May 20, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Political Science, B.A.

Program Description

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 administration  and the B.A. degree with a major in international affairs .

Coordinator: 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.
  • An 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
Credit Hours
Foreign Language classes (intermediate level required) 2
Philosophy course (in addition to General Education  courses)
University electives
Major requirements (listed below)




1 The General Education  program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. Some requirements may be fulfilled by courses within the major.

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.


1 Completion of the General Education: The Natural World  and either POSC 201 POSC 225 POSC 230  or POSC 240  are prerequisites for POSC 295 . INTA 295  may substitute for POSC 295  with approval by the POSC coordinator.


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 four 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 chosen from the 300 or 400 level: 6 Credit Hours

Major Requirements Total: 38-39 Credit Hours

Senior Capstone: 3-4 Credit Hours

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 unit coordinator for clarification.


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

Recommended Schedule for Majors

Program Total: 120 Credit Hours