Political Science, B.A. (Behrend)

Program Code: POLSC_BA

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have third-semester classification.

READ SENATE POLICY 37-30: ENTRANCE TO AND CHANGES IN MAJOR PROGRAMS OF STUDY

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 15
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 42-43

0-7 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 0-6 credits of GS courses; 0-4 credits of GQ courses; 0-3 credits of GH courses.

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

Per Senate Policy 83.80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of coursework in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Requirements for the Major

Each student must earn at least a grade of C in each 300- and 400-level course in the major field.

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options)

Prescribed Courses
PLSC 1American Politics: Principles, Processes and Powers Keystone/General Education Course3
PLSC 3Comparing Politics around the Globe Keystone/General Education Course3
PLSC 14International Relations Keystone/General Education Course3
Additional Courses
Select one of the following:3
Contemporary Political Ideologies Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Political Theory Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Political Theory Keystone/General Education Course
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 12 additional credits of PLSC courses not used to complete other requirements. At least 12 credits from Additional and Supporting Courses must be at the 400-level.12
Requirements for the Option
Select an option18-19

Requirements for the Option

Crime and Law Option (18 Credits)
Additional Courses
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Social Problems Keystone/General Education Course
Criminology Keystone/General Education Course
Juvenile Delinquency Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Criminal Justice Keystone/General Education Course
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits from the following:6
American Constitutional Law
The American Legal Process
International Law and Organizations
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 6 PLSC credits in law courses from an approved list6
International Relations Option (18 Credits)
Additional Courses
ECON 104Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy Keystone/General Education Course3
or GEOG 126 Economic Geography Keystone/General Education Course
Select 6 credits from the following:3
PLSC 90Introduction to Security Keystone/General Education Course3
PLSC 140Contemporary Controversies in International Relations Keystone/General Education Course3
PLSC 200NGovernment and Politics of Europe Keystone/General Education Course3
PLSC 220Politics of the Developing World Keystone/General Education Course3
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 3 credits of HIST from approved list (GH)3
Select 6 credits in PLSC comparative politics or international relations courses from an approved list6
Politics and government Option (18 Credits)
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 12 credits of PLSC courses12
Select 6 credits of courses in related areas from a major-approved list6
Public Policy Option (18-19 Credits)
Prescribed Courses
PLSC 2American Public Policy3
Additional Courses
PLSC 111Debating the Purpose of Government Keystone/General Education Course3
or PLSC 123
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 3-4 credits from the following:3-4
Elementary Statistics in Psychology Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Statistics for Business Keystone/General Education Course
Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Biostatistics Keystone/General Education Course
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 3 credits of GEOG from approved list3
Select 6 PLSC credits in policy courses from approved list6

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

Erie

Robert Speel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science
159 Kochel
Erie, PA 16563
814-898-6206
rws15@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Erie Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 15 or ENGL 30†‡3PLSC 1 or 33
PLSC 1 or 33General Education3
General Education3General Education3
Foreign Language (Level One)4General Education 3
First-Year Seminar1Foreign Language (Level Two)4
 14 16
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PLSC 14 or 17N3PLSC 14H or 17N3
CAS 100†‡3ENGL 202A†‡3
General Education 3General Education3
General Education3General Education3
Foreign Language (Level Three)4General Education3
 General Education1.5
 16 16.5
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PL SC 400-level*3PL SC 400-level, Writing Across the Curriculum (W) course*3
PL SC American Government any level3PL SC International Politics any level3
General Education3BA Knowledge Domain3
General Education1.5General Education3
Other Cultures3Electives3
 13.5 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PL SC 400-level*3PL SC 400-level*3
PL SC Comparative Politics any level3PL SC Gov in Theory and Practice any level3
BA Knowledge Domain3BA Knowledge Domain3
Electives3Electives3
Electives3Electives3
 15 15
Total Credits 121

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Additional Notes

Both US (United States Cultures) and IL (International Cultures) must be completed within the degree requirements.

Program Notes:  Students can double count US & IL requirements for general education courses but not for the Other Cultures requirement.

Academic Advising Notes:  The course series listed above is only one of many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The number of electives required varies per student.  Please be sure to consult with an adviser about your intended plan.

Career Paths

The B.A. in Political Science program emphasizes the development of key intellectual skills, ingraining the habits of questioning, debating, challenging, and shaping coherent and persuasive arguments. You’ll be expected to master effective writing, speaking, and reasoning, and conduct upper-level research in public affairs—skills that are impressive to future employers. Penn State Behrend has a comprehensive support system to help you identify and achieve your goals for college and beyond. Meet with your academic adviser often and take advantage of the services offered by the Academic and Career Planning Center beginning in your first semester.

Careers

Employers of recent Penn State Behrend B.A. in Political Science graduates include the FBI, CIA, U.S. State Department, Social Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Pennsylvania General Assembly, and NASA. Recent Political Science graduates work as attorneys for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Michigan Attorney General, The Nature Conservancy, and GEICO, and in policy positions at Toyota Motors, Erie Insurance, and the Center for Naval Analyses. Other recent graduates work in education at the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Notre Dame, University of Connecticut, and in many secondary schools.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES OF THE POLITICAL SCIENCE PROGRAM

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Recent Penn State Behrend Political Science alumni have attended the law schools at Cornell University, University of Pittsburgh, New York University, George Washington University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, University of Illinois, Duquesne University, and Boston College. Other recent graduates have pursued graduate-degree programs in fields such as public policy and international relations at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Oregon State University, Cornell University, Cleveland State University, University of Pittsburgh, Johns Hopkins University, Pepperdine University, Fudan University in China, and England’s Cambridge University.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

Professional Resources

Contact

Erie

SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
170 Irvin Kochel Center
4951 College Drive
Erie, PA 16563
814-898-6108
HumSocSci@psu.edu

http://behrend.psu.edu/school-of-humanities-social-sciences