BA in Political Science

APU political science majors learn about law, justice, and political power as they prepare for roles as informed leaders.

45 units

Political science is concerned with the knowledge that is needed by citizens and government officials. This knowledge is required to make and recognize good laws, distinguish justice from injustice, and understand the legitimate purposes and necessary limits of political power. The political science major prepares students to take an informed, intelligent, and leading role in the affairs of their community, country, and world. In addition to classroom, research, and seminar experiences, students are encouraged to become directly involved in politics through internship experiences on the local, state, or national level.

Career Opportunities

The political science major studies politics as part of a traditional liberal arts education. This discipline helps develop intellectual curiosity and the abilities to write and speak well, think critically, judge wisely, and exercise leadership. These skills help prepare students for a future in a variety of careers. The most common vocations pursued by political science majors include law, foreign affairs, journalism, public relations, and criminal justice. Careers in government, politics, and public service agencies are popular. Opportunities for teaching, research, consulting, and graduate study are also available.


The Department of History and Political Science maintains the following requirements for each of the majors it offers:

  1. Students must complete all prerequisites for any HIST or POLI course with a C- or better before taking the course (except as noted in the course description).
  2. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in all political science and history courses required for the major.
  3. Students must complete each HIST or POLI course with a C- or higher for the course to meet a degree requirement in the Department of History and Political Science.
Core Courses
POLI 150American Government 13
POLI 160Introduction to Politics3
POLI 180Intro to International Relations3
POLI 300Writing 3: Research and Writing 23
POLI 399Political Science Practicum 33
POLI 496Senior Seminar: Religion and Politics 43
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Statistics 5
Principles of Macroeconomics 6
Subject Courses
Select two courses in each of the following subfields:18
American Institutions
The American Presidency
The Federal Judiciary
History of American Foreign Affairs
Comparative Politics
National Security
Political Philosophy
Classical Political Thought
Modern Political Thought
The American Founding
Elective Courses
Select two electives from the list below. A course taken to meet any of the above subject course requirements may not also count for elective credit.6
History of American Foreign Affairs
State and Local Government
Introduction to Criminal Law
Introduction to Legal Transactions
Political Geography
Comparative Politics
Seminar in International Relations
Constitutional Law: Fundamental Freedoms
Constitutional Law: Criminal Justice
Constitutional Law: National Powers
Seminar on Legal Studies
Classical Political Thought
Modern Political Thought
The American Founding
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Theories of International Relations
Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
National Security
Politics of Developing Countries
History and Politics of the Non-Western World
Political Science Practicum 3
Seminar on American Politics
The American Presidency
The Federal Judiciary
Women in Politics
Regional Studies
International Organizations
Principles and Practice of Research Design
Political Topics
Directed Research
Total Units45

Meets the General Education Civic Knowledge and Engagement requirement.


Meets the General Education Writing 3 requirement.


Up to 8 units may be earned over the course of several semesters or during one semester, though only 6 units are counted toward the political science major (and 3 units toward the political science minor), with the remaining 2 units counting as general elective credits toward graduation.


Meets the General Education Integrative and Applied learning requirement.


Meets the General Education Quantitative Literacy requirement.


Meets the General Education Social Sciences requirement.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program shall be able to:
  1. American Government: Explain the principles, purposes, and main features of American government.
  2. International Politics: Explain the main features of international politics.
  3. Political Philosophy: Analyze the writing of major thinkers in the history of political philosophy.
  4. Christian Foundation: Articulate a Christian understanding of politics and government.
  5. Professional Writing: Demonstrate ability to write and cite sources to professional standards within the discipline.