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B.A. in Political Science

A degree in Political Science is the perfect choice for students who want to change the world.  Our students gain knowledge about politics and policy, and develop sought-after skills--such as information-gathering and processing, analysis, research, decision making, and oral and written communication--that are transferable to many career paths after graduation. Areas of concentration include American politics, international and comparative politics, urban politics, public law, public policy and administration, and gender and politics. In addition to formal course work, internships are available in which the student can apply classroom learning and gain practical field experience.

Students can earn the BA in Political Science through in-person courses, online courses, or a combination of the two.

Total number of credits required for graduation: 120 hours (minimum GPA 2.0 and at least 2.0 in major). Majors must take at least 39 hours of political science course work. Majors must satisfy the university and college general education requirements. Political Science courses may be used to satisfy the social sciences requirement. The foreign language requirement for the B.A. degree may be satisfied in any language.

The following courses are required and comprise the core curriculum:

  • PS 1100, Introduction to American Politics
  • PS 1500, Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • PS 1800, World Politics
  • PS 3000, Political Analysis
  • PS 4950, Senior Seminar in Political Science

Majors are urged to take PS 1100, PS 1500, and PS 1800 as early as possible since these courses are designed to provide a substantive foundation as well as conceptual and analytical tools for subsequent course work. Because the seminar topics in PS 4950 change from semester to semester, the course can be repeated as an elective. All majors must take at least one Senior Seminar in Political Science.

Majors must also take at least one course in four of the following seven political science areas, in order to insure some breadth of study. See the Campus Bulletin for a list of courses:

  • Public Law
  • American Politics
  • Public Policy and Administration
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations

At least 15 hours of political science course work must be at the 3000 or 4000 level. B.A. degree students may take a maximum of 3 hours of political science on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis; this can include any course except the required courses in the core curriculum.

Note: Students should determine their educational objectives and consult with an advisor regarding a plan of study as early as possible. Those students who are uncertain of their future plans are urged to include in their 39-51 hours of political science a broad set of courses in American politics, public policy and administration, public law, comparative politics, and international politics. In addition to this general course of study in political science, the department offers B.A. degree students several specialized interests that have minors. For a detailed description of these tracks, consult the Political Science listing in the Campus Bulletin.

Majors should round out their program by including relevant electives in other departments such as economics, history or criminal justice.

Students have the opportunity to complete an internship in Political Science through the course PS 3940 Public Affairs Internship. For more information on internships, please contact Prof. Terry Jones at terry.jones@umsl.edu.

Career Outlook
Our graduates work in a variety of settings including the U.S. Foreign Service, CIA, U.S. Institute for Peace, nonprofits, and government.  The variety of skills students develop, coupled with internship experience, make our graduates strong candidates on the job market. Early and mid-career Political Science graduates enjoy higher average salaries than those in Business Management and other fields. Political Science is also a path to graduate school and the top major of law school applicants.

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