The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Exploring or Declaring a Political Science Major

There are no minimum required pre-requisites or cumulative GPA for the Political Science major, and we'll be glad to assist you in declaring or gathering information on our major.

Please drop in during our weekly Peer Advisor Zoom Drop In hours to begin exploring or to declare a Political Science major. You must be logged in to Zoom with your UMass Net ID and password to attend a peer drop in session. When attending a drop in session, you'll enter the Zoom Waiting Room, and be admitted to the advising session when a Peer Advisor is available to assist you. Day and times of weekly drop in sessions for fall 2020, along with the relevant Zoom link are listed below:

If you can't attend any of our Zoom drop in advising times, please use our Advising Questions Google Form to explore or declare the Political Science major. An advisor will follow up with you promptly on your Google Form submission, and schedule an appointment with you as needed.

UMass Entry Fall 2018 or Later

Political Science Major Check List UMass Entry Fall 2018 or Later

The Department of Political Science requires majors to complete a minimum of 44 credits in Political Science, including the Junior Year Writing and Integrative Experience requirements. All courses counted toward the major must be taken for a letter grade, and no more than 5 transfer courses (or a maximum of 20 credits) may count toward the major. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA in the Introductory requirements, within the major, as well as overall at the University in order to graduate.

Introductory Requirement
All Political Science majors must complete at least three introductory Political Science courses, with an average grade of C (2.0) or better in the set of courses, as follows (one in each category).

  1. American Politics (101), Introduction to Constitutional Law (162) or Controversies in Public Policy (181)
  2. Comparative Politics (111) or World Politics (121) 
  3. Introduction to Political Theory (171), American Political Thought (203), Ancient Political Thought (270), Modern Political Thought (271), or Power (273)

Upper-Level Requirement

  • Twenty four credits of Political Science upper-level courses (200-level or above), at least 12 of which must be 300-level or above. The Political Science Junior Year Writing course (377) and the Integrative Experience course may be counted among these credits if Political Science is the student's primary major.
  • Not more than 3 credits can be an independent study course or a graded internship. Honors research, Honors project, and Honors thesis courses (499Y, 499P, 499T) are in addition to the 36 credit requirement for the major and will not count toward the major requirements. POLISCI 499C and 499D, will each count toward the upper-level major requirements.

Global Knowledge & Skills Requirement
Students must complete three courses, or 9 credits, for the Global Knowledge & Skills requirement area, choosing one of the following options. Courses in this requirement area must be taken in addition to work completed above. Global Knowledge & Skills list and Certificate list can be found on the department website (see our Resources page).

  1. Option One: Global Course - 3 courses from the Global Knowledge and Skills list; 
  2. Option two: Certificate (select one from departmental list); 
  3. Option Three: Study Abroad (IPO-approved program, at least 9 credits worth);
  4. Option Four: Language (9 credits, in sequence);
  5. Option Five: Individualized (9 credits, with approval from the Undergraduate Program Director).

UMass Entry Prior to Fall 2018

Requirements for those entering the major on or after August 31, 2014

Political Science Major Check List UMass Entry Prior to Fall 2018

The Department of Political Science requires majors to complete a minimum of 36 credits in Political Science, including the Junior Year Writing and Integrative Experience requirements. Students who entered UMass Amherst during this time period must also complete the Global Education Requirement of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences. All courses counted toward the major must be taken for a letter grade, and no fewer than 6 of the 11 required Political Science courses must be taken within the UMass Amherst Department of Political Science. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA within the major as well as overall at the University in order to graduate.

Introductory Requirement
All Political Science majors must complete at least three Political Science courses, with an average grade of C (2.0) or better in the set of courses, as follows (one in each category).

  1. American Politics (101), Introduction to Constitutional Law (162) or Controversies in Public Policy (181)
  2. Comparative Politics (111) or World Politics (121) 
  3. Introduction to Political Theory (171)

Upper-Level Requirement

  • Twenty four credits of Political Science upper-level courses (200-level or above), at least 12 of which must be 300-level or above. The Political Science Junior Year Writing course (377) and the Integrative Experience course may be counted among these credits if Political Science is the student's primary major.
  • Not more than 3 credits can be an independent study course or a graded internship. Honors research, Honors project, and Honors thesis courses (499Y, 499P, 499T) are in addition to the 36 credit requirement for the major and will not count toward the major requirements.  POLISCI 499C and 499D, which are taught by Political Science Department faculty, will each count toward the upper-level major requirements.
     

Requirements for those entering the major between September 1, 2013 and August 30, 2014

The Department of Political Science requires its majors to complete a minimum of 11 courses in Political Science including the Junior Year Writing and Integrative Experience requirements. All courses counted toward the major must be taken for a letter grade, and no fewer than six of the eleven required Political Science courses must be taken within the Department. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA within the major as well as overall at the University in order to graduate.

Introductory Requirement
All Political Science majors must complete at least three 100-level Political Science courses, with an average grade of C (2.0) or better in the set of courses, as follows (one in each category).

  1. American Politics (101), Introduction to Constitutional Law (162) or Controversies in Public Policy (181)
  2. Comparative Politics (111) or World Politics (121) 
  3. Introduction to Political Theory (171)

Upper-Level Requirement
Eight courses at the 200-level or above, at least 4 of which must be at the 300-level or above. The Junior Year Writing course (399J or 377) and the Integrative Experience course may be counted among these eight courses. Not more than one of these courses can be an independent study course or a graded internship. Honors research, Honors Project, and Honor Thesis courses (POLISCI 499Y, POLISCI 499P, POLISCI 499T) are in addition to the 11 course requirement for the major.


Requirements for those entering the major prior to September 1, 2013

The Department of Political Science requires its majors to complete a minimum of 11 three-credit courses in Political Science plus the Junior Year Writing requirement.  No fewer than two of the eleven courses must be taken at the 100-level and no fewer than eight must be taken at the 200-level or above. All courses counted toward the Political Science major must be taken for a letter grade, and no fewer than six of the eleven required political science courses must be taken within the Political Science Department at UMass Amherst.  Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA within the major as well as overall at the University in order to graduate. 
  
Introductory Requirement
All Political Science majors must complete at least two 100-level Political Science courses with grades of C or better, one which must be chosen from among the following: 101 American Politics; 111 Comparative Politics; 121 World Politics; or 171 Introduction to Political Theory.  If a third introductory course is taken to satisfy the major requirements, it must be selected from these above-listed courses.  

Distribution Requirement 
Majors are required to take one Political Science course at the 200-level or above in each of the general fields of American Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Political Theory. None of these requirements may be satisfied by an internship or independent study or by Honors research, thesis or project courses. 
  
Electives 

In addition to the courses taken to satisfy the introductory and distribution requirements, majors must take four (if three 100-level courses are selected) or five (if two 100-level courses are selected) other Political Science courses at the 200-level or above. Not more than one of these courses can be an indepen­dent study course or a graded internship. Honors research, Honors project, and Honors thesis courses (499Y, 499P, 499T), other than POLISCI 499C and POLISCI 499D, are in addition to the 11-course requirement for the major and will not count toward the major requirements. POLISCI 499C and 499D, which are taught by Political Science Department faculty, will each count toward the upper-level major requirements.

Junior Year Writing Requirement