2015-2016 Catalog 
    Jul 20, 2024  
2015-2016 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science, BA

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The BA program offers four major tracks, one general and three representing important sub fields of political science: American Politics/Public Law, Global Politics, and Public Administration. All four tracks are designed to prepare students for professional careers in the public or private sector, or graduate or professional study.

Federal, state and local governments are important employers of political science graduates. In the private sector, including nonprofits, the increasing interaction with government creates a growing demand for graduates with an understanding of political systems, domestically and internationally. Political Science, Law, and Public Administration are common graduate fields of study for our graduates.

Learning Outcomes, Political Science, BA

  • Students will demonstrate basic knowledge and understanding of the content materials relative to their studies in Political Science.  More specifically, students will use course content to: identify, describe, analyze, and evaluate major events, trends, peoples, groups, cultures, ideas, and institutions.
  • Conduct scholarly research in Political Science. More specifically, students will be able to: (1) demonstrate the ability to locate and utilize scholarly materials through library research and archival research, e.g. data sets, scholarly journal articles, academic publications; (2) identify primary sources, theories, opinion polls, policy trends, and determine their perspectives; (3) discover sources that demonstrate valuable historical and current trends.
  • Apply knowledge of political processes and political methodology. In particular, students will be able to: demonstrate the ability to analyze scholarly work, separate fact from opinion, recognize events, issues, or concepts being presented, acknowledge the historical development of issues, evaluate proposed arguments and supporting evidence; (2) associate political developments across different levels of analysis; (3) recognize political patterns and apply this knowledge to logically anticipate political outcomes.
  • Communicate an understanding of political outcomes, processes, and methodology.  More specifically, students will be able to: (1) communicate an understanding of the program’s content both orally and in written work in their own words, (2) construct arguments and analysis of political events and outcomes.

Departmental Honors

The Department of Political Science offers honors for students who have demonstrated high academic achievement. In order to be awarded departmental honors, a student must:

  • Have an overall CU GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Have a 3.5 or higher in political science courses.
  • Submit a major research paper prepared for any upper division political science course to a member of the faculty of the department. The paper will be read by at least two of the department faculty and if the faculty deems the paper of sufficient merit, the student will be awarded honors.

The level of honors is dependent on completion of these requirements and the level of the departmental GPA. Students who meet these requirements and have a political science GPA of between 3.5 and 3.69 will received Distinction, those whose political science GPA is between 3.7 and 3.89 are eligible for High Distinction, and those with a political science GPA equal to 3.9 or above are eligible for Highest Distinction.


The department encourages all students to consider enrolling for an internship during their tenure at the university. Internships provide students hands-on experience in the public sector, giving students a greater appreciation for the complexity of politics and policy making and of the legal system.

The department places students in three kinds of internships:

  1. Pre-law (PSC 9480 ): up to 3 credit hours. Interested students should see Professor Dunn.
  2. Legislative, with U.S. or Colorado legislators (PSC 3480 ).
  3. Public agency internships in governmental or nonprofit agencies (PSC 3980 ): up to 6 credit hours. Interested students should see Professor Null.

BA Degree Tracks and Requirements

All Political Science BA students must complete a minimum of 36 semester hours in the discipline, of which 30 hours must be with a grade of C or better. At least 21 hours must be upper-division. Students should plan to complete all required lower division courses in their chosen track prior to taking upper-division courses.

All students must take an exit exam and complete a portfolio before graduation.

Political Science General Track

American Politics/Public Law Track

Global Politics Track

Public Administration Track

Political Science Course Offerings

Courses at the 1000-level are designed for beginning students and 2000-level courses are taught at the sophomore level. Remaining courses are structured in a more advanced manner. Students without previous courses in political science should consult appropriate instructors before attempting to take courses numbered 3000 and above.

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