Politics & Government | Academic Advising Handbook

The first step in considering a major in Politics and Government is to speak with one of the department’s faculty members. If you don’t know where to start, contact the Department Chair, Professor Jules Boykoff, at boykoff@pacificu.edu

Major Requirements

A major inc Politics and Government requires courses inside of the department, as well as a variety of electives that total 37 credits. 

13 required Credit Hours in POLS:

  • POLS 140 or 180 (4 credits)
  • POLS 399 (spring junior year) (4 credits)
  • POLS 498 (fall senior year) (4 credits)
  • POLS 499 (spring senior year) (1 credit)

24 Additional Credit Hours in POLS courses that include the following:

  • One upper-division course in American Politics (4 credits)
  • One upper division course in International Politics (4 credits)
  • One course in Political Philosophy (4 credits)
  • 12 other credits, at least 8 of which are upper division (16 credits)

Courses that fulfill the area requirements (American, International, Philosophy) above are as follows:

American Politics International Politics Political Philosophy
  • 301
  • 302
  • 304
  • 306
  • 321
  • 322
  • 326
  • 330
  • 331
  • 340
  • 345
  • 209
  • 212
  • 213
  • 310
  • 325

Introductory Courses: After one has taken a 100- or 200-level course in the department, a student should be able to handle any 300-level course. For any students who have never had a political science course, we strongly recommend talking with the instructor prior to registering. 

Requirements for the Minor

  • At least one course in American Politics at 300-level (4 credits)
  • At least one course in International Politics at 300-level (4 credits)
  • POLS electives, at least 4 credits of which must be at the upper-division level (12 credits)

TOTAL: 20 credits

Internships and Study Abroad:

Students are strongly encouraged to pursue an internship or study abroad and should plan to have those experiences in their sophomore or first semester of their junior year. Students interested in internships are encouraged to speak with any member of the department for help; those interested in study abroad should see Professor Jeff Seward; and those interested in law school should consult with Professor Paul Snell.

Timing for Internships and Study Abroad

We encourage our students to do internships and to study abroad. However, timing is key. The optimal time for students to do this is during their sophomore year or the fall semester of their junior year. While planning to do an internship or to study abroad, it is important that students remember that we have a three-course thesis sequence that begins in the spring semester of junior year and concludes in the spring semester of senior year: POLS 399 (junior year, spring semester), POLS 498 (senior year, fall semester), and POLS 499 (senior year, spring semester). In rare instances, students could study abroad to the spring of their senior year, but this would entail making special arrangements in advance for the public presentation of their senior thesis. We have done this in the past, so it is possible, but it does require planning.

A Four-Year Schedule for the Major

Below is simply one example of many that a student could follow in pursuit of a POLS degree. We have had many students who did not begin to focus on POLS until the end of their sophomore year.

Years One and Two:

  • POLS 140 and/or POLS 180
  • POLS 200 Level on Political Philosophy
  • POLS 200 Level elective
  • Study Abroad in Spring of Sophomore Year
    • If studying abroad for all of junior year, consider POLS 399 spring sophomore year

Year Three

  • POLS 399 in Spring (offered every year)
  • 300 level POLS courses for major requirements
  • Consider Internship
  • Study Abroad in Fall of Junior Year

Year Four

  • POLS 498, the Senior Seminar in Fall
  • POLS 499, the Senior Seminar in Spring
  • 300 level POLS courses for major requirements
  • Consider Internship

Revised 2020