Academics Banner

Requirements


Major Requirements

A student majoring in Political Science and Legal Studies must successfully complete (with a grade of C or better) a minimum of twelve courses (fourteen if the student is concentrating in Legal Studies or Criminal Law; see the requirements listed below) including:

1) Five required introductory courses:

  • Introduction to Political Science
  • Introduction to American Government
  • International Politics I or II
  • Comparative Politics I or II
  • Introduction to Political Thought

2) Six electives (or eight required courses if the student chooses the Legal Studies or Criminal Law concentrations; see the requirements listed under these concentrations).  Four of these electives must be taken in one of the following fields of study and the other two courses must be taken in either of the remaining two fields:

  • American Government/Public Policy
  • International/Comparative Politics
  • Legal Studies/Political Thought

Students may choose to take one of the six electives outside the department, subject to approval by their department advisor prior to registering for this course.

Senior Evaluation

There are two options for completing the Senior Evaluation, required of all Political Science majors:

  • To be accepted into the Political Science Honors Seminar, which requires a G.P.A. of 3.5 or above in the major, or
  • To enroll in and complete POS 3998 (Senior Evaluation)

Honors Program
Graduation with Honors in Political Science requires that a student complete the Honors Program.  Students are invited to join the program at the end of their junior year and, to be eligible, they should have taken at least three of the courses required for the major and maintained a 3.5 grade point average in all the courses taken for the major.  Students who enter the Honors Program complete both the Honors seminar and a senior thesis.  To receive departmental honors at graduation, it is necessary to earn at least a B+ on the thesis and to have an overall average of 3.5 in all courses taken for the major.

Legal Studies Program

The Legal Studies Program is designed to give students an overview of the American legal system, to help them understand the fundamentals of public and private law, and to acquaint them with the historical and philosophical roots of contemporary American law.

Students in this program learn to read challenging legal material, including cases and statutes, as well as works of legal history and philosophy.  They also learn how to write briefs, analyze complex legal arguments, and write effective essays in legal studies.  The courses have in-class oral arguments and mock trials in which students have a chance to simulate the roles of judges, witnesses, and attorneys in the daily practice of law.

Students majoring in Political Science may select Legal Studies as a concentration.  They must complete the eight courses listed below for the concentration, in addition to the five required Political Science courses and Senior Evaluation--for a total of fourteen courses.  The program is open, as a minor, to students majoring in other departments.  They must complete the same eight courses required for the concentration.

Requirements for Legal Studies Concentration

  • Introduction to Common Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Civil Liberties
  • Criminal Law or Criminal Procedure 
  • One course on Private Law *
  • One course on Perspective on Law * 
  • One Political Science elective in the fields of Criminal Law or Legal Studies plus
  • One Political Science elective outside the fields of Criminal Law or Legal Studies
  • (* See course descriptions for appropriate courses.)


Criminal Law Program

The Criminal Law Program, which is the same as the Political Science Department's program previously called Criminal Justice, is designed to give students an overview of the American criminal justice system, to help them understand the fundamentals of American criminal law and procedure, and to acquaint them with the historical and philosophical roots of the contemporary American legal and criminal justice system.  Students in Criminal Law, as in Legal Studies, read challenging legal material, learn how to write briefs, analyze complex legal arguments, and write effective and persuasive essays.  The courses have in-class oral arguments and mock trials with students simulating the roles of judges, jurors, witnesses, and attorneys in the daily practice of law.

Students majoring in Political Science may elect Criminal Law as a concentration.  They must complete the eight courses listed below for the concentration, in addition to the five required Political Science courses and Senior Evaluation--for a total of fourteen courses.  The program is also open, as a minor, to students majoring in other departments.  They must complete the same eight courses required for the concentration.

Requirements for Criminal Law Concentration

  • Introduction to Common Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Constitutional Law or Civil Liberties
  • One course on Private Law *
  • One course on Perspective on Law *
  • One Political Science elective in the fields of Criminal Law or Legal Studies plus
  • One Political Science elective outside the fields of Criminal Law or Legal Studies

(* See course descriptions for appropriate courses.)

Minor in Political Science

Students must complete five courses for a minor in Political science.  Two must be selected from among the five Departmental introductory courses required of all majors.  The remaining three are electives chosen by the student from Departmental offerings. 

Minor in Legal Studies

Students must complete the same eight courses required for a concentration in this field.  (See "Legal Studies concentration" above.) All courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. 

Minor in Criminal Law

Students must complete the same eight courses required for a concentration in this field.  (See "Criminal Law" concentration above.)  All courses must be completed with a grade of 'C' or better.