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Department of Government

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Bachelors in Political Science

Bachelor's
in Political Science

Join one of the nation's most politically active campuses.

BA in Political Science

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

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

  • 58 credit hours with grades of C or better

Course Requirements

Foundation (12 credit hours)

  • GOVT-105 Individual Freedom vs. Authority 2:1 (3)
  • GOVT-110 Politics in the United States 4:1 (3-4)
  • GOVT-130 Comparative Politics 3:1 (3)
  • One of the following international affairs courses:

SIS-105 World Politics 3:1 (3)

SIS-110 Beyond Sovereignty 3:1 (3)

SIS-381 Foreign Policies of the Great Powers (3)

SIS-382 The Analysis of United States Foreign Policy (3)

Research Methods (7 credit hours)

  • STAT-202 Basic Statistics (4)
  • One of the following:

ECON-322 Introduction to Econometrics (3)

GOVT-310 Introduction to Political Research (3)

SIS-206 Introduction to International Relations Research (3)

SOCY-320 Introduction to Social Research (3)

Major Related Social Science (12 credit hours)

  • 12 credit hours above the introductory level from at least two of the following disciplines: economics, history, international studies, sociology, and specified courses in American studies, anthropology, communication, justice, philosophy, psychology, and women's and gender studies.

Concentration (27 credit hours)

  • 27 credit hours in the Department of Government with 21 credit hours at the 200 or 300 level and 6 credit hours at the 400 or 500 level

or

27 credit hours in the Department of Government with 6 credit hours at the 400 or 500 level. Students take at least one course from each of five of the following six concentrations, the remaining 12 credit hours must be taken in one concentration; courses may not be double counted.

Additional courses may be used with prior approval of the department. Up to 9 credit hours may be taken from the following: internship or cooperative education, independent study, independent reading, honors thesis, international service (SIS) courses, Washington Semester, and American University study abroad programs, with a maximum of 6 credit hours from any one area. Up to three 1 credit hour courses may be used toward the completion of a concentration.

American Government

GOVT-210 Political Power and American Public Policy 4:2 (3)

GOVT-215 Civil Rights and Liberties 4:2 (3)

GOVT-240 Metropolitan Politics (3)

GOVT-315 Elections and Voting Behavior (3)

GOVT-320 The Presidency (3)

GOVT-321 Congress and Legislative Behavior (3)

GOVT-322 American Political Parties (3)

GOVT-323 Interest Group Politics (3)

GOVT-325 Minority Politics in the United States (3)

GOVT-352 Law and the Political System (3)

GOVT-423 Advanced Studies in Public Policy (3):

Politics of Civil Rights

GOVT-455 Equal Protection (3)

GOVT-461 Politics in the Television Age (3)

GOVT-482 Women and Politics (3)

GOVT-483 Women, Politics, and Public Policy (3

GOVT-484 Women and Political Leadership (3)

GOVT-520 Advanced Studies in Campaign Management (1–4)

GOVT-523 The Art and Craft of Lobbying (1–4)

GOVT-526 U.S. Intelligence Community (3)

GOVT-540 Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Lobbying (3)

GOVT-541 The Politics of Mass Communication (3)

PUAD-260 Administrative Politics (3)

Comparative Politics

GOVT-231 Third World Politics (3)

GOVT-232 Politics of Postindustrial Societies (3)

GOVT-235 Dynamics of Political Change 3:2 (3)

GOVT-396 Selected Topics :Nonrecurring (approved topics in comparative politics)

GOVT-523 The Art and Craft of Lobbying :

European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute (4)

GOVT-532 Political Institutions and Processes in Selected Regions (3) (topics)

GOVT-534 Grassroots Institutions in Comparative Context (3)

GOVT-550 Politics in Cuba (3)

GOVT-584 Gender and Politics in the Middle East (3)

Gender, Race, and Politics

GOVT-215 Civil Rights and Liberties 4:2 (3)

GOVT-231 Third World Politics (3)

GOVT-240 Metropolitan Politics (3)

GOVT-325 Minority Politics in the United States (3)

GOVT-423 Advanced Studies in Public Policy (3):

Politics of Civil Rights

GOVT-455 Equal Protection (3)

GOVT-482 Women and Politics (3)

GOVT-483 Women, Politics, and Public Policy (3

GOVT-484 Women and Political Leadership (3)

GOVT-485 Topics in Women and Politics (1-4)

GOVT-486 Feminist Political Theory (3)

GOVT-584 Gender and Politics in the Middle East (3)

Law and Politics

GOVT-215 Civil Rights and Liberties 4:2 (3)

GOVT-350 Constitutional Law I: Powers and Federalism (3)

GOVT-352 Law and the Political System (3)

GOVT-396 Selected Topics :Nonrecurring (approved topics in law and politics)

GOVT-423 Advanced Studies in Public Policy (3):

Politics of Civil Rights

GOVT-455 Equal Protection (3)

Political Theory

GOVT-303 Ancient Political Thought (3)

GOVT-305 Modern Political Thought (3)

GOVT-306 American Political Thought (3)

GOVT-309 Contemporary Political Thought (3)

GOVT-396 Selected Topics :Nonrecurring (approved topics in political theory)

GOVT-486 Feminist Political Theory (3)

Policy

GOVT-210 Political Power and American Public Policy 4:2 (3)

GOVT-240 Metropolitan Politics (3)

GOVT-315 Elections and Voting Behavior (3)

GOVT-321 Congress and Legislative Behavior (3)

GOVT-323 Interest Group Politics (3)

GOVT-370 Formation and Implementation of Environmental Policy (3)

GOVT-396 Selected Topics :Nonrecurring (approved topics in policy)

GOVT-423 Advanced Studies in Public Policy (3) (topics)

GOVT-483 Women, Politics, and Public Policy (3

GOVT-523 The Art and Craft of Lobbying:

Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute (4)

European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute (4)

GOVT-540 Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Lobbying (3)

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 BA and MA in Political Science

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.

This program enables qualified students to earn, in a continuous plan of study, both the BA in Political Science and the MA in Political Science.

Requirements

  • Admission to the combined BA/MA program requires junior standing, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.30, a completed application form, a written faculty recommendation, an essay on the student's interests and abilities in political science, and an interview with a Department of Government graduate advisor. Students must apply for admission to the graduate program no later than the last undergraduate semester. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for admission to the MA program.
  • All requirements for the BA in Political Science

Undergraduate students may apply up to 9 credit hours of approved graduate-level course work to satisfy the requirements for both degrees.

All requirements for the MA in Political Science, including a minimum of 18 credit hours completed in residence in graduate status after the undergraduate degree has been awarded. 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 our program, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key theories, concepts, and issues surrounding the study of political institutions and processes.
  2. Demonstrate critical thinking, written and oral communication skills.
  3. Demonstrate competence in analyzing, interpreting and evaluating political science research.
  4. Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the major to the practice of actual politics.

Proposals

Class proposal