Undergraduate Study in Political Science

Requirements for a Major in Political Science

A. Fulfillment of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) requirements. In this connection, for all undergraduate degrees a student must complete four semesters of college level courses (or the equivalent) in a foreign language. All other CLAS General Education Program requirements must be equally satisfied.

B. A minimum of 33 semester hours of course work in political science must be completed for the major. The requirement includes the following:

POLI:1100 Introduction to American Politics
Plus four of the following introductory courses:*
POLI:1001 Introduction to Politics
POLI:1200 Introduction to Political Behavior
POLI:1300 Introduction to Political Thought & Political Action
POLI:1401 Introduction to the Politics Russia & Eurasia
POLI:1403 Introduction to Politics in the Muslim World
POLI:1405 Introduction to Comparative Politics
POLI:1500 Introduction to International Relations
POLI:1501 Introduction to American Foreign Policy
POLI:1600 Introduction to Political Communication
POLI:1601 Introduction to Political Media
POLI:1602 Introduction to Political Analysis

*Except for POLI:1100 all of these introductory courses may not be offered each semester, but we expect that each of them will be offered at least once each academic year.

Plus, eighteen or more semester hours of work in political science courses numbered 2000 or above.  Students who transfer from another college or university to the University of Iowa must take at least 18 of the 33 semester hours in Political Science at the University of Iowa.

NOTE: Credit for courses POLI:1000 First-Year Seminar, POLI:4900 Government Internship, and POLI:3124 Political Science Des Moines Internship may not be applied to the political science major or minor.

C. A Bachelor of Science degree requires the following additional courses:

  1. POLI:3000  Understanding Political Research, and
  2. POLI:4701  Undergraduate Research Tutorial OR POLI:4600  Honors Research Project, and
  3. completion of one of the three sets of three semesters of mathematics or statistics courses noted below, with a grade point of 2.00. The following sets of mathematics or statistics courses are approved:
  • MATH:1380  Calculus for Business [or MATH:1850 Calculus I or MATH:1550  Engineering Calculus]
  • STAT:4143  Intro to Stats [same as PSQF:5143 Intro to Stats]
  • STAT:6513 Interm. Stats [same as PSQF:6243 Interm. Stats]

        - OR -

  • MATH:1380 Calculus for Business [or MATH:1850 Calculus I or MATH:1550 Engineering Calculus]
  • STAT:1030 Stats for Business. Note: This course is not equivalent to Intro to Stats. It will not prepare you to take Intermediate Stats.
  • ECON:2800 Stats for Strategy

        - OR -

  • MATH:1850 Calculus I [or MATH:1550  Engineering Calculus]
  • MATH:1850  Calculus II [or MATH:1560  Engineering Calculus II]
  • STAT:5543  Intro to Stats [same as PSQF:5143  Intro to Stats]

Other sets of courses may be used with the written approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Course POLI:4702   Senior Research Project is recommended but not required.

You should declare your intent to pursue a B.S. degree as soon as possible so that this will be reflected on your progress reports.

NOTE: Required courses POLI:3000, POLI:4701 and recommended course POLI:4702 will be counted toward the 18 s.h. 3000-level course requirement.

D. A grade point average of at least 2.0 in all political science courses taken (including, in the case of transfer students, all political science courses taken at Iowa) and mathematics/statistics courses taken for the B.S. degree. Majors must take all courses in political science on a graded basis, and NOT on the basis of pass/non-pass grading.

E. Credits received while studying abroad through a University of Iowa Regents' Program are not considered transfer credits but in-residence credits.

F. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences maximum hours rule permits students earning a BA or BS to apply no more than 56 s.h. from one department to the minimum 120 s.h. required for graduation, whether or not the course work is accepted toward major requirements. Students who earn more than 56 s.h. from one department may use the additional semester hours to satisfy major requirements (if the department accepts them), and the grades they earn become part of their grade-point average; however, they cannot apply the additional semester hours to the minimum 120 s.h. required for graduation.


General Education Requirements

Students may use approved courses from their major department to satisfy the General Education Requirements. Courses approved by the College are listed on the College's website:  http://clas.uiowa.edu/students/general-education-program-requirements

No More than Three Courses from One Department Students may use no more than three approved courses from any one department to satisfy the General Education requirements. Courses taken to satisfy the Foreign Language Requirement are excluded from this rule.


Honors in Political Science

The department has a program leading to a BA or a BS degree with honors. Entry into the program is open to students with an overall University of Iowa grade-point average of 3.33 and a minimum 3.33 GPA in political science. A GPA of 3.5 in political science must be maintained. To graduate with honors, a student must maintain an overall University of Iowa GPA of 3.33 and a minimum 3.5 GPA in political science. Students are encouraged to take honors sections of our introductory courses whenever available. Students also are encouraged to take upper-class Honors Seminars as often as possible, but the program requires only nine semester hours of upper-class honors coursework graded B or better.

Honors students must complete three courses:

1. POLI:4000  Honors Seminar on the Study of Politics, preferably taken as a sophomore.

2. At least one additional honors seminar:

    POLI:4100  Honors Seminar on American Politics,
    POLI:4300  Honors Seminar on Political Theory,
    POLI:4400  Honors Seminar on Comparative Politics, or
    POLI:4500  Honors Seminar on International Politics

This requirement may be met by taking a 300-level course, with the consent of the instructor.

3. Either POLI:4600 Honors Research Project or POLI:4601 Honors Senior Thesis. Students taking POLI:4601  must do so before the semester in which they graduate. Please note that students enrolling in POLI:4600 or POLI:4601 must receive the consent of the instructor.

Contact the department honors adviser for more information about honors in Political Science.

Oral Discussion of Honors Thesis: Those honors students choosing to write an honors thesis POLI:4601 are required to schedule an oral discussion of their completed honors thesis, mainly to enrich the intellectual experience of its author. The author discusses the thesis with a faculty committee including the thesis director and the department’s honors director or a faculty member designated by that official. Together, the two may appoint more faculty. The committee may withhold approval of fundamentally inadequate theses, but directors are to schedule theses for discussion only when they are ready; and the discussion typically concentrates on exploring thesis ideas from several perspectives rather than whether to approve a thesis. Please see the Honors Program for additional information regarding the writing of an honors thesis.


Independent Study Contract

Students can learn about politics outside their regularly scheduled classes - and receive academic credit for doing so. You just need to agree with a qualified member of the Political Science faculty on an appropriate project of study or research. The options and course numbers are explained below. The student and his or her faculty supervisor must complete and sign the form found below before they can enroll. Completing this agreement ahead of time helps you get the most possible from the experience. Once this form has been signed, you must submit a copy to the Department (in person or by mail to 341 Schaeffer Hall).  Independent Study Contract

Independent Study      The student learns about a political topic or question in depth by studying it under a faculty member's supervision but with substantial autonomy. You may have become interested in a topic during a regular course. By all means, contact the teacher of that course to discuss you doing an independent study project. The faculty member provides advice throughout the semester and assesses the finished product, typically a paper or other written report. The course numbered POLI:4700, Independent Study, is appropriate for this.

Involvement with Faculty Research      Many students enjoy the opportunity to assist a faculty member on his or her research. This gives you a view of the political world based on testing rival theories or models with new information - the work that underlies the academic discipline of Political Science and for which Iowa's faculty members are internationally renowned. Usually, you will have already taken one or more courses from the faculty member you would like to work with. The course numbered POLI:4701, Research Tutorial, provides credit. If you are pursuing the Political Science major with honors, you sign up instead for POLI:4600, Honors Research Project.

Senior Thesis/Project      An excellent way to pull together the facets of what you have learned as a Political Science major is to complete a senior thesis. In addition to the learning you do, a senior thesis provides a valuable writing sample to share when applying for jobs or graduate school. A thesis should be deeper and more polished than papers completed for regular courses. Again, you may approach a faculty member with appropriate expertise, request his or her supervision, and explain: a) what question you would like to answer, b) how this relates to your prior coursework or experiences, and c) why you see the faculty member as able to help you. The relevant courses are POLI:4702, Senior Research Project, or POLI:4601, Senior Honors Thesis.

NOTE: Being involved in some practical aspect of politics - an internship - is another learning opportunity outside the classroom that the Department recommends. Contact the Pomerantz Career Center for information about internships available to UI students. Other internship opportunities are posted on the bulletin board outside of room 140 Schaeffer Hall. If you would like academic credit fo work connected to an internship, you do not need to use the Independent Study Form. Instead, go to http://clas.uiowa.edu/polisci/undergraduate/opportunities#intern  for more information.


Minor in Political Science

To receive a minor in political science, you must complete 15 semester hours in political science courses. Twelve of the 15 must be at the 3000-level. A grade point average of 2.00 is required. Twelve of the fifteen hours must be taken at the University of Iowa. Credit by examination is not accepted. No courses taken pass/non-pass will be accepted toward the minor. Credit in courses POLI:1000 First-Year Seminar and POLI:4900   Government Internship cannot be applied to the minor. Credits received while studying abroad through a University of Iowa Regents' Program are not considered transfer credits but in-residence credits. Students may complete an emphasis area in the minor (see the preceding section on "Emphasis Areas in Political Science"). If you choose to do this, you must request a letter from the department noting that you have completed an emphasis area (an emphasis area is only noted on your transcript for the major).