Skip to main content

Major in Political Science (B.A.)


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 advisors and their office hours, 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 (2 courses)

Courses used to satisfy Tools of Political Analysis cannot also be used to satisfy requirements for the Core Track, Breadth, or Electives.

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

Core Track (5 courses from one track)

Breadth (2 courses)

Select 2 track courses that are not in your Core Track.

Electives (3 courses)

Courses may be drawn from any offerings in the 5 tracks or any other courses in PSC, IR, ECO, HIS, or PHL. Courses from fields other than these can be used only with special approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Upper-Level Writing

Select any 2 W-designated courses in IR or PSC. Included in the 12 courses listed above. No more than 1 of these courses may be used to satisfy the writing requirement in a second or third major.

Team Learning

Select at least 1 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 4 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 History Department. In History, only the following courses are defined as introductory: HIS 102, HIS 103, HIS 140, HIS 141, HIS 150, HIS 151, HIS 160, and HIS 161.

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 2 transfer courses may be used toward the Core Track. No more than 3 transfer courses may be used toward the major. Internships count as 1 course toward the major, even if students receive more than 4 credits in the internship toward general degree requirements. PSC/IR 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 4 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 3 courses may overlap between any 2 majors, and no more than 2 courses may overlap between a minor and either a major or another minor. If a cross-listed course (such as PSC/ECO 288) is listed under 2 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.