Political Science, B.S.

Program Code: PLSBS_BS

Entrance to the Major

Admission to the major requires a grade of C or better in MATH 110 or MATH 140 and a grade of B or better in PLSC 309. These courses must be completed by the end of the semester during which the admission to major process is carried out.

Degree Requirements

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

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 19-20
Requirements for the Major 67-68

6 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 6 credits of GQ courses.

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.

Requirements for the Major

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

 
Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of B or better
PLSC 309Quantitative Political Analysis3
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
PLSC 197Special topics3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
MATH 110Techniques of Calculus I Keystone/General Education Course4
or MATH 140 Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course
PLSC 308Introduction to Political Research3
or PLSC 300 Introduction to Independent Thesis Research
Select three of the following:9
American Politics: Principles, Processes and Powers Keystone/General Education Course
Comparing Politics around the Globe Keystone/General Education Course
Contemporary Political Ideologies Keystone/General Education Course
International Relations Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Political Theory Keystone/General Education Course
Select one of the following:3-4
Introduction to Programming Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Spreadsheets and Databases Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Programming Techniques Keystone/General Education Course
Select 9 credits of data intensive PLSC courses from a department list9
Select 9 credits of any 400-level PLSC course9
Select 9 credits of the following:9
Geographic Information Systems
Spatial Analysis
Strategy and Politics
Data Science Through Statistical Reasoning and Computation
Analysis of Variance
Applied Regression Analysis
Applied Time Series Analysis
Survey Sampling
Courses from a department approved list
Select 3 credits of the following:
Research Project
Independent Studies
Data intensive course from a department list
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 12 credits from department approved list of courses 112

Program Learning Objectives

Knowledge:

  1. Students will develop substantive knowledge of the discipline of Political Science.
    1. Students will be able to define and use the concepts political scientists employ to make and substantiate knowledge claims.
    2. Students will be able to describe the central debates and theoretical frameworks of political science and international politics.
  2. Students will develop knowledge about how political scientists use empirical analysis to gain insight into political and social processes, to advance political and social goals, and to evaluate the effects of programs and policies.
    1. Students will be able to explain multiple approaches to empirical research, such as large-scale observational research, experiments, surveys, case studies, formal modeling, and elite interviewing.
    2. Students will be able to describe both the application, and the advantages and disadvantages of different research methods in relation to particular problems.

Argumentation/Communication:

  1. Students will develop the ability to create coherent, persuasive, and empirically grounded oral and written arguments.
    1. Students will be able to construct and defend logical arguments.
    2. Students will be able to present evidence to support empirical claims.
    3. Students will be able to communicate ideas effectively in conformity with academic standards.
  2. Students will develop the ability to systematically analyze problems and draw evidenced based inferences. Students in different majors will accomplish this with different emphases depending on the courses they take as part of the BA/BS.
    1. Bachelor of Arts students in PL SC and INTPL will analyze problems and draw evidence based inferences using a broad range of techniques according to programmatic focus and individual preference.
    2. PL SC Bachelor of Science majors will analyze problems and draw inferences using various data sources and statistical tools.
    3. PL SC SO DA majors will analyze problems and draw inferences using computational tools appropriate to large complex data sets.

Critical Synthesis/Application:

  1. Students will develop the ability to combine the substantive knowledge, modes of inquiry, and analytic skills learned in the classroom to address contemporary problems in an uncertain world.
    1. Students will be able to draw upon political science research to construct testable explanations of novel situations.
    2. Students will be able to weigh the arguments, evidence and inferences used to address problems under conditions of uncertainty.
  2. Students will develop ethical reasoning and citizenship skills to participate in a global, pluralistic society.
    1. Students will be able to trace the possible ethical implications of public policies and political structures and their consequences for democratic political values.
    2. Students will be able to articulate the goals, conditions, and challenges of democracy and describe the roles of citizens and public officials in manifesting and preserving democratic values.
    3. Students will be able to critically evaluate the values inherent in the exercise of power through political systems, social structures, information, and collective action.

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

University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
814-865-2545
http://starfish.psu.edu
http://www.la.psu.edu/current-students/undergraduate-students/education/majors-and-minors

World Campus

Undergraduate Academic Advising
301 Outreach Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-3283
advising@outreach.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).

University Park 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
MATH 110 or 140 (GQ)*‡†4CMPSC 101, 131, or 203 (GQ)*‡†3
PLSC 10 (GS)*3PLSC 1, 3, 7N, 14, or 17N*3
PLSC 1, 3, 7N, 14, or 17N*3General Education Course3
FYS/General Education Course3General Education Course3
ENGL 15, ENGL 30, ENGL 137H, CAS 137H, or ESL 15 (GWS)3CAS 100, 100A, 100B, 100C, 138T, or ENGL 138T (GWS)3
 16 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
STAT 1842PLSC 308*3
PLSC 1, 3, 7N, 14, or 17N*3PLSC 400-level*13
PLSC 309*3Related Course In Consultation with Adviser*3
General Education Course (IL)3General Education Course (US)3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
 14 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PLSC 400-level*13PLSC 400-level*13
PLSC 400-level*13Methodology Course*3
Related Course In Consultation with Adviser*3Related Course In Consultation with Adviser*3
ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D (GWS)3General Education Course3
General Education Course3Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PLSC 400-level*13PLSC Capstone*3
Methodology Course*3PLSC 400-level*13
Related Course In Consultation with Adviser*3Methodology Course*3
Elective (WAC)3Elective3
Elective3General Education Course (GHW)3
 15 15
Total Credits 120

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.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Honors/Paterno Fellows Program

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
MATH 110 or 140*#†4PLSC 3 (Honors section)*3
PLSC 10*3CMPSC 101, 131, or 203*3
PLSC 1 (Honors section)*†3General Education3
CAS 137H or ENGL 137H3CAS 138T or ENGL 138T3
General Education3General Education course3
 16 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PLSC 14H*3PLSC 400-level*3
PLSC 309#3General Education3
General Education / Honors section*3Methodology course*3
STAT 184*2General Education / Honors / Ethics course3
General Education3General Education3
General Education3 
 17 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PLSC 400-level*3PLSC 404, 429, 447, or 476*3
Methodology course*3Methodology course3
PLSC 404, 429, 447, or 476*3Supporting Elective course3
ENGL 202A3PLSC 400-level Honors section3
PLSC 300 Honors section*3Elective course3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PLSC 404, 429, 447, or 4763Supporting Elective*3
Supporting Elective / Honors section*3PLSC 494H*3
PLSC 306 (Honors section)*1.5General Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5
General Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5PLSC 306 (Honors section)*1.5
Elective*3Writing Across the Curriculum3
Elective / US Cultures (US)*3Elective course1
 15 13
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.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Advising Note:

All incoming freshmen must take a First-Year Seminar (FYS) during Fall or Spring of their first year. Academic advisers can provide a list of FYS being offered and help the student enroll. Most FYS in the College of the Liberal Arts are worth 3 cr. and count as a General Humanities (GH) or General Social Sciences (GS) course. For this reason, the FYS is not listed separately on this eight-semester plan; most students will be able to fulfill the FYS requirement while also fulfilling a GH or GS requirement.

Commonwealth Campuses

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
MATH 110 or 140 (GQ)*‡†4CMPSC 101, 131, or 203 (GQ)*‡†3
PLSC 1, 3, 7N, 14, or 17N*3PLSC 1, 3, 7N, 14, or 17N*3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
FYS/Elective3General Education Course3
ENGL 15, ENGL 30, or ESL 15 (GWS)3CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C (GWS)3
 16 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PLSC 1, 3, 7N, 14, or 17N*3General Education Course (US)3
General Education Course (IL)3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course (GHW)3
Elective (WAC)3Elective3
 15 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PLSC 10 (GS)*3PLSC 308*3
PLSC 309*3PLSC 400-level*13
Related Course In Consultation with Adviser*3PLSC 400-level*13
ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D (GWS)3Related Course In Consultation with Adviser*3
STAT 1842Methodology Course*3
 14 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PLSC 400-level*13PLSC Capstone*3
PLSC 400-level*13PLSC 400-level*13
PLSC 400-level*13Methodology Course*3
Methodology Course*3Related Course In Consultation with Adviser*3
Related Course In Consultation with Adviser*3Elective3
 15 15
Total Credits 120

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.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Career Paths

Students completing the Bachelor of Science degree develop a portfolio of concrete and immediately marketable set of skills that are in demand among employers. They are prepared to begin careers as campaign strategists, policy analysts and lobbyists, as well as in business and in national defense and other aspects of government. The program is also an excellent foundation for graduate study in law, public policy, business and the social sciences.

Careers

Penn State Political Science graduates are serving as advisers to the State Department; as attorneys and management specialists in the Department of Justice; as speech writers, lobbyists and policy analysts on Capitol Hill; and even in the United States Senate. Our alumni have built successful careers in business, and as lawyers, teachers, and journalists. Many are successful entrepreneurs, some work for NGOs, others are leaders of major corporations. You can learn from their experience through our alumni mentoring program.

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

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

Contact

University Park

DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
202 Pond Lab
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-4597
http://www.polisci.la.psu.edu/undergraduate/advising

http://www.polisci.la.psu.edu/

World Campus

DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
220 Pond Lab
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-7515
ajh38@psu.edu

https://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/degrees-and-certificates/penn-state-online-political-science-bachelor-of-science-degree/overview