Model UN conferences. Prerequisite: Student must have taken one political science course. (3 credits)

This course introduces students to the way that Americans make foreign policy and pays close attention to the uniqueness of the American method in comparison with other countries.  Along the way, students will study contemporary American foreign policy issues related to trade, national security, and transnational problems like the HIV/AIDS epidemic or climate change. Prerequisite: One social science course or POI. (3 credits)


Plus four elective courses. (12 credits).

Required Supporting Courses (complete any two, 6 credits)

An introduction to the economic theories which explain national economic conditions in the United States.  Topics include unemployment, inflation, economic fluctuations, productivity, and economic growth in the context of a global economy.  Business students should take this course (ECO 0105) as their Macroeconomics course.  ECO 105 does not require a problem set section. Offered fall semester. (3 credits)

An introduction to the economic theories which explain the workings of the marketplace in a capitalist system. Topics include the behavior of consumers, businesses, the public sector, labor market, discrimination, poverty, and pollution. Course emphasizes techniques of analysis that will continue to be useful in comprehending a changing economic world. No co-requisite. Business students should register for this section of Microeconomics. Offered spring semester. (3 credits)

Recommended Supporting Courses

Topics include properties of real numbers; linear, quadratic and higher degree polynomials; logarithmic and exponential functions.  There is an emphasis on the graphs of these functions.  Offered fall and spring semesters.    This course partially fulfills the Critical Thinking requirement in the Undergraduate College’s General Education program. Prerequisite:  MAT-0112 or placement. (3 credits)

MAT-0120, together with MAT-0121, Calculus II, provides a two-course sequence in the differential and integral calculus of functions of one independent variable. Topics include the basic analytic geometry of graphs of functions, and their limits, integrals and derivatives, including the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Also, some applications of the integral are discussed. Applications to the physical sciences is a focus of this course, as this sequence of courses is designed to meet the needs of students in all disciplines. Prerequisite: MAT-0115 and MAT-0116 or their equivalents. Offered fall semesters. This course fulfills the Critical Thinking/Problem Solving requirement in the Undergraduate College’s General Education program. (3 credits)

An introduction to the basic concepts, principles, and methods of argument analysis and evaluation, including deductive vs. inductive reasoning, validity, soundness, truth tables, deductive proof, and probability and statistical reasoning. May also include Aristotelian logic, informal fallacies, and causal reasoning and scientific method. Helpful for students preparing for GREs or LSATs.  Offered every year. (3 credits)

An introductory course designed to make students aware of the diversity of the field of Psychology and the ways in which human behavior can be studied.  Goals, methods, and applications of the science of psychology in learning, language, thinking, perception, and the emotions are investigated.  Prerequisite for all psychology courses. Offered fall and spring semesters. (3 credits)

A study of the interaction in the major social institutions: the family, military, economy, religion, education, government / legal, leisure, mass media, peer group, community, and social stratification. How everyday life is influenced by culture, status, and role constructs. Sociology as an applied / problem solving discipline is emphasized. Offered fall semester. (3 credits)

Elective Credits

The remaining credit hours are electives and can consist of Political Science courses, but should not be limited to that particular discipline.