Political Science B.A. & B.S.

Are you interested in American politics? International affairs? Critical issues such as health, the environment, civil rights? Theories concerning the ideal government and how power and resources are allocated in society? Do you want to study these subjects and pursue a career based on your interest? If so, you should consider studying political science.

Political science students gain a versatile set of skills that can be applied in a wide range of careers in the public and private sectors.  Our students build skills in critical reading, information gathering and analysis, and oral and written communication that employers in every field value. Political science is also excellent preparation for advanced study in law, public policy, public administration, international relations, and may other areas.

Students may earn either a B.A. or a B.S. degree in political science.  Students will work with their departmental advisor to select the program best suited to their academic and professional goals.

Please note:  Requirements for the political science major have changed.  Students who entered the University prior to Fall 2016 and/or declared the political science major prior to Fall 2016 are held to the pre Fall 2016 requirements.  Students who entered the University Fall 2016 or after and/or declared the political science major Fall 2016 or after are held to the Fall 2016 and after requirements.

Political Science B.A. and B.S. Pre Fall 2016

Political Science B.A. and B.S. Fall 2016 and after

Emphasis Areas in Political Science

Fall 2016 and After Major Requirements:  

A.) Foundation (3 s.h.)

  • POLI:1100 Introduction to American Politics

B.) Four of the following introductory courses (12 s.h.):

  • POLI:1001 Introduction to Politics
  • POLI:1002 Lawyers in the American Political System
  • POLI:1200 Introduction to Political Behavior
  • POLI:1300 Introduction to Political Thought & Action
  • POLI:1400 Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • POLI:1401 Introduction to the Politics Russia & Eurasia
  • POLI:1403 Introduction to Politics in the Muslim World
  • POLI:1445 Introduction to Asian Politics: China
  • 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:1700 Introduction to Political Analysis

C.) Advanced coursework in political science numbered 2000 and above (21 s.h., typically seven courses)

D.) For the B.S. ONLY:

The 21 s.h. advanced coursework noted in requirement C. above must include:

  • POLI:3000 Understanding Political Research, and
  • POLI:4701 Undergraduate Research Tutorial, or an approved equivalent

B.S. students must complete one of the three sets of mathematics and statistics courses with a grade point of 2.00. The following sets of mathematics or statistics courses are approved:

Option 1

  • MATH:1380 Calculus for Business
  • STAT:4143 Introduction to Statistical Methods
  • STAT:6513 Intermediate Statistical Methods

Option 2

  • MATH:1380 Calculus for Business
  • STAT:1030 Statistics for Business
  • ECON:2800 Statistics for Strategy Problems

Option 3

  • MATH:1850 Calculus
  • MATH:1850 Calculus II
  • STAT:4143 Introduction to Statistical Methods
Additional Requirements
  • The department will review coursework taken from other colleges or university for credit toward the political science major.However, students POLI:1000POLI:3124POLI:4900
  • Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in all courses for the major and in all UI courses for the major. In addition, they must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in all political science courses taken at the University of Iowa, and in all political science courses taken at other institutions and at the University combined.
  • Majors must take all courses in political science on a graded basis, and NOT on the basis of pass/non-pass grading.
  • The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences maximum hours rule permits students earning a B.A. or B.S. 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.
  • Students may use approved courses from their major department to satisfy the General Education Requirements, however, students may use no more than three approved courses from any one department to satisfy the General Education requirements.
Pre Fall 2016 Major Requirements:

A.) Foundation (3 s.h.)

  • POLI:1100 Introduction to American Politics

B.) Four of the following introductory courses (12 s.h.):

  • POLI:1001 Introduction to Politics
  • POLI:1002 Lawyers in the American Political System
  • POLI:1200 Introduction to Political Behavior
  • POLI:1300 Introduction to Political Thought & Action
  • POLI:1400 Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • POLI:1401 Introduction to the Politics Russia & Eurasia
  • POLI:1403 Introduction to Politics in the Muslim World
  • POLI:1445 Introduction to Asian Politics: China
  • 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:1700 Introduction to Political Analysis

C.) Advanced coursework in political science numbered 2000 and above (18 s.h., typically six courses)

D.) For the B.S. ONLY:

The 18 s.h. advanced coursework noted in requirement C must include:

  • POLI:3000 Understanding Political Research, and
  • POLI:4701 Undergraduate Research Tutorial, or an approved equivalent

B.S. students must complete one of the three sets of mathematics and statistics courses with a grade point of 2.00. The following sets of mathematics or statistics courses are approved:

Option 1

  • MATH:1380 Calculus for Business
  • STAT:4143 Introduction to Statistical Methods
  • STAT:6513 Intermediate Statistical Methods

Option 2

  • MATH:1380 Calculus for Business
  • STAT:1030 Statistics for Business
  • ECON:2800 Statistics for Strategy Problems

Option 3

  • MATH:1850 Calculus
  • MATH:1850 Calculus II
  • STAT:4143 Introduction to Statistical Methods
Additional Requirements
  • The department will review coursework taken from other colleges or university for credit toward the political science major.However, students POLI:1000POLI:3124POLI:4900
  • Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in all courses for the major and in all UI courses for the major. In addition, they must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in all political science courses taken at the University of Iowa, and in all political science courses taken at other institutions and at the University combined.
  • Majors must take all courses in political science on a graded basis, and NOT on the basis of pass/non-pass grading.
  • 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.
  • Students may use approved courses from their major department to satisfy the General Education Requirements, however, students may use no more than three approved courses from any one department to satisfy the General Education requirements.
Emphasis Areas in Political Science

The political science major is structured to allow students the flexibility to explore the many subfields of political science while completing their major requirements.  Students may also choose to focus their studies more narrowly by completing up to two emphasis areas in the major.  Learn more.