Political Science Major - Bachelor of Science (BS)

Political science is the study of governments, policies, institutions, and the behavior of participants in the political world. Using humanistic and scientific approaches, as well as qualitative and quantitative methods, the field of political science examines political structures both inside and outside government with the goal of better understanding how they function and the ways in which they change the world over time. The study of political science includes four subfields of specialization: American government and politics, international relations, comparative politics, and political theory.

(All colleges)

30 credits, at least 15 credits of which must be at the 300/400-level.

Political science foundation:
POL 101American National Government3
or POL 102 State and Local Government
POL 234Comparative Politics3
POL 244International Relations3
POL 251Political Theory3
POL 261Political Inquiry and Analysis 13
or POL 361 Research Methods in Politics and Government
POL 494Capstone Seminar in Politics and Government3
Political science areas of inquiry:
Select three credits at the 300/400-level in three of the following four areas of inquiry (see lists below):9
American government
Comparative politics
International relations
Political theory
Political science electives:
Select an additional three credits of electives from political science (POL) or public administration (PUB) courses not used to satisfy the above requirements.3
Total Credits30

Students who complete POL 261 to satisfy this requirement must take three credits of electives at the 300/400-level.

A maximum of three credits from each repeatable political science (POL) course may be applied to the political science major.

Double majors in political science and public administration may only count POL 261, POL 361, and POL 494 towards the completion of both majors.

American government

POL 301American Presidency3
POL 302Legislative Process3
POL 303Wisconsin Government and Politics3
POL 304Politics and the Media3
POL 305Political Parties3
POL 306Judicial Process3
POL 307Political Language and Communications3
POL 308Interest Group Politics3
POL 309Identity Politics3
POL 310Public Opinion and Political Behavior3
POL 319Campaigns and Elections3
POL 370Constitutional Law I: Powers of Government3
POL 371Constitutional Law II: The First Amendment3
POL 372Constitutional Law III: Racial, Gender and Targeted Group Discrimination3
POL 373Constitutional Law IV: Rights of the Accused3
POL 374Constitutional Law V: Right to Life3
POL 375Constitutional Law VI: Criminal Procedure3
POL 376Constitutional Law VII: Administrative Law3
POL 377Constitutional Law VIII: 1787 and Original Intent3

Comparative politics

POL 330Politics of Developing Areas3
POL 331Politics of Democratization3
POL 333Asian Government and Politics3
POL 334Post-Communist Politics3
POL 336Middle Eastern Government and Politics3
POL 337African Government and Politics3
POL 338European Government and Politics3

International relations

POL 340American Foreign Policy3
POL 341America and the World3
POL 344Global Governance3
POL 345International Law3
POL 346Model United Nations1-3
POL 347Peace and Conflict3

Political theory

POL 350American Political Theory3
POL 351Classical Political Theory3
POL 353Modern and Contemporary Political Theory3
POL 355Political Ideologies3

The option to complete the political science major online is available to students who have completed an associate’s degree (or the general education requirements for the bachelor’s degree). If interested, please meet with the department chair.

All students must complete the general education, college core, major/minor, and university degree requirements in order to qualify for a degree. The easiest way to track all of these requirements is to refer to the Advisement Report (AR) found in the Student Information System (WINGS) Student Center. All enrolled students have access to the AR. 

College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CASSH/VPA) Bachelor of Science core requirements

The following conditions apply to one or both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees:

  1. Students majoring in English (writing and rhetoric or literary and cultural studies emphases) or in the department of global cultures and languages must earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Education majors earn a Bachelor of Science degree; English major: medical professions emphasis majors may earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree.
  2. Students majoring in other CASSH programs may choose either a B.A. or a B.S. degree.
  3. Language courses (ARA, CHI, FRE, GCL, GER, HMG, JPN, RUS, SPA) used to fulfill general education requirement: "Mathematical/logical systems and modern languages" (GE 02, category 2) may also be used to meet the B.A. and B.S. language requirements.
  4. All other courses used to meet the requirements below must be in addition to the minimum 42 credits required in the General Education Program.
  5. At least one course in the B.A. or B.S. college degree program (core requirements) must be a CASSH designated diversity course.
  6. Applicable courses may be found on the CASSH B.A./B.S. Degree Option Course List or in the Advisement Report (AR) when the degree has been declared.

Courses used to fulfill general education requirements will not apply to core requirements except for language courses (ARA, CHI, FRE, GCL, GER, HMG, JPN, RUS, SPA) that count in the general education requirement: "Mathematical/logical systems and modern languages" (GE 02, category 2).

Bachelor of Science students complete four courses outside the department of the student's major as follows:
  1. A lab science course (from the general education list); and
  2. A social science course; and
  3. Another social science or general education natural science, or math course, or an approved CASSH alternative (ENV 101, PHL 334, PHL 339); and
  4. One additional course in humanities or fine arts or complete a global cultures and languages course 102 level or higher.
In addition to all other College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities core requirements, all students in CASSH must complete a second major, minor, or program option by satisfying one of the following:
  1. Complete a minor (or second major) outside of the student's major program, consisting of at least 18 credits; or
  2. Complete an emphasis, program or concentration of at least 18 credits outside the student's major program. General education courses may apply provided they are not being used to fulfill minimum general education requirements; or
  3. Complete 18 credits in two or more departments or programs (at least 12 credits earned at the 300/400 level). These courses must be outside the student's major department and can be from any college. General education courses may apply provided they are not being used to fulfill minimum general education requirements.

Baccalaureate degree requirements

Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degrees must accomplish the following:

  1. Fulfill the general education requirements.
  2. Complete at least one ethnic studies (diversity) course.
  3. Complete the courses prescribed by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for the degree desired in the respective school or college.
  4. Earn a minimum of 120 semester credits with at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA.1, 2
  5. At least 40 credits must be earned in 300/400 level courses. Transfer courses earned or transferred at the 300/400 level apply to this requirement.
  6. Complete major and minor requirements with at least a 2.00 GPA1, 2 in each major and minor (and concentration or emphasis, if selected).
  7. A minimum of 30 semester credits in residence at UWL is required for graduation. (See undergraduate resident requirement.)
  8. Submit an application for graduation via the "Apply for Graduation" link in the WINGS Student Center as soon as the student has registered for his or her final semester or summer term in residence. December and winter intersession graduates should apply by May 1. May and summer graduates should apply by December 1.

Grade point average requirements for some programs will be considerably higher than 2.00. Re-entering students may be required to earn credits in excess of the 120 needed for graduation in any curriculum in order to replace credits earned in courses in which the content has changed substantially in recent years. Each case will be judged on its own merit.


The grade point average recorded at the time the degree is awarded will not be affected by future enrollment.

No degree will be awarded unless all requirements are fulfilled and recorded within 30 days after the official ending date of each term.

Below is a sample degree plan that can be used as a guide to identify courses required to fulfill the major and other requirements needed for degree completion. A student's actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Also, this sample plan assumes readiness for each course and/or major plan, and some courses may not be offered every term. Review the course descriptions or the class timetable for course offering information.

The sample degree plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UWL in the fall term. Students should use the Advisement Report (AR) in WINGS and work closely with their faculty advisor(s) and college dean’s office to ensure declaration and completion of all requirements in a timely manner.

General Education Program
The general education curriculum (Gen Ed) is the common educational experience for all undergraduates at UWL. Sample degree plans include Gen Ed placeholders to ensure completion of the general education requirements. Courses may be rearranged to fit the needs or recommendations of the student’s program of study. Gen Ed courses may be taken during winter term (January between the semesters) and summer to reduce the course load during regular terms (fall and spring). Students should consult with their advisor and/or the college academic services director in their college/school for assistance with course and schedule planning. Refer to the general education requirements for more specific details.

At least 40 credits of the 120 credits required must be earned at the 300/400-level. 

Note: New students and transfer students with 15 or fewer credits earned are required to take FYS 100 First-Year Seminar (3 cr.) during one of their first two semesters at UWL.

This sample degree plan does not establish a contractual agreement. It identifies the minimum requirements a student must successfully complete, to qualify for a degree, in a format intended to assist the student in planning their academic career. Actual degree plans may differ.

Year 1
POL 101 or 102 (Gen Ed Self & Society)3POL 2513
FYS 100 (Gen Ed First-Year Seminar)3Gen Ed Minority Cultures3
Gen Ed Arts2-3ENG 110 or 112 (Gen Ed Literacy - Written)3
STAT 145 (Gen Ed Math)4Gen Ed Natural Lab Science4
CST 110 (Gen Ed Literacy - Oral)3Gen Ed World History3
 15 16
Year 2
POL 234 (Gen Ed Global Studies)3POL 2443
CASSH Core Course3POL 361 or 26113
Gen Ed Lang/Logical Systems3-4Minor Course3
Gen Ed Arts2-3Gen Ed Health & Well-Being3
 University Elective3
 13 15
Year 3
Gen Ed Humanistic Studies3Minor Course3
Minor Course3University Elective3
CASSH Core Course (Natural Lab Science)4Minor Course3
POL 300/400 Areas of Inquiry3CASSH Core Diversity Course3
University Elective3POL 300/400 Areas of Inquiry3
 16 15
Year 4
Minor Course3POL 4943
POL 300/400 Elective3CASSH Core Course3
University Elective3Minor Course3
POL 300/400 Areas of Inquiry3University Elective 3
CASSH Core Course3University Elective3
 15 15
Total Credits: 120

Political science majors have the option of taking POL 261 or POL 361; however, students considering graduate school are encouraged to take both.