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Political Science

Department of Political Science

Political Science Major (B.A.)

Program objectives for a B.A. in Political Science are: (a) basic understanding of political institutions and processes in the United States and other countries; (b) basic understanding of the ways in which countries interact with one another, directly or through intermediary institutions; (c) basic understanding of the development of political thought; (d) able to apply basic political science methodologies to political science questions; (e) able to analyze and explain political processes and outcome; (f) able to interpret political attitudes, values, and beliefs; (g) have the critical thinking skills necessary for careers in government, business, law, or academia.

A. University General Education Program (41 hours)

See Graduation from the University for the University General Education Program requirements.

B. College and Degree (B.A.) Requirements (6-9 hours)

The College and Bachelor of Arts requirements are in addition to the University General Education Program requirements.

C. The Major (36 hours)

For the purposes of defining undergraduate requirements for the political science major and minor, the department employs four subfields, with the following courses in each:

American Government and Politics: POLS 1030, 3211, 3213, 3215, 3216, 3217, 3218, 3219, 3220, 3221, 3405, 4200, 4211, 4212, 4222, 4223, 4701.

Comparative Politics: POLS 1301, 3302, 3306, 3309, 3310, 3320, 3325, 3330, 3340, 4307,4315, 4317, 4820.

International Relations: POLS 1501, 3505, 3506, 3509, 4504, 4506, 4508, 4510, 4511, 4512.

Political Theory: POLS 1101, 1102, 3102, 3401, 3402, 3410, 3415, 4405, 4415, 4416.

Students must complete POLS 1030 and 4101.

Students must complete at least 6 hours in each of the four subfields listed above.

No more than 9 total hours of internship (POLS 4230, 4231), mock trial (POLS 4709), research and study abroad (POLS 4399), and independent study (POLS 4702) combined may be counted toward the 36 hours required for a major in Political Science. Of these 9 hours, no more than three hours of Administrative Internship (POLS 4231), and no more than six total hours in any combination of POLS 4709, 4399, and 4702 may be counted toward the major.

At least 15 hours in political science must be earned in residence at the University of Memphis.

NOTE: Students who have successfully completed an equivalent social statistics course prior to declaring a Political Science major are exempted from the requirement to take POLS 4101, and must substitute another upper-division course in Political Science.

NOTE: The College offers Pre-Law advising for those interested in careers in law. Also, any major in Political Science may earn a second major in International Studies. Political Science courses in International Relations and Comparative Politics fulfill requirements for both the Political Science major and the interdisciplinary major in International Studies.

Accelerated B.A./M.A Program in Political Science

This program allows outstanding undergraduates to begin the coursework for the Master of Arts in Political Science during their senior year. Students are encouraged to begin planning to enter the Accelerated B.A./M.A. program early in their undergraduate career, in consultation with their advisor in the Department of Political Science.

Working with the undergraduate and graduate academic coordinators, undergraduates selected into this program begin a carefully tailored course of study which will allow them to complete their B.A. degree while they also begin the coursework toward their M.A.

To apply, students must have a minimum 3.25 grade point average, and must submit two reference letters and a copy of their transcript to the Political Science department. Each applicant will complete an interview with the graduate academic coordinator in political science.

Students must also apply to the Graduate School for the accelerated B.A./M.A. program, which allows them to take graduate courses in political science. To continue in the program past the B.A., students must apply for full admission into the Graduate School and into the Political Science department's M.A. program.

Only in ABM programs, up to 9 hours of graduate course work may be applied to both the undergraduate and graduate programs. However, any graduate coursework will not apply to undergraduate GPA.

D. Electives

Electives may be chosen to bring the total number of hours to 120.

E. Honors Program

The department offers an honors program to qualified majors who choose to pursue a more sophisticated knowledge of the discipline, a more rigorous level of analysis, and a deeper understanding of politics. Students who have completed 55 hours of course work (with at least 9 hours in Political Science) and have a minimum over-all grade point average of 3.0 (with a minimum in Political Science of 3.25), or who can present equivalent qualifications, are invited to apply for admission to the program. The program requires 18 hours of honors course work, 12 or more of which must be upper-division Political Science courses, and minimum final grade point averages of 3.00 overall, 3.25 in Political Science, and 3.25 in honors coursework. Honors students also have the option of completing a Senior Thesis in Political Science (POLS 4999). Those students who complete the program and the regular college requirements will be recognized at the commencement ceremony by having their degrees conferred “With Honors in Political Science.” Moreover, the student’s diploma and the record at the University of Memphis will reflect this distinction. Details of the program are available in the Political Science Office.

Political Science Minor

To complete the minor in Political Science, a student must earn 18 hours in political science discipline to the following conditions: a) students must complete at least 3 hours each in three of the four area listed above; b) students must complete at least 9 hours in courses at the 3000-level or higher; c) no more than 6 hours of internship (POLS 4230, 4231), mock trial (POLS 4709), research and studies abroad (POLS 4399), and independent study ({POLS 4702) combined may be counted toward the 18 hours required for a minor in Political Science. .

Typical 4-Year Political Science Sequence

Freshman Year

ENGL 1010 3 ENGL 1020 3
MATH* 3-4 Elective 3-4
POLS 1030 3 POLS 1501 3
Elective 3 POLS 1101 or 1102 3
Foreign Language/B.A. 3 Foreign Language/B.A. 3
Semester Totals 15-16 hrs   15-16 hrs

Sophomore Year

ENGL 2201 or 2202 3 POLS Political Theory 3
History* 3 Natural Science* 4
Natural Science* 4 Elective 3
POLS 1301 3 Elective 3
Fine Arts* 3 COMM 2381 3
Semester Totals 16 hrs   16 hrs

Junior Year

UD Elective 3 UD POLS Amer. Gov. & Policy 3
Elective 3 UD POLS International Relations 3
UD POLS Comparative Politics 3 UD elective 3
POLS 4101 3 Elective 3
Semester Totals 15 hrs   15 hrs

Senior Year

POLS 4212 or 4405 3 UD elective 3
Elective 3 UD elective 3
Elective 3 UD elective 3
UD elective 3 Elective 4
UD elective 3    
Semester Totals 15 hrs   13 hrs

Total Hours: 120-122

Total Hours Required for Graduation: 120

*Must satisfy University General Education Program Requirement