Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Political Science Major

The department offers a liberal arts-oriented curriculum that leads to either a major or minor in political science at the bachelor's level. The goal is to provide a general rather than a highly specialized program. Each student who seeks a BA degree is expected to complete four areas of the Charger Foundations (general education requirements) as well as a Pre-Professional area of required courses for the College of Liberal Arts.

The major in Political Science requires 33 hours of department courses plus an additional three-hour course in statistics from either the Sociology department or the Psychology department. In addition to the statistics course, there are six required courses within the major:

PSC 101 - American Government

PSC 102 - Comparative Politics and Foreign Governments

PSC 103 - State and Local Government

PSC 260 - Introduction to International Relations

PSC 330 - Classical Political Philosophy or PSC 332 - Modern Political Philosophy

PSC 484 - Senior Seminar

Introductory overviews.  The required courses provide majors with introductory overviews (PSC 101) to American government, as the basic political structure of American society; to comparative politics (PSC 102), as an opportunity to compare and contrast American government with a selection of others in the world; to state and local governments (PSC 103), as an opportunity to appreciate the politics of federalism within the American governing structure; and to international relations (PSC 260), as an opportunity to appreciate the dynamics of politics on the world stage.

Disciplinary foundation.  The required courses also provide majors with an opportunity to grasp the basics of philosophical development on the nature of politics and their empirical and ethical roots (PSC 330 or PSC 332) as well as a final seminar to engage in a research project that applies the insights from the major itself (PSC 484).  

Electives.  To complete their major, students must select four courses from the following list (transfer students may include one lower-division political science course from another institution in lieu of a 300+ level course):

PSC 302 – The American Congress

PSC 304 – American Presidency

PSC 309 – Pol Parties/Interest Groups

PSC 330 – Classical Political Philosophy

PSC 332 – Modern Political Philosophy

PSC 334 – American Political Thought

PSC 399 – Current Affairs (one hour)

PSC 416 – Alabama and Southern Politics

PSC 418 – Urban Politics

PSC 420 – Federalism/Intergov Relations

PSC 436 – Political Ideologies

PSC 438 – Contemp Political Thought

PSC 440 – Regional Studies

PSC 452 – American Constitutional Law

PSC 454 – Civil Liberties

PSC 462 – Dec-Making in For/Sec Pol

PSC 464 – American Foreign Policy

PSC 466 – National Sec Strategy/Policy

PSC 470 – Issues in Security Policy

PSC 480 – Adv Topics in Pol Science

PSC 495 – Internship in Government

PSC 498 – Directed Readings/Research

 

Most electives are offered on a rotating basis every two-three years. In addition, three courses are cross-listed with the Philosophy department: PSC 330 - Classical Political Philosophy, PSC 332 - Modern Political Philosophy, and PSC 438 - Contemporary Political Thought. (Both departments permit students to double-count up to nine hours of these courses, which permits students to double-major in both, with little additional coursework to enhance their academic objectives.)

Students are advised to officially declare a major and to obtain a Program of Study by the beginning of the sophomore year, if not before. Students may initiate a Program of Study either by meeting with the departmental chair (Morton Hall, Room 250) or the College of Liberal Arts Academic Advisor (Morton Hall, Room 216). Transfer students are advised to consult with the chair of the department before scheduling courses. 

Political Science Minor

The minor in Political Science requires 21 hours of department courses of which there are three required courses:

PSC 101 - American Government

PSC 102 - Comparative Politics and Foreign Governments

PSC 484 - Senior Seminar

To complete their minor, students must select four courses from the Political Science electives, three of which must be at the 300+ level course. (In addition, only one of the following courses may double-count with Philosophy: PSC 330, PSC 332, or PSC 438.)

Internship Programs

The Department of Political Science has an internship option for students in political science and public affairs. Internships bridge the gap between learning experience and entry into professional life. Normally, students must have junior status or above to be considered for this option.