Students enrolled in political science classes may have interests in public service careers at the national, state, and local levels; the legal profession; teaching in high schools and universities; political advocacy; nonprofit organizations related to public policy; elective and appointive office; political campaigns; and the media. Studying political science also contributes to informed and effective citizenship.

Admission into the Major

Students are expected to formally declare a major no later than the fourth semester of full-time enrollment (or at 61 semester hours for transfer students). Students can declare a major by completing the Change of Major/Minor Application online under the Student tab of myBama.

Special Opportunities

The department offers several opportunities to earn advanced-level credit through its own Study Abroad programs:  currently in Sweden, Belgium, and Germany.  The department also offers credit for selected students'  participation in the UA Mock Trial Team, as well as credit for internships in federal, state, and local politics and government.

Students earning the bachelor of arts (BA) degree with a major in political science must complete all University, College and departmental degree requirements. These include the general education requirements, the following major requirements, all requirements for an approved minor and other sufficient credits to total a minimum of 120 applicable semester hours.

Code and Title Hours
Major Courses
PSC 101Intro American Politics3
Select two of the following:6
Political Science Methods
Comparative Politics
International Relations
Political Theory
Public Administration
Credit Hours Subtotal: 9
Field Requirement
Select a minimum of three hours in three of the fields9
Credit Hours Subtotal: 9
Select 12 hours of PSC electives, 300-499 (excluding PSC 399)12
Credit Hours Subtotal: 12
Total Hours30


Students must earn a minimum of 3 hours in three of the fields listed below for a total of 9 hours.

Field 1: American Government

Code and Title Hours
PSC 103Intro Public Policy3
PSC 211State & Local Govt3
PSC 311Pol Party & Elections3
PSC 312Amer Legislative Syst3
PSC 313The American Executive3
PSC 314Amer Judicial System3
PSC 316Southern Politics3
PSC 318Constitn Law Limits Gov Power3
PSC 319Con Law Civ Rts and Libs3
PSC 364African Amer & Polit Sys3
PSC 370American Public Policy3
PSC 411Public Opinion3
PSC 413Amer Foreign Policy3
PSC 416Migration and American Politics3
PSC 464The Politics of Health Policy3
PSC 465The Politics of Sex3
PSC 466The Politics of Poverty3
PSC 467American Conservatism3
PSC 369Social Movements in US3

Field 2: Comparative Politics

Code and Title Hours
PSC 203Comparative Politics3
PSC 330Democratization3
PSC 331Politics of Developing Nations3
PSC 334Government Politics West Europ3
PSC 336African Politics3
PSC 340Civil Wars3
PSC 443Comparative Pub Policy3
PSC 344The Israel-Palestine Conflict3
PSC 332Politics of Latin America3
PSC 439UK Politics and Policy3
PSC 337Politics of the Middle East3
PSC 343Authoritarianism3
PSC 338Mexican Politics3

Field 3: Political Theory

Code and Title Hours
PSC 205Political Theory3
PSC 353Modern Political Thought3
PSC 362Organization Theory3
PSC 452American Political Thought3

Field 4: Public Policy and Public Administration 

Code and Title Hours
PSC 103Intro Public Policy3
PSC 206Public Administration3
PSC 211State & Local Govt3
PSC 361Fiscal Policy & Budget3
PSC 362Organization Theory3
PSC 365Environmental Policy3
PSC 370American Public Policy3
PSC 462Public Personnel Admin3
PSC 464The Politics of Health Policy3
PSC 443Comparative Pub Policy3
PSC 466The Politics of Poverty3

Field 5: International Relations

Code and Title Hours
PSC 204International Relations3
PSC 340Civil Wars3
PSC 413Amer Foreign Policy3
PSC 414Foreign Policy Decisionmaking3
PSC 434Internatl Polit Econom3
PSC 435War And Peace3
PSC 441Terrorism and Political Islam3
PSC 442Internatl Conflict3
PSC 446Political Economy of Security3
PSC 444International Organizations3

Grade Point Average

A 2.0 grade point average in the major is required for completion of the degree. Please see the Grades and Grade Points section of this catalog for an explanation on grade point average calculations.

Upper-level Residency

A minimum of 12 hours of 300- and 400-level courses in the major must be earned on this campus.  PSC 399 Internship In PSC does not count toward this residency requirement.

Ancillary Courses

The major in political science does not require ancillary courses. However, it is recommended that students considering graduate school study a modern foreign language.

Required Minor

This major requires the completion of a minor.

Additional Major Requirements

Specific sections of topics courses (PSC 320 Special Studies In PSC, PSC 321 Special Topics In PSC, PSC 399 Internship In PSC,  PSC 421 Seminar in Political Science W and PSC 422 Seminar Political Science) may be appropriate to fulfill the field requirements.

PSC 399 Internship In PSC  does not apply to the Department's 12-hour upper-level residency requirement.  However, PSC 399 credits do count toward the total of 30 hours toward the major, and toward the College of Arts and Sciences' advanced-level course requirement.

Students should contact the department’s undergraduate director concerning this use of special topics courses. Students are responsible for ensuring that they have met all University, College, major and minor requirements. However, each student must meet with an adviser in the major department for academic planning and to be approved for registration each semester. College advisers are also available for freshman students and to provide additional assistance with minor, college and University requirements.


Unless otherwise stated, the prerequisite for enrollment in 300-level political science courses is sophomore standing or permission of the instructor, and the prerequisite for 400-level political science courses is junior standing or higher or permission of the instructor.

Besides positions in the fields of public service and politics, law, education, and journalism, there are opportunities for graduates in business.

Types of Jobs Accepted

congressional staff member, political party staff member, staff member at nonprofit organization, law enforcement official, military officer, teacher, AmeriCorps member, lobbyist

Jobs of Experienced Alumni

elected official, lawyer, judge, civil servant, foreign service officer, military officer, professor, teacher, journalist, business manager

Learn more about opportunities in this field at the Career Center