May 23, 2024  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science, B.A.

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Dr. Jonathan W. Keller, Department Head

Phone: (540) 568-6149                     Email:

Location: Miller Hall, Room 2120     Website:


M. Adams, J. Adolino, C. Blake, A. Broscheid, J. Chen, K. Ferraiolo, S. Hammond, D. Jones, J. Keller, H. Lubert, R. Roberts, K. Rutherford, J. Scherpereel, V. Sulfaro, Y. Yang

Associate Professors

R. Alexander, J. Byrne, M. Cohen, J. Hulsey, M. Jamal, B. Kaussler, T. LaPira, H. Lee, F. Mayhew, L. Peaslee, N. Swartz, A. Teye

Assistant Professors

K. Crawford, K. Grant, J. Park, M. Richardson, J. Taylor, K. Wylie Lecturer E. Chisek


The Department of Political Science offers strong major and minor programs sharing a focus on public concerns. We are committed to providing our students with the tools and competence to succeed in their lives, their graduate education and their careers by instilling academic rigor, information access and research skills, dedication to life-long learning and respect for diversity in cultures, nations and institutions of democracy.


To carry out the above mission, the Department of Political Science seeks to:

  • Offer strong major programs: the B.A. in political science, the B.S. in public policy and administration and the B.A. in international affairs (cross disciplinary).
  • Offer strong minor programs: political science, public policy and administration, and political communication (cross disciplinary).
  • Enhance critical thinking, communication and information gathering skills.
  • Foster active learning through research, simulations and internships.

Career Opportunities

  • The political science department offers programs that lead students to careers in the following fields:
  • Administration and management
  • Federal, state and local government
  • International organizations
  • Law
  • Not-for-profit organizations
  • Politics
  • Private sector

To enhance the marketability of its students, the political science department supports career-related internships. For information contact the political science office, Miller Hall, Room 2120, (540)568-6149 or contact the internship coordinator, Dr. Jennifer Taylor (

Co-curricular Activities and Organizations

  • Pi Alpha Alpha: public administration honor society
  • Pi Sigma Alpha: political science honor society
  • Pre-Law Society
  • Sigma Iota Rho: international affairs honor society
  • PASO: JMU Public Affairs Student Organization

Majors in the Department of Political Science

The Department of Political Science offers the B. A. degree with a major in political science, the B.S. degree with a major in public policy and administration and the B.A. degree with a major in international affairs.

Coordinator: Dr. Scott Hammond
Location: Miller Hall, Room 2127
Phone: (540) 568-6313

For a major in political science, the student must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 39 credit hours, including:

  • A 17-hour core introducing students to the conduct of political inquiry in the major areas of the discipline, an awareness of global issues and cultural diversity, and the techniques of original research.
  • A 18-hour depth requirement in which students take at least one course from three of the major areas of political inquiry and acquire additional experience in the application of research techniques.
  • A four-hour capstone experience designed to bring together knowledge gained in different courses into a coherent whole, to foster a capacity for lifelong learning, to connect the major to experiences outside the university and to provide the opportunity to work individually with a faculty member.

Degree and Major Requirements

Degree Requirements

Required Courses

  • General Education  41 Credit Hours 1
  • Foreign Language classes (intermediate level required) 0-14 Credit Hours 2
  • Philosophy course (in addition to General Education  courses) 3 Credit Hours
  • University electives 25-36 Credit Hours
  • Major requirements (listed below) 39 Credit Hours

1 The General Education: The Human Community  program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
2 The foreign language requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of the second semester of the intermediate level of the student’s chosen language (typically 232) or by placing out of that language through the Department of Foreign Language’s placement test.

Major Requirements


In addition to the core requirements, political science majors must elect 18 hours of approved courses as shown, including at least one upper-level course from each of the three major areas of political inquiry. Students are encouraged to complete the core requirements before taking elective courses. A political science major may seek permission to count a completed Senior Honors Project as a three-credit elective within the major. Students must consult with the political science program coordinator prior to conducting an honors project to clarify the specific nature of its potential applicability to the major’s elective options.

Elective Courses

Choose one course from each of the four areas: 12 Credit Hours

Two additional electives at the 300 or 400 level chosen from the list above: 6 Credit Hours

Senior Capstone

Students should fulfill the senior capstone requirement for each major and minor separately. This means that senior experiences completed for one major or minor cannot normally be counted for another. Students who have questions about a particular situation should see the academic unit head or appropriate academic major coordinator for clarification.


2 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major.

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