Political Science

Political science is the study of governments, public policies, and political behavior.  Political science uses both humanistic and scientific perspectives and skills to examine the United States, all countries and regions of the world.  As a political science major, you will hone the writing, communication, and analytical skills that are critical to a lib earl arts education.  This kind of education will prepare you to think critically and independently, with tolerance for others and concern for current affairs.  Students select one area of specialization from five sub-fields: American political systems, processes, and behavior; comparative political systems, processes, and behavior; international relations; political theory and methodology; and public policy and public administration.

Points of Pride

  • Political Science faculty members are quite accessible to undergraduate students.
  • Several faculty members have received College of Liberal Arts or University-wide undergraduate teaching awards.
  • The Department has a very active Pi Sigma Alpha (national political science honorary) chapter that has won national awards and recognition for its projects.


  • Public affairs specialist
  • Legislative affairs specialist
  • Lobbyist
  • Policy advisor
  • Research analyst
  • Government Positions
  • Elected Officials
  • Professional school in business or law

Plan of Study

Political Science Majors must earn a "C-" or better in any course used to fulfill a major requirement.

The five  AREAS of Political Science: For area assignment of courses not listed below contact departmental advisor.

I. American Political Systems, Processes, and Behavior: POL 10100, 31400, 32600, 36000, 37000, 37200, 37300, 41000, 41100, 41300, 41500, 41900, 46000, 46100, 46200, 51700

II. Comparative Political Systems, Processes, and Behavior: POL 14100, 34500, 34700, 34800, 42700, 44100

III. International Relations: POL 13000, 23000, 23100, 23200, 23500, 23700, 43000, 43100, 43200, 43300, 43400, 43500, 43900

IV. Political Theory and Methodology: POL 15000, 20000, 35000, 35100, 35200, 35300, 45300, 50100

V. Public Policy and Public Administration: POL 12000, 22200, 22300, 32300, 32700, 42300, 42500, 42700, 42800, 52000, 52300, 52400

NOTE: POL 40300, 42900, 49100, 49300, 49500, and 59000 may vary in title and credit depending on course content and may be assigned to different areas. A total of (9) hours of 40300 and 59000 courses may be applied to the major - either two (2) 40300 and one (1) 59000 or two (2) 59000, and on (1) 40300.

A. Choose ONE of the following courses in Political Science (3)

POL 10100
POL 12000
POL 13000
POL 14100
POL 15000

B. The following course in Political Science (3)

POL 30000 Introduction to Political Analysis (Statistics)

C. TWO courses chosen from one of the five areas of Political Science (6) (LISTED ABOVE)

(ONE of these courses must be numbered 40000 or higher.)

D. SIX other courses in POL, at least (3) of which should be 40000-level or higher (18)


E. One of the following (3)

POL 49100 Senior Seminar
POL 49500 Undergraduate Research Experience ( with approval by the Department)
POL _____ Any 40000-level Honors Only class
POL _____ Any 50000-level class (excluding POL 59000)
POL _____ A Course from a full semester study abroad program (with approval by the Department)

Program Course Requirements (57-58 credits): (See PDF for full list here)

ONE of the following:

ENGL 10600 First Year Composition
ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition

COM 1140 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
Other Language (12) (Proficiency through level IV in one language)
West Heritage
United States Tradition
Other Cultures
Aesthetic Awareness
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Gender Issues
Social Ethics
Individual and Society
Global Perspective
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Lab

Electives (20-21 credits)

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

For more information, visit http://www.purdue.edu/provost/initiatives/curriculum/course.html

Print Plan of Study

Department of Political Science

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

© 2016 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by CLA

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact the College of Liberal Arts Webmaster.

Some content on this site may require the use of a special plug-in or application. Please visit our plug-ins page for links to download these applications.