Want to gain a deeper understanding of the political landscape and help drive policy that will solve issues of public concern?
As a political science major at CMU, you'll explore both domestic politics, which examines the American political system, as well as international politics, which looks at how different countries can work together to address global issues. You'll explore who is excluded from these processes and how they can be made more inclusive, as well as what constitutes a just society, what equality is and what it means to be free.
Learning from professors who are experts in the field of political science, and with real-world internship and other secondary learning opportunities, a political science degree from CMU is your gateway to a wide range of meaningful career paths and engaging experiences.
Points of Pride
Prakash Adhikari, associate professor in the political science and public administration department, received the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity in 2016.
The Model United Nations Program has been recognized multiple times, including being awarded Distinguished Delegation, at the National Model United Nations in New York.
Put Your Degree to Work
As you master writing, communication, and analytical skills through this political science degree, you also will grow your critical and independent thinking skills.
Earning a degree in political science can qualify you for a variety of career paths in the private (for-profit and nonprofit organizations) and public sector. Our political science degree students have pursued careers in the following areas:
- State, local, and federal government
- Journalism and communications
- Polling and campaign management
- Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
- International business and affairs
- Much more
Learn more about what your career with a political science degree could look like using the tool below.
The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.
(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)
Political Science Major
A political science major consists of 33 hours. A minimum of 15 hours of course work must be at the 300 level or above.
Courses taken on a Credit/No Credit basis may not be counted toward political science majors or political science minors, with the following exceptions: Internships (PSC 395), Practicums (PSC 393 & 394) and lab courses (PSC 355). In the case of these exceptions, no more than three credits total may be applied to the major or minor. Majors and minors in political science should enroll in PSC 105 as freshmen (see course description). Transfer students majoring in political science will be expected to take at least 15 hours of coursework in the department; transfer minors, 12 hours.
It is recommended that all political science majors enroll in PSC 280QR during their sophomore year.
Any regular faculty member in the department can serve as the student's advisor on a major or minor.
Internships: The department has established an internship program where students are provided relevant firsthand work experience. The duration of an internship can vary depending on the number of credit hours (1-12) taken. Students majoring in political science are allowed to count three internship credit hours toward their major or minor.
Total: 33 semester hours
Note: A minimum of 15 hours of PSC and/or PAD course work must be at the 300 level or above.
Required Courses I
Introduction to Political Science
An introduction to the historical and theoretical concepts and subject matter of political science, required for all political science majors and minors. May be offered as Writing Intensive. This course may be offered in an online format. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
Introduction to American Government and Politics
Examines the formal institutions of government and how politics actually works in the United States: civil rights, civil liberties, elections, media, interest groups and more. This course may be offered in an online format. May be offered as Writing Intensive. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
State and Local Government
Structure and functions of states, cities and counties, with emphasis on Michigan. May be offered as Writing Intensive. This course may be offered in an online format. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
Great Political Thinkers
Discussion of vital issues in the history of Western political thought, such as freedom, justice, equality, and power. Authors include Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Marx. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group I-A: Human Events and Ideas)
Introduction to Empirical Methods of Political Research
Empirical political research techniques including the scientific method, measurement, descriptive and inferential statistics, literature reviews, data collection, computer assisted data analysis, and research reporting. Quantitative Reasoning. This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisites: PSC 100, 105, or 150; one other political science course.
Required Courses II
Select one of the following:
Citizen Engagement in Public Life
This course examines trends in Americans’ participation in public life, as well as various approaches intended to increase their civic and political engagement. This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisite: PSC 105 or graduate status.
American National Government and Politics
This course will examine the major theoretical frameworks used in the study of American national government and politics and survey current research in the area. Prerequisites: a minimum of 9 hours of political science coursework, including PSC 105.
Explorations of special problems in subject areas found within Political Science individually agreed upon by student and instructor. May be repeated for a maximum of six hours. This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisite: Undergraduates must have a major or minor in PSC and/or PAD and at least 12 hours completed in PSC and/or PAD, as well as approval by instructor and department chair before registration. Graduate students must have approval by instructor and department chair before registration.
Required Courses III
Select 15 hours of PSC and/or PAD courses.
Select one of the following certificates:
Undergraduate Certificate - Citizen Engagement
Undergraduate Certificate - Political Advocacy and Elections
Undergraduate Certificate - Lawmaking and Legal Processes
A student earning a certificate must choose courses different than those chosen to fulfill the major required courses. Up to 6 hours of course work from one certificate may be used to fulfill requirements in another certificate in the department. Although the major may be combined with any of the certificates, students pursuing the major in Political Science are advised to consider choosing one from among the list above.