Political Science, B.A.
The Bachelor of Arts in Political Science offers broad exposure to the discipline with courses on American politics, comparative politics, international relations, public administration and policy, and political theory. Graduates demonstrate knowledge of the basic facts, themes, theories and concepts central to the study and understanding of politics. Through this degree, students gain proficiency in critical thinking, writing and analysis of politics and theories of politics. Specific programs, such as comparative politics, provide opportunities for students to select one or two individualized areas of interest.
There are two options under the B.A. in political science degree program: a general major and the intensive major, which requires additional coursework, consistently excellent grades and a research project culminating in a senior thesis. The intensive major offers students experience that may provide an edge for pursuing future graduate studies and research or when entering careers in law, public administration, business and more.
- Political Science majors will demonstrate knowledge of basic facts, themes, theories and concepts central to the study and understanding of politics.
- Political Science majors will demonstrate critical writing skills and demonstrate proficiency in the analysis of politics and theories of politics.
- Political Science majors will demonstrate skills in critical thinking and evaluating political data in the analysis of politics.
New freshmen who meet University admissions standards are eligible for admission to degree programs offered by the college. A student who wishes to enter the College of Arts and Sciences from another college on the Columbia campus must be in good standing and have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher. A student who wishes to enter the College of Arts and Sciences from another UofSC campus must fulfill one of the following requirements:
- Be in good standing, meet the admission requirements for a baccalaureate degree on the Columbia campus, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher.
- Be in good standing and have completed 30 semester hours with a GPA of 2.00 or higher on a UofSC campus.
Some programs in the College of Arts and Sciences have special admission requirements established by the department or committee that supervises the specific degree program, for example, Cardiovascular Technology, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Economics, Environmental Science, the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. These requirements are listed in the sections of this bulletin that describe department and special degree programs.
Degree Requirements (120 hours)
Program of Study
|1. Carolina Core||35-44|
|2. College Requirements||15-18|
|3. Program Requirements||34-46|
|4. Major Requirements||24|
Founding Documents Requirement
All undergraduate students must take a 3-credit course or its equivalent with a passing grade in the subject areas of History, Political Science, or African American Studies that covers the founding documents including the United State Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation and one or more documents that are foundational to the African American Freedom struggle, and a minimum of five essays from the Federalist papers. This course may count as a requirement in any part of the program of study including the Carolina Core, the major, minor or cognate, or as a general elective. Courses that meet this requirement are listed here.
1. Carolina Core Requirements(32-44 hours)
CMW – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Written (6 hours)
must be passed with a grade of C or higher
- any CC-CMW courses
ARP – Analytical Reasoning and Problem Solving (6-8 hours)
- any CC-ARP courses
SCI – Scientific Literacy (8 hours)
- Two 4-credit hour CC-SCIlaboratory science courses
GFL – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Foreign Language (0-6 hours)
Demonstration of proficiency in one foreign language equivalent to the minimal passing grade on the exit examination in the 122 course is required. Students can demonstrate this proficiency by successfully completing Phase II of the Proficiency Test or by successfully completing the 122 course, including the exit exam administered as part of that course.
It is strongly recommended that students continuing the study of a foreign language begin college-level study of that language in their first semester and continue in that language until their particular foreign language requirement is completed.
GHS – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Historical Thinking (3 hours)
- any CC-GHS course
GSS – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Social Sciences (3 hours)
AIU – Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding (3 hours)
- any CC-AIU course
CMS – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Spoken Component1 (3 hours)
- any overlay or stand-alone CC-CMS course
INF – Information Literacy1 (0-3 hours)
- any overlay or stand-alone CC-INF course
VSR – Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility1 (3 hours)
Carolina Core Stand Alone or Overlay Eligible Requirements — Overlay-approved courses offer students the option of meeting two Carolina Core components in a single course. A maximum of two overlays is allowed. The total Carolina Core credit hours must add up to a minimum of 31 hours. Some programs may have a higher number of minimum Carolina Core hours due to specified requirements.
2. College Requirements (15-18 hours)
Foreign Language (0-3 hours)
- only if needed to meet 122-level proficiency
History (3 hours)
The College of Arts and Sciences requires one additional GHS course beyond the Carolina Core GHS requirement.
- If the Carolina Core GHS requirement is fulfilled by a U.S. history course, the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement must be fulfilled by a non-U.S. history course.
- If the Carolina Core GHS requirement is fulfilled by a non-U.S. history course, the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement must be fulfilled by a U.S. history course.
Please select the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement from the approved list of U.S. and non-U.S. history courses.
Social Science and Fine Arts or Humanities (12 hours)
- Social Science (3 hours)
- Fine Arts/Humanities (9 Hours)
- A Bachelor of Arts from the College of Arts and Sciences requires three 3-hour Fine Arts/Humanities Courses
3. Program Requirements (34-46 hours)
Cognate or Minor (12-18 hours)
Students must complete a cognate (12 hours) or a minor as part of this program. In lieu of a cognate or minor, an additional major may be added to a student’s program of study. Additional majors must include all major courses as well as any prescribed courses noted (*) in the bulletin. Prescribed courses noted in the bulletin may be shared with Carolina Core, College requirements, and Program requirements in the primary program.
Cognate (12 hours)
The cognate must consist of twelve (12) hours of courses at the advanced level, outside of but related to the major. The cognate may be taken in one or more departments or programs.
Courses offered by departments and programs that are acceptable for cognate credit are outlined in the section titled Courses Acceptable for Cognate Credit in Degree Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. Some major programs have specific cognate requirements. It should be emphasized that the cognate is not a second set of elective courses to be chosen at random by the student. Students are urged to consult their major advisors for specific requirements in their major.
For Bachelor of Arts degrees, all cognate courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher.
Minor (18 hours)
In place of the cognate a student in the College of Arts and Sciences may choose a minor consisting of at least 18 credit hours of prescribed courses.
The minor is intended to develop a coherent basic preparation in a second area of study. It differs from the cognate inasmuch as the courses must follow a structured sequence.
Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the minor. No course may satisfy both major and minor requirements. All minor courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher. At least half of the courses in the minor must be completed in residence at the University.
A list of minor programs of study can be found at Programs A-Z.
Electives (16-34 hours)
120 (or 128) degree applicable credits are required to complete any degree at UofSC. After the cognate, minor or second major is complete, any additional credits needed to reach 120 (or 128) total credits can be fulfilled by electives. No courses of a remedial, developmental, skill-acquiring, or vocational nature may apply as credit toward degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences allows the use of the Pass-Fail option on elective courses. Further clarification on inapplicable courses can be obtained from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Note: 4-22 hours of electives will be needed to reach hours to graduate and Program Requirements will range from 22-34 hours, if completing either the Intensive Major or the B.A. with Distinction in Political Science.
4. Major Requirements (24 hours)
A minimum grade of C is required in all major courses.
Major Courses (3 hours)
Major Electives (21 hours)
|Select seven courses from POLI 300 or above||21|
Note: One of the following courses must be taken as part of the major requirements in order to fulfill the Carolina Core Integrative course requirement: POLI 315, POLI 316, POLI 361, POLI 368, POLI 370, POLI 374, POLI 451, POLI 462, or POLI 504.
Intensive Major (36 hours)
A minimum grade of B is required in all major courses.
In addition to the requirements for the General Major, Intensive majors must complete the following:
- An additional six hours of major course work (approved by the major advisor).
- POLI 499
- Demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language through the intermediate level.
B.A. with Distinction (36 hours)
Departmental Undergraduate Research Track available to students majoring in political science who wish to participate in significant research activities of the major field in collaboration with, or under the supervision of, a faculty mentor.
In addition to the requirements for the general major, “B.A. with Distinction” majors must complete the following:
- A minimum major GPA of 3.60
- A cumulative GPA of 3.30
- Required courses:
- Additional Requirements:
- Public presentation of the Senior Thesis in a venue approved by the faculty mentor, such as:
- Annual meeting of the South Carolina Political Science Association (or any other annual meeting of the appropriate professional organization);
- A regular (or special) session of the Political Science Research Workshop;
- Sessions scheduled for the Political Science Awards Day activities;
- USC Discovery Day;
- Submission to a professional journal.
- Public presentation of the Senior Thesis in a venue approved by the faculty mentor, such as:
- A written sponsorship agreement from the faculty mentor to be placed on file in the department or college office.
A major map is a layout of required courses in a given program of study, including critical courses and suggested course sequences to ensure a clear path to graduation.
Major maps are only a suggested or recommended sequence of courses required in a program of study. Please contact your academic advisor for assistance in the application of specific coursework to a program of study and course selection and planning for upcoming semesters.