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Department of Government


  • SPA: Government
    Ward, Room 230

    Graduate programs: spagrad@american.edu

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CLEG: Bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies

This interdisciplinary major is designed for students who want a breadth of background necessary to participate effectively in decision making for public affairs and the practical training necessary to deal with social problems as public issues.


Admission to the Program

New freshmen and transfer students are admitted through the university’s Admissions Office. Students currently enrolled in the university who wish to transfer into the Department of Government or develop a double major or minor should have a grade point average of 2.50 or higher and the approval of the undergraduate academic advisor.

SPA undergraduate program experience

We offer our students extensive individual attention and a dynamic and rigorous curriculum. We heavily promote our academic side, offering in-depth learning from accomplished faculty, and we also encourage our students to undertake internships and study abroad.

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For additional information regarding American University's undergraduate admissions requirements and application process, please visit american.edu/admissions.

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Degree Requirements

This interdisciplinary major is designed for students who want a breadth of background necessary to participate effectively in decision making for public affairs and the practical training necessary to deal with social problems as public issues.

University Requirements

  • A total of 120 credit hours
  • 6 credit hours of college writing
  • 3 credit hours of college mathematics or the equivalent by examination

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science component
  • No more than two courses maybe taken in the same discipline

Major Requirements

  • 57 credit hours with grades of C or better

Course Requirements

  • COMM-200 Writing for Mass Communication (3)
  • COMM-310 Public Speaking (3)
  • ECON-100 Macroeconomics FA4 (3)
  • ECON-200 Microeconomics FA4 (3)
  • GOVT-105 Individual Freedom vs. Authority FA2 (3)
  • GOVT-110 Politics in the United States FA4 (3–4)
  • GOVT-391 Internship (6)
  • GOVT-489 CLEG Seminar (3)
  • JLC-104 Introduction to Systems of Justice (3)
  • One course from the following:
  • GOVT-220 The American Constitution FA4 (3)
  • GOVT-352 Law and the Political System (3)
  • 24 additional credit hours, including 12 credit hours at the 300 level or above, selected from a list of approved courses in communication (COMM-xxx), legal institutions (JLC-xxx), economics (ECON-xxx), and government (GOVT-xxx). The list of approved courses is available in the Department of Government office.

University Honors Program

All University Honors students must complete at least 12 credit hours of advanced-level (300-level and above) Honors courses including a 3 to 6 credit hour Honors Senior Capstone Project. Students may graduate with University Honors in the major if they complete at least 12 advanced-level Honors courses including the Senior Capstone Project in the department. Each department has three levels of University Honors requirements: Level I Options (100-200-level Honors classes); Level II Options (300-level and above Honors classes); and Level III Options (Honors Senior Capstone). The department Honors coordinator advises students in the University Honors Program regarding departmental options.

Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs. Undergraduate students may complete up to 3 credits for every 9 credits required for the graduate degree that may be applied to the requirements for both degree programs. The department that oversees the graduate program the student enters will determine if the courses the undergraduate student completes will satisfy master’s degree requirements.

Bachelor’s/master’s students must complete at least 18 in-residence credit hours at the graduate level after the bachelor’s degree is earned and maintain continuous, sequential enrollment in the two programs. Students must finish the master’s degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master’s program.

Program Goals

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of key theories, concepts, and issues surrounding the study of political institutions and processes from the four foci of the major: Communications, Law, Economics, and Government.
  2. Demonstrate critical thinking, written and oral communication skills.
  3. Demonstrate competence in analyzing, interpreting and evaluating. within the realm of public policy.
  4. Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the major to the practice of actual politics and policy-making.