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BA in Political Science

Explore what President John F. Kennedy called the "art of the possible" with a political science degree.

At Quinnipiac, the study of political science combines a focus on philosophical investigation into the nature of justice with a more practical focus on the nature of politics, power and power relationships. Thus, a student will take classes that compare the nature of governments around the world, explore the operations of politics in local, national and international contexts, and promote the ability to influence the society in which we live. Most students complement their courses in government and politics with study across the arts and sciences, particularly in such areas as history, English, economics and philosophy.

Learning by doing is an emphasis in the political science program; we provide you with opportunities to participate in the political realm at every level of national and international society. Each year a number of students qualify to spend a semester in a multidisciplinary, experiential learning program in Washington, D.C., that combines an internship with course work in political science, journalism, museum studies and the arts.

Political science majors have accepted internships with the U.S. State Department, with Congress, with regional radio and TV stations, with political parties and with legislative staffs at the state capital in Hartford. We also promote and support a variety of study-abroad experiences, and offer classes that engage students directly in political action at the local, national and international levels. We believe these opportunities make not only for a better and more interesting learning experience, but also better prepare graduates for interesting and productive lives after Quinnipiac.

Graduates can choose from a wide range of career options, including work in government, international affairs, and journalism. Graduates can also enter the nonprofit realm, work for a lobbying firm, or begin careers in education or business. Many pursue graduate studies in law or public policy.

Curriculum + Requirements

The BA in political science requires the completion of 36 credits distributed as follows, with a minimum grade of C in all courses. No more than 6 credits of internship (PO 295, PO 395) may count toward completion of the major.

Political science core requirements (21 credits):

Course Title Credits
PO 101 Issues in Politics 3
PO 131 Introduction to American Government & Politics 3
PO 211 Introduction to International Relations 3
PO 215 Political Theory 3
PO 225 American Political Movements 3
PO 401 Political Inquiry 3
PO 408 Senior Seminar 3


Electives (15 credits). Five political science courses or cognate.

A. Political science courses:

Course

Title

Credits

PO 205

Public Policy and Administration

3

PO 206

Ethics and Public Leadership

3

PO 216

American Political Thought

3

PO 218

Politics of Health

3

PO 219

Women and Political Thought

3

PO 221

Introduction to Latin America

3

PO 227

The Politics of Intimacy 

3

PO 231

Elections and Political Parties

3

PO 245

International Political Economy

3

PO 247

Actors and Processes in U.S. Foreign Policy

3

PO 270

State and Local Government

3

PO 297

Simulating International Organizations

1

PO 298

Public Service Fellowship

1

PO 299

Independent Study in Political Science

3

PO 311

Topics in International Relations

3

PO 315

Democratic Theory and Practice

3

PO 317

International Law

3

PO 319

International Interventions

3

PO 321

Comparative Government

3

PO 325

Political Psychology and Public Opinion

3

PO 331

Topics in Comparative Government

3

PO 334

Topics in African Politics

3

PO 337

Human Rights: Theory and Practice

3

PO 342

Comparative Constitutional Law

3

PO 348

Political Communication

3

PO 350

Topics in Political Theory

3

PO 353

American Constitutional Law

3

PO 360

Topics in American Government

3

PO 362

Presidential Election Campaigns

3

PO 365

Inside Washington, D.C.

3

PO 387

Women & Public Policy

3

PO 399

Intermediate Independent Study in Political Science

3

PO 499

Advanced Independent Study in Political Science

4



B. Cognate courses: In addition to political science courses, a student may count up to two of the following courses toward completion of the political science major:

IB 201 International Business (3 credits)
PS 261 Social Psychology (3 credits)
SO 264 Social Welfare Institutions (3 credits)
SO 285 Protest and Change (3 credits)
SO 340 Peace and Conflict Resolution (3 credits)

Experiential requirement
PO 395 Advanced Internship (3-6 credits), PO 365 Inside Washington, D.C. or equivalent approved by the department. Students should plan with their academic advisers early to complete this requirement before the start of their senior year. With departmental approval, this requirement may be completed with one of the following:

  • Political science course taken in the study abroad program
  • Political science course taken in the Washington, D.C. program
  • Service learning course in any discipline, but must have “SL” designation

Portfolio Requirement
In addition, students in their senior year assemble a portfolio of representative academic work done in political science, which includes a senior thesis, internship paper (or equivalent) and other key assignments.

Tracks in Political Science
In addition to the core requirements common to all political science majors, those choosing to focus their studies in either the public policy and leadership track or the global affairs track choose from among the following electives:

Public Policy and Leadership Track (take 15 credits):

Course Title Credits
PO 205 Public Policy and Administration 3
PO 206 Ethics and Public Leadership 3
PO 227 The Politics of Intimacy 3
PO 231 Elections and Political Parties 3
PO 247 Actors and Processes in U.S. Foregin Policy 3
PO 270 State and Local Government 3
PO 298 Public Service Fellowship 1
PO 315 Democratic Theory and Practice 3
PO 325 Political Psychology and Public Opinion 3
PO 348 Political Communication 3
PO 353 American Constitutional Law 3
PO 360 Topics in American Politics 3
PO 362 Presidential Election Campaigns 3
PO 365 Inside Washington 3
PO 387 Women & Public Policy 3

Global Affairs Track (take 15 credits):

Course Title Credits
PO 221 Introduction to Latin America 3
PO 245 International Political Economy 3
PO 247 Actors and Processes in U.S. Foregin Policy 3
PO 297 Simulating International Organizations 1
PO 311 Topics in International Relations 3
PO 317 International Law 3
PO 319 International Interventions 3
PO 321 Comparative Government 3
PO 334 Topics in African Politics 3
PO 337 Human Rights: Theory and Practice 3
PO 342 Comparative & Constitutional Law 3

Washington, D.C. Program

The Washington, D.C., semester programs are multidisciplinary, experiential learning programs that bring students from around the nation and the world to semester-length internships, research projects and seminars in the nation's capital. Quinnipiac students must have a 3.0 GPA or better to be eligible, and they should not be under any judicial sanctions. Students may have the GPA requirement waived by application to the associate vice president for academic affairs. 

Minor in Political Science

A minor in political science is awarded upon completion of 18 credits with a grade of C or better. At least 6 credits must be earned at the 300 level or above. No more than 3 credits of internship in political science (PO 295 or PO 395) may count toward completion of the minor.

Honor Society: Pi Sigma Alpha

Candidates for Pi Sigma Alpha are nominated by the Department of Philosophy and Political Science from among the students who meet criteria established by the Quinnipiac chapter. The student must be a political science major who is a senior or a rising senior and has a GPA of at least 3.3 (national criteria require the student to be in the top third of her/his graduating class).

Pi Sigma Alpha is the only honor society for college and university students of political science in the United States. A member of the Association of College Honor Societies, its purpose is to recognize and promote high academic achievement in the field of political science.

Learn more about the national honor society.