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Bachelor's Degree Programs
Political Science

Major in Political Science

Politics is all about power: who has it, how it is used, and what effect it has. The goal of the Department of Political Science is to provide students with a superior program of study of the many different and intriguing ways in which power is given, taken, distributed, limited, manipulated, and used, and to help them better appreciate and understand the many different forms taken by systems of government around the world.

The department offers introductory courses in all the major subfields of the discipline: American politics, public policy, public law, political theory, comparative politics, and international relations. We also offer a wide variety of advanced courses in which students can learn more about topics as varied as Indiana state government; national politics in Washington, D.C.; the political systems of Africa, Asia, and Europe; the mechanics of voting and public opinion; and critical policy issues of our time, such as welfare, crime, war, globalization, the environment, and women in politics. Our students also gain hands-on experience through internships and multi-college political simulations.

Our majors have gone on to careers in fields as diverse as politics, business, teaching, human services, the media, and working for interest groups, and many have gone on to graduate school in politics and law. Courses in political science help majors and non-majors alike become critical observers of—and informed participants in—politics and government at the local, national, and international levels.

Students completing the Political Science B.A. program will achieve the following:


  • How to distinguish among theories of politics and analyze current political situations in theoretical terms
  • The basic forms and institutional components of governments
  • The roles of significant actors, domestically and internationally, including elites, masses, and institutions in the governmental and political processes


  • The scientific approach and the role of science in the study of politics and government
  • The interactions between actors and institutions in domestic and international politics

Be able to:

  • Write and speak clearly and effectively, so as to convey their attitudes, knowledge, and skills.
  • Conduct political science research by constructing research designs and formulating and testing hypotheses, using the analytical skills of political science research
  • Locate appropriate sources by searching databases and to cite those sources correctly

The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Political Science (POLS) requires satisfactory completion of the following:

  • A minimum of 120 credit hours is required for a B.A. degree from the IU School of Liberal Arts.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (C) is required for graduation.
  • A minimum of 26 credit hours must be completed after formal admission to IUPUI.
  • A minimum of 21 credit hours of major coursework must be completed in residence in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Course work completed on an IU-administered or IU co-sponsored Overseas Study program counts as residential credit.
  • A minimum grade of C (2.0) is required in each major course.
  • Once a course has been applied toward one requirement, it cannot be used to satisfy a second requirement, except where explicitly stated otherwise. In addition, except in cases of variable title courses, internships, and other special courses, no course will be counted more than once toward graduation.
  • 9 credits of 300- to 400- level Political Science courses must be of regular classroom format (not readings or research).

IUPUI General Education Core

A list of accepted courses in the IUPUI General Education Core can be found at http://go.iupui.edu/gened.

Core Communication (6 credits)

  • ENG-W 131: Reading, Writing, and Inquiry I (3 credits) or ENG-W 140: Reading, Writing, and Inquiry: Honors (3 credits) completed with a grade of C (2.0) or higher

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) sections of ENG-G 131 have been designated for students whose first language is not English.

  • COMM-R 110: Fundamentals of Speech Communication (3 credits)

Analytical Reasoning (6 credits)

  • College math from List A (3 credits)
  • List A or List B (3 credits)

Cultural Understanding (3 credits)

  • A world language course is recommended

Life and Physical Sciences (6 credits)

  • A laboratory science component is required

Arts/Humanities and Social Sciences (9 credits)

  • Arts & Humanities (3 credits)
  • Social Science (3 credits)
  • Additional Arts & Humanities or Social Science (3 credits)

Transfer students entering IUPUI from another public university in Indiana who have completed the transferable general education core at their home campus will not need to complete the IUPUI General Education Core.

Liberal Arts Baccalaureate Competencies

First-Year Experience (1-3 credits)

  • SLA-S 100: First Year Success Seminar
  • Other: First Year Seminar from another school at IUPUI

Transfer students with 18 or more credit hours are not required to take this course.

Writing Proficiency (3 credits), completed with a grade of C (2.0) or higher, chosen from the following:

  • ENG-W 230: Writing in the Sciences
  • ENG-W 231: Professional Writing Skills
  • ENG-W 270: Argumentative Writing

Transfer students may satisfy the writing proficiency by completing course work equivalent to ENG-W 231, ENG-W 230, ENG-W 270, or GEWR-UN 200 with a grade of C (2.0) or higher at another campus or institution.

Transfer students with 80 or more transfer credits may petition for exemption from the Writing Proficiency requirement.  Petition available in the Miriam Z. Langsam Office of Student Affairs, Cavanaugh Hall room 401.

Analytical Proficiency (3 credits), chosen from the following: 

  • ECON-E 270: Introduction to Statistical Theory in Economics and Business
  • PHIL-P 208: Causality and Evidence
  • PHIL-P 265: Introduction to Symbolic Logic
  • PHIL-P 365: Intermediate Symbolic Logic
  • POLS-Y 205: Analyzing Politics  
  • SOC-R 359: Introduction to Sociological Stats

Analytical Proficiency is in addition to the Analytical Reasoning area in the IUPUI General Education Core. Analytical Proficiency courses may be shared with major requirements if applicable.

Life and Physical Sciences Laboratory

One laboratory science course is required, but may be part of the coursework taken in the IUPUI General Education Core.

Arts and Humanities (3 credits) - Courses in one’s first major field of study cannot be used to fulfill this requirement

100 or 200 level course chosen from the following disciplines

  • Africana Studies (AFRO)
  • American Studies (AMST)
  • American Sign Language (ASL) excluding World Languages courses
  • Classics (CLAS) excluding World Languages courses
  • Communication Studies (COMM-R, excluding COMM-R 110, and COMM-T only)
  • East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC) excluding World Language courses
  • English-Creative Writing or Writing and Literacy (ENG-W), excluding courses in the Writing Proficiency area.
  • English Literature (ENG-L)
  • Film Studies (FILM)
  • Folklore (FOLK) excluding FOLK-F 101
  • German (GER) excluding World Language courses
  • History (HIST) excluding HIST-H 105, HIST-H 106, HIST-H 108, HIST-H 109, HIST-H 113, HIST-H 114
  • Latino Studies (LATS)
  • Medical Humanities and Health Studies (MHHS)
  • Museum Studies (MSTD)
  • Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS)
  • Philosophy (PHIL)
  • Religious Studies (REL)
  • Spanish (SPAN) excluding World Language courses
  • Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WOST) excluding WOST-W 105
  • World Languages and Cultures (WLAC)

Social Sciences (3 credits) - Courses in one’s first major field of study cannot be used to fulfill this requirement

100 or 200 level course chosen from the following disciplines

  • Africana Studies (AFRO)
  • Anthropology (ANTH)
  • Communication Studies (COMM-C and COMM-M only)
  • Economics (ECON)
  • English-Linguistics (ENG-Z)
  • Folklore (FOLK)
  • Geography (GEOG)
  • Global and International Studies (INTL)
  • History (HIST) only HIST-H 105, HIST-H 106, HIST-H 108, HIST-H 109, HIST-H 113, HIST-H 114
  • Journalism and Public Relations (JOUR)
  • Latino Studies (LATS)
  • Medical Humanities and Health Studies (MHHS) excluding MHHS-M 201
  • Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS)
  • Psychology (PSY)
  • Sociology (SOC)
  • Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WOST)

World Language and Perspectives (0-14 credits) - This requirement may be satisfied in one of the following ways:

  1. Completion of second-year proficiency in a single world language.
    1. Second-year proficiency is demonstrated by:
      1. passing the full second-year sequence of courses in a single language or
      2. completing a third or fourth-year course1
  2. Completion of third-semester proficiency in a single world language and one course in History selected from HIST-H 108, HIST-H 109, HIST-H 113, or HIST-H 114.
  3. Completion of first-year proficiency in a single world language; one history course selected from HIST-H 108, HIST-H 109, HIST-H 113, or HIST-H 114; and one course selected from the Global History and Perspectives list:
    1. ANTH-A 104: Intro to Cultural Anthropology
    2. CLAS-C 213: Sport and Competition in the Ancient World
    3. EALC-E 232: China Past and Present: Culture in Continuing Evolution
    4. ENG-L 245: (The Empire Writes Back) Intro to Caribbean Literature
    5. GEOG-G 130: World Geography
    6. HIST-H 108: Perspectives on the World to 1800
    7. HIST-H 109: Perspectives on the World since 1800
    8. HIST-H 113: History of Western Civilization I 
    9. HIST-H 114: History of Western Civilization II
    10. INTL-I 100: Intro to International Studies
    11. LATS-L 228: An Interdisciplinary Look at U.S. Latino/a Identities
    12. REL-R 212: Comparative Religions
  4. Non-English native speaker with approved waiver.

Courses in World Language and Perspectives may also satisfy General Education Core Cultural Understanding. 

        1 Students interested in receiving credit for lower-division language courses, see the section ‘‘Special Credit for Foreign Language Study.’’

Advanced Courses

Students are required to have 42 credit hours in 300-400 level coursework including courses in their major. Of the 42 advanced credits, 9 credit hours must be 300-400 level coursework outside the first Liberal Arts major field of study and from the School of Liberal Arts. Students seeking dual degrees are exempt from completing 9 credits hours in 300-400 level coursework outside their major and from the School of Liberal Arts.

Major Requirements (33 credits)

Required core courses

  • POLS-Y 103: Introduction to American Politics (3 credits)
  • POLS-Y 205: Analyzing Politics (3 crredits) (Prerequisite: MATH 11000, MATH 11100 or higher)

Choose two of the following:

  • POLS-Y 215: Introduction to Political Theory (3 credits)
  • POLS-Y 217: Introduction to Comparative Politics (3 credits)
  • POLS-Y 219: Introduction to International Relations (3 credits.)

It is highly recommended that all 200 level major courses be completed before enrolling in 300/400 level major courses. 

  • POLS-Y 490: Senior Seminar

Topics vary by semester.  POLS-Y 490 is should be taken during the student’s senior year and must be taken at IUPUI and after the successful completion of POLS-Y 205. 

Political Science Courses


18 credits, of which 15 must be from the 300-level and above (no more than six of these hours from POLS-Y 480, POLS-Y 481 and POLS-Y 498).  Offerings will vary by semester.  Choose among courses in American, Comparative, or International politics, Political Theory, or Policy Studies; or enroll in directed readings with one of the faculty.

Open electives
Candidates for a degree in the IU School of Liberal Arts must complete the IUPUI General Education Core requirements, the baccalaureate competencies, and the requirements of their major department. Usually, students will still need to complete additional hours in order to reach the graduation requirement of 120 credit hours. These remaining credit hours are known as open electives.

Accelerated Second Degree: The Liberal Arts baccalaureate competencies are waived for undergraduate students whose first major is outside the School of Liberal Arts and whose second major is a Bachelor of Arts degree from the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Students are only required to complete the courses in their major of choice in Liberal Arts. The IUPUI General Education Core or the Indiana transferable general education core must be successfully completed. Students must complete the degree outside Liberal Arts in order to have the Liberal Arts baccalaureate competencies waived for degree completion. The Liberal Arts baccalaureate competencies are only waived for students who actively pursue and complete another degree program outside of Liberal Arts.