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Political Science Programs

Political Science Major

To graduate with a political science major, students must complete 33 credit hours, normally 11 courses, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in the department.

All majors must complete one introductory course, PSC 101: Politics, typically during their freshman year.

Majors must also complete one methods course, PSC 302: Research Methods in Political Science, typically during their junior year.

Additionally, majors must take one course in each of the four major subfields:

  • American politics,
  • comparative government and politics,
  • political theory,
  • and international relations.

See the major fields table for information on these courses. Note that these courses are not all offered every semester or even every year. Students should always check at preregistration to see what is being offered in future semesters. Students also should note that there are many political science courses that do not fulfill any of these four fields.

Students must also complete four PSC electives, which can be any four PSC courses of their choosing. HPM 408 and SOC 342 may also count as PSC electives towards completion of the degree.

Finally, all majors take a Research Seminar in Political Science (PSC 488 or 489), typically during their senior year.

Major Fields

Political Science Minor

Requirements: To graduate with a political science minor, students must complete 6 courses (18 credit hours), including PSC 101 and five more political science courses of their choosing, of which, two must be at the 300 or 400 level.

Public Administration Program

The Public Administration Program is a special certificate program with the purpose of assisting students contemplating a career in government service. The required courses, from a variety of disciplines, introduce skills and knowledge to prepare students for graduate degree programs in public sector fields, such as the Masters in Public Administration (MPA) or the Masters in Public Policy (MPP).

Washington Semester Program

The Washington Semester Program is a distinct division of American University with its own separate campus, faculty, and curriculum. There are seven programs offered by the Washington Semester program from which to choose: American Politics; Global Economics and Business; Foreign Policy; Sustainable Development; International Law and Organizations; Journalism & New Media; Justice and Law.