Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Contact: John Hird, Chair
Chair of Department: Professor Hird. Professors Alejandro, Alvarez, Brigham, Fountain, Edie, Goldman, Haas, Peterson, Xenos; Associate Professors Bushouse, Cruikshank, LaRaja, Robinson, Roy, Schaffner, Schwedler; Assistant Professors Ahmed, Ascher, Barakso, Bernal, Carpenter, Curtis, Maxwell, Nteta, Reed, Rhodes, Schaffer, Shulman.
The Political Science Department is committed to offering undergraduates and Political Science majors excellent instruction across diverse fields of inquiry into politics in large lecture courses and smaller seminars, and through internships. The department believes that this study cannot be reduced to any single theory or method; consequently, diverse interests and approaches characterize its academic life. Current faculty interests incline toward the study of institutions, law, political development, political theory, social movements, international relations, and public policy.
The Department of Political Science requires its majors to complete a minimum of 11 three-credit courses in political science and the Junior Year Writing requirement, as described below. None of these courses may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis. At least six of the eleven courses must be taken within the department.
Introductory Courses: At least two 100-level Political Science courses completed with grades of C or better. At least one of these courses must come from the following: 101 American Politics, 111 Comparative Politics, 121 World Politics, 171 Introduction to Political Theory. A third 100-level course, may be applied to major requirements.
Upper-Level Distribution Courses: One course in each of the subfields of American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. All courses must be at the 200 level or above. A listing of courses meeting the subfield requirement can be found on the department’s website: www.umass.edu/polsci.
Departmental Electives: Additional upper-level courses to bring the course total to eleven. If two introductory courses have been completed, five departmental electives are required. If three introductory courses have been applied to major requirements, four departmental electives are required. One three-credit, graded internship or independent study course may count as one of the electives. A second three-credit, graded internship or independent study course may be counted with prior approval from the Undergraduate Program Director.
Junior Year Writing: The Junior Year Writing requirement is fulfilled by completion of POLISCI 399. This should be completed in the junior year; sophomores may enroll on a space-available basis. (Students for whom Political Science is a second major and who have completed the Junior Year Writing requirement in their primary major are not required to take POLISCI 399.)
Education Abroad and Exchanges
The following is a brief listing of careers for which a major in political science is valuable preparation: law school admission, study and practice; business and corporate positions in environmental protection, consumer affairs, and public affairs; journalism; federal and state government employment in such areas as environmental protection, criminal justice, public health and welfare, and transportation; local management and general administration in planning, zoning, housing, human resource management, law enforcement, budgeting and finance; secondary-level teaching of social studies; positions with nonprofit research and advocacy organizations; managers with domestic or international grass-roots development or refugee assistance organizations; educational administration; and university-level teaching.
A minor in Political Science, or in one of the subfields of American Politics, Public Law, Public Administration, Political Theory, International Relations, or Comparative Politics/Area Studies, may be earned by the successful completion of a minimum of five three-credit courses in Political Science. All courses counted toward the Political Science minor must be taken for a letter grade, and no fewer than three of the five Political Science courses must be taken within the department. Only one of the five may be at the introductory level. The minimum GPA for a Political Science minor is 2.000.