Program of Study (CAS Bulletin)

Major
The major requires ten 4-point courses (40 points) in the department, chosen in consultation with a departmental adviser and completed with a grade of C or better. At least two of these must be chosen from the department’s four designated core courses:
  • Political Theory (POL-UA 100)
  • Power and Politics in America (POL-UA 300)
  • Comparative Politics (POL-UA 500)
  • International Politics (POL-UA 700)
At least one course must be taken in three of the department’s five fields:
  • Analytical Politics
  • Political Theory
  • American Government and Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Politics
Only courses with a POL-UA number can be counted toward the politics major.

The following internship and reading and research courses do not count toward the major in politics: Internships in Politics and Government I, II (POL-UA 970, 971) and Readings and Research (POL-UA 990).

The department also administers the Major in International Relations. For a description of this major, see the section on International Relations in this Bulletin.

Honors Program
For admission to and completion of the department’s honors program, students must have a GPA of 3.65 both overall and in the major. The deadline for applying to the honors program is March 1 in the spring of the junior year. To be eligible for application to the honors program, students must have completed, or must be currently enrolled in, Quantitative Methods in Political Science (POL-UA 800). In addition, they must have completed, or must be currently enrolled in, either Introduction to Macroeconomics (ECON-UA 1) or Introduction to Microeconomics (ECON-UA 2).

Once admitted to the honors program, students register for Senior Honors I (POL-UA 950), to be taken in the Fall of their senior year. In this course, honors students prepare a research proposal for their thesis, which they write in the Spring of their senior year while taking Senior Honors II (POL-UA 951). The thesis must be approved by both the instructor teaching Senior Honors II and the second reader of the thesis, including approval of an oral defense. Successful completion of all honors requirements permits students to graduate with honors in politics. Detailed information about the program may be obtained from the department.

Minor
The minor requires five 4-point courses (20 points) in the department, chosen in consultation with politics departmental advisers and completed with a grade of C or better. A minor program may reflect a special emphasis in one of the department’s four fields or subfields. No special emphasis on a particular subfield is required for the minor, however, nor is a choice of subfield reflected on a student’s academic record or transcript. Only courses with a POL-UA number not also counted toward another major or minor can be counted toward the politics minor.

Prelaw
Although law schools do not require any particular major or course of study, political science is an especially useful field for students planning legal study and a career in law. For this reason, it is not surprising that, over the years, more law students have majored in this field than in any other. The Association of American Law Schools has suggested that among the areas of importance in prelegal education are the study of the political organization of societies, the democratic processes of Western societies, the freedom of individuals, and the art of peaceful, orderly adaptation to change. The association also suggests that students develop the power to think both creatively and analytically. We recommend that students interested in a prelaw course of study choose courses in consultation with the College of Arts and Science prelaw adviser in Silver Center, Room 901; 212-998-8160.