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Political Science

The Political Science Major is designed to cultivate your ability to think critically about political systems, processes, and institutions and the related subjects of political power, citizenship, and governance. As a political scientist, you will work to understand and influence the outcomes of political processes, apply political theory to governance, and engage in the public arena. Recent figures show that more than one out of every five jobs in the United States is with some level of government, whether local, county, state, or national. This is called the “public” sector; many employees are known as “civil servants.” For many civil servants, pay is competitive with, benefits can be better than, and job security is stronger than that of any position they would find in the private sector. In fact, during the recent recession, government employment increased while employment in the private sector sunk to historic lows. The government employs everything from deep sea geologists to doctors, economists to ditch walkers, pilots to day care workers, international aid workers to Foreign Service Officers—and don’t forget all of our school teachers (elementary, high, and college), police officers, firefighters, and members of the military. Don’t eliminate the government as a possible future employer, and if you hope to be promoted, don’t forget to look at classes in Public Administration. This program will prepare you for these undertakings by requiring completion of a core program, a concentrated study in one of four subfields, and three electives of your choice.

The core program, a suite of courses that you must complete prior to proceeding to your subfield studies, will provide you with a solid introductory understanding of political science and the tools necessary to comprehend the more complex areas of political science presented in the latter portion of this program. Upon completion of the core program, you must select one of the four following subfields: Political Theory, International Relations, Comparative Politics, or American Politics. You must take five courses from your selected subfield as well as three elective courses from a subfield outside of your concentration. (Note that some of our subfields only have five courses listed; in this case, you will need to take all five of the listed courses. Other subfields have more than five courses listed; in this case, you may select five of your choosing.)

In order to fulfill the requirements for this major, you must complete the core program (7 courses), the five courses that comprise your subfield (5 courses), and 3 electives from a subfield of your choice for a total of 15 courses.

If you would like to complete a Minor in this area of study, please click here.

Core Program

  • POLSC101: Introduction to Politics     
  • POLSC201: Introduction to Western Political Thought     
  • POLSC211: Introduction to International Relations     
  • POLSC221: Introduction to Comparative Politics     
  • POLSC231: American Government

    • POLSC232: American Government     

      POLSC232 belongs to the Saylor Foundation’s CLEP® PREP Program course offerings. If you take this version of POLSC232, you will master the subject of American Government and Politics. This course is also designed to prepare you to take the CLEP® exam in American Government – a freestanding test that any individual can pay to take in order to prove that he or she has mastered a given subject area at the college level.  The CLEP® exams, designed by the College Board, test for the mastery of college-level material that you may have acquired through college-level course instruction, independent study, work experience, or any other program of study you have pursued. You are welcome to take this course or POLSC231 to fulfill this course’s Core Program requirement, as they both essentially cover the same material.  But, if you plan to take the American Government CLEP® course, it is highly suggested that you take POLSC232, as it was designed with strong fidelity to the CLEP® exam model.

    • POLSC231: Introduction to American Politics     

      POLSC231 is a core course requirement within Saylor’s Political Science discipline and serves as an introduction to American government and politics. It will focus on five major themes critical to understanding American government: American political foundations, American political behavior, American governmental institutions, civil rights and civil liberties, and policymaking in America. Upon completion of this course, you will have a strong understanding of the American political system and be well-prepared for the courses you will be required to take should you choose to pursue the Political Science Major. You are welcome to take this course or POLSC232 to fulfill this course’s Core Program requirement.

  • POLSC241: Introduction to Public Administration     
  • POLSC251: Research Methods in Political Science     

Political Theory Subfield

International Relations Subfield

Comparative Politics Subfield

American Politics Subfield