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The Political Science Major and Minor

San Diego

Political science (PDF) addresses some of the fundamental problems facing human society. Questions concerning world peace, government policies aimed at achieving economic stability and growth, the management of environmental quality, control over political competition, the possibility of using law to affect social and political change, and the gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. and abroad are all on the research agenda of contemporary political scientists. The general purpose of the major is to address these and other issues systematically, and, simultaneously, to raise the broad theoretical questions which can help students relate today’s political debates to those debates about politics which have kept a theoretical tradition alive for over 2,000 years.

Students may major in political science as a general program of study, or they may concentrate in one of six areas: (1) American politics, (2) comparative politics, (3) international relations (4) political theory, (5) public law, and (6) public policy. All majors in political science must satisfy the following sixteen courses: PS 30 (Political Inquiry), three of the following four lower-division courses (Political Science 10, 11, 12 and 13) and twelve upper-division courses.

If a Special topic course is offered, see the department for details regarding applying this course toward an area of concentration (i.e., PS 154 is the special topic course for International Relations and, depending on the topic, may be applied to one of the International Relations area of concentration categories). Upon notification from the student that a particular course should be counted in their area of concentration (based on review/approval in the department), a form is included in the student's file reflecting this information on the transcript.

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Political Science Learning Objectives (PDF)

Special Topic courses:

American Politics - 102G (occasionally included in the approved courses in public law)

Comparative Politics - 138D

Political Theory - 119A

International Relations - 154

Public Policy - 165