Major and Minor in Political Science

Major in Political Science

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.  For additional information regarding major requirements, see the links below.

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:

General education
Major requirements*
General electives

Total units needed for graduation

50 units
40 units
30 units

120 units

Major Requirements

Sample Four-Year Program for a Political Science B.A.


Minor in Political Science

To earn a political science minor, students must take a total of 20 units of political science coursework. Passage of POLS 200 or 202 and POLS 201 for the Political Science minor requires a grade of C or better.

POLS 200 American Political System (3) or
POLS 202 Issues in Modern American Politics (4)
POLS 201 Ideas and Institutions
Upper-division courses in political science

Total units in the minor

3-4 units
4 units
12-13 units

20 units

Code Requirements

POLS 200 The American Political System or POLS 202 Issues in Modern American Politics will fulfill state code requirements in the U.S. Constitution and California state and local government. Upper-division courses may also be used to satisfy certain of these code requirements upon approval by the department chair.  The requirements can also be met by a combination of AP American Government Credit and Pols 151 (CA State and Local Challenge Exam).  Consult ASSIT (see Useful Links in Advising Menu) to identify courses from the UC, other CSUs or Community Colleges that meet the CSU requirement.