Political Science Major Requirements

A political science major requires 50 hours of coursework. Thirty of these hours come from political science classes; these are the core requirements. The remaining 20 hours are called supporting coursework. The Political Science Curriculum Guide may also be helpful for understanding the structure of the major.

Core Requirements

Requirement Hours
PS 101 (Introduction to US Government & Politics) 3
Field courses, from PS 100 (Introduction to Political Science), PS 220 (Introduction to Public Policy), PS 230 (Introduction to Political Research), PS 231 (Strategic Models), PS 240 (Introduction to Comparative Politics), PS 270 (Introduction to Political Theory), or PS 280/281 (Introduction to International Relations) 9
Advanced-level PS courses (300- or 400-level) 12
Political science courses at any level 6
Total Hours 30

Students must complete 12 hours of advanced-level political science courses on the Urbana-Champaign campus.  PS 490 (Individual Study) and PS 491 (Government Internship) hours supervised by faculty of this campus, no matter where the independent study or internship is located, are considered “on-campus” for the purposes of this requirement.

Students may count up to 6 hours of PS 300 (Special Topics) courses toward the political science major.

Supporting Coursework

Completing a political science major also requires 20 hours of thematically-related coursework outside political science that support study in the major. At least 12 of these hours must be at the 200-level or higher.

There are three ways to complete your supporting coursework.

Option 1:  Students may complete the requirements for a second major or a minor. If the chosen minor does not require at least 20 hours, students must take additional courses in that department or program to reach 20 hours in order to use it for supporting coursework.

Option 2 Students may complete 20 credit hours of courses from any one or two academic departments outside of political science. 

Option 3 It is possible to complete 20 hours from three or more departments according to a “topical plan of study. Students must write a short memo to their political science advisor that outlines the program they wish to use, lists the courses they would like to take, and explains why these courses fit together. Once the plan is approved, a student may plan to use these courses for supporting coursework.

No matter which option is chosen, the following courses may not be used for supporting coursework: political science courses or courses cross-listed with political science, basic composition courses, language courses below the fourth level that are being used to complete the non-primary language general education requirement, and any courses taken credit/no credit or satisfactory/unsatisfactory.