Major in Political Science (BA)


These requirements apply to all students in the Class of 2021 and later. Students in earlier classes may follow the old requirements. See other pages for information on declaring the major, for general advising information, for year-by-year course recommendations, and for a handy checklist of requirements for the major.

Students must take at least 12 courses, achieving a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 in these courses. At least 9 of these 12 courses must be listed as IR or PSC. None of the 12 courses may be taken on an S/F basis.

Tools of Political Analysis (Two Courses)

Courses used to satisfy tools of political analysis cannot also be used to satisfy requirements for the core track, breadth, or electives.

  • PSCI 107: Introduction to Positive Political Theory
  • PSCI 200: Data Analysis I (Open only to students without previous statistics course)
  • PSCI 202W: Argument in Political Science
  • PSCI 205: Data Analysis II (Prerequisite: PSC 200 or other statistics course)
  • PSCI 280: Intermediate Positive Political Theory
  • PSCI 281: Formal Models in Political Science
  • PSCI 288: Game Theory

Core Track (Five Courses from One Track)

Breadth (Two Courses)

Select two track courses that are not in your core track.

Electives (Three Courses)

Courses may be drawn from any offerings in the six tracks or any other courses in PSCI, INTR, ECON, HIST, or PHIL. Courses from fields other than these can be used only with special approval from the director of undergraduate studies.

Upper-Level Writing

Select any two W-designated courses in INTR or PSCI. Included in the 12 courses listed above. No more than one of these courses may be used to satisfy the writing requirement in a second or third major.

Team Learning

Select at least one team learning course. Included in the 12 courses listed above. Options include research seminars, experiential learning, supervised teaching, independent study, directed research, senior honors project, and internships.

Additional Guidelines

Introductory Courses

No more than four introductory courses may be counted toward the major. In most departments, all 100-level courses are considered introductory. The exceptions are courses offered by the Department of History. In history, only the following courses are defined as introductory: HIST 102, HIST 103, HIST 104, HIST 120, HIST 121, HIST 134, HIST 135, HIST 140, HIST 141, HIST 150, HIST 151, HIST 160, HIST 161, HIST 176, HIST 183, and HIST 184. Note that many courses are co-located (or cross-listed); in those cases, the classification of the course as introductory or not will be made according to the parent (P) listing.

Transfer Credit

All transfer courses subject to advisor approval. Transfer courses may not be used to satisfy the following requirements: tools of political analysis, upper-level writing, or team learning. No more than two transfer courses may be used toward the core track. No more than three transfer courses may be used toward the major. Internships count as one course toward the major, even if students receive more than four credits in the internship toward general degree requirements. PSCI/INTR 394A (European Political Internship) is not a transfer course; it is treated like a course taught in residence at the University of Rochester. Credit is not granted for online courses.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate

Students who receive a grade of 4 or 5 on the AP exam in either American or Comparative Government or a grade of 5, 6, or 7 on the Higher Level IB exam in Global Politics will be granted four credits in the major. Students who take more than one exam are not eligible for additional credit. This credit is considered elective, introductory, and transfer.

Overlap Policy

Students are reminded that they are subject to the College's "overlap policy" with respect to double majors and a major and minor. The policy applies to all students in the College. No more than three courses may overlap between any two majors, and no more than two courses may overlap between a minor and either a major or another minor. If a cross-listed course (such as PSCI/ECON 288) is listed under two majors, it counts toward the overlap limit even if it is listed under the Political Science number in one case and a cross-listed number in the other case.