University General Course Catalog 2023-2024 
    Jul 22, 2024  
University General Course Catalog 2023-2024

Political Science, B.A.

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A degree in Political Science helps students think and act more effectively in our complex world, serving as a gateway to careers in policymaking, lobbying, campaign management, law, consulting, nonprofit management, risk analysis, the public sector, and more. The field analyzes politics and government in all their intricacies, considering broad questions of justice, war, peace, policymaking, culture, and economics. Across five distinct areas of study ranging from American politics to international relations—and through a broad range of internships and research opportunities—the program prepares students to develop and apply innovative approaches to local, national, and global challenges. Amid the program’s wide range of interests and approaches lies a common concern with all things “political,” including current issues, institutions, behavior, power, ethics, and public goods. This common interest in the public aspects of human society allows students to better consider the uses of power and persuasion, the ideas that shape social and political movements, and the nature of core governing institutions.

The undergraduate political science curriculum at the University of Nevada, Reno is divided into five subfields:

American Politics: The American politics subfield focuses on the political behavior of the public U.S. political institutions, and how they interact. Topics include public opinion, voting, campaigns and elections, political psychology, political identity, Congress, the presidency and bureaucracy, the courts, the media, state and local governments, and interest groups.

Comparative Politics. This subfield seeks to understand and explain socio-political, economic and historical outcomes through comparisons of socio-political, economic and cultural entities and forces between and within countries. Comparativists study political institutions, political organizations, political behavior across state and sub-state venues with a goal of understanding the how and why of politics in a variety of contexts.  

International Relations. The International Relations subfield covers interactions, cooperation, and conflict among states and between states and non-state actors. Topics of study include theories of international relations, conflict, foreign policy, national and international security, international law and organizations, global environmental policy, human rights, human security, and international political economy.

Political Theory. The Political Theory area includes political philosophy and its history, contemporary political ideologies, democratic theory, and political ethics.

Public Administration and Policy. This area includes topics such as foundations of public service, public human resource management, organizational theory and behavior, public budgeting, public policy process, policy analysis, policy implementation, and a variety of substantive topics such as environmental policy, and energy politics and policy.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • demonstrate critical thinking, writing and communication skill.
  • demonstrate knowledge of government systems, electoral processes, and public policy processes and outcomes.
  • demonstrate knowledge of international systems, diversity and cross-cultural issues.

Contact Information

Department of Political Science
Thompson Building 221
(775) 784-4601

College of Liberal Arts Student Center
Thompson Building 221
(775) 682-8745

Transfer to the University of Nevada, Reno

Use the transfer agreement  and the degree planner (available by clicking Print degree planner icon at the top right of this page) to build your plan for graduation with your advisor. Course substitutions not identified on the transfer agreement require UNR advisor approval.

If a major-to-major transfer agreement is not available for your transfer institution, please check the General Core agreement  if available. If neither is available, access Transferology to assist in your planning.

Graduation Requirements

  • Total Units | 120
  • Cumulative GPA | 2.0
  • University GPA | 2.0
  • Major GPA | 2.0
  • Residency Requirement |  30 Upper-Division Units at UNR
  • Major Residency Requirement | 15 Upper-Division Units in the major at UNR
  • Upper-Division Requirement | 42 Upper-Division Units

I. Core General Education Requirements (24-27 units)

NOTE: Refer to the Core Curriculum chapter of this catalog for information regarding  the “Core English and Math Completion Policy  .”

Students in this major must meet all Core Objectives (CO1 through CO14). Courses satisfying Core Objectives are designated (e.g., CO9) in General Catalog curricula and course descriptions.

A. Composition & Communication; Critical Analysis & Use of Information (3-6 units) - CO1, CO3

B. Quantitative Reasoning (3 units minimum) - CO2

Refer to the Core Curriculum chapter for a list of approved CO2 courses .

C. Physical & Natural Phenomena (6 units minimum) - CO4, CO4L

Refer to the Core Curriculum chapter for a list of approved CO4/CO4L courses .

D. Cultures, Societies, & Individuals (3 units) - CO6

E. Artistic Composition, Interpretation, & Expression (3 units) - CO7

Refer to the Core Curriculum chapter for a list of approved CO7  courses.

F. History & Culture (6 units) - CO5

Refer to the Core Curriculum chapter for a list of approved CO5  courses. CH 201  and CH 202  are recommended.

G. Constitution (0 units) - CO8

  • (3 units) CO6, CO8 (units counted for CO6)
  • NOTE: Students who earned credit for PSC 101 or an equivalent outside the Nevada System of Higher Education must also complete PSC 100 to satisfy this requirement. An alternate course satisfying the Nevada Constitution requirement may be substituted for PSC 100 with advisor approval.

II. Additional Core Requirements (18 units maximum)

Students must take courses that satisfy the following Core Objectives. Some or all of these Core Objectives may be satisfied in the Major Requirements (Section IV).  Refer to the Core Curriculum  chapter in this catalog.

A. Science, Technology & Society - CO9

Choose one course. The following recommended course can also be used in the Major Requirement.

B. Diversity & Equity - CO10

Choose one course. The following recommended courses can also be used in the Major Requirement.

C. Global Contexts - CO11

Choose one course. The following recommended courses can also be used in the Major Requirement.

D. Ethics - CO12

Choose one course. The following recommended courses can also be used in the Major Requirement.

E. Capstone Integration & Synthesis - CO13

Choose one course. The following recommended courses can also be used in the Major Requirement.

F. Application - CO14

Choose one course. The following recommended PSC courses can also be used in the Major Requirement.

III. Additional College Requirements (6-20 units)

Units may vary depending on initial course placement in foreign language coursework.

A. World Language Requirement (0-14 units)

Students seeking this bachelor’s degree must demonstrate proficiency in a world language other than English equal to a fourth semester course level through one of the following options:

  1. complete a fourth semester college course in a world language other than English;
  2. demonstrate proficiency through a means determined by the Department of World Languages and Literatures including but not limited to minimum standardized test scores (CBAPE, SAT II, or IB), attaining a minimum aptitude on an accredited world language assessment test, or providing transcript evidence of a high school or equivalent diploma in which English was not the language of instruction; or,
  3. participate in a study abroad language program pre-approved by the Department of World Languages and Literatures to meet the world language requirement. 

Note: Four years of high school world language instruction does not automatically satisfy this requirement.

B. College Breadth Requirement (6 units)

Students seeking a Bachelor of Arts degree in the college shall be required to take, within the College of Liberal Arts, 6 units that are outside the departments in which they major or minor, and that exclude courses taken to fulfill the Core General Education requirements (Core Objectives 1 through 8).

IV. Major Requirements (27 units)

Eighteen of the 27 units must be taken at the 300-400 level. A maximum of 6 units in internship courses may be used to fulfill the major requirements.

A. Required Courses (0 units)

B. Group Distribution Requirement (15 units)

Complete one Political Science course from each of the following five fields. Courses listed under multiple fields can only be used toward one group.

C. Political Science Electives (12 units)

Any PSC or IAFF course numbered 100-499 not already used to satisfy the requirements of sections A and B above may be counted toward the elective requirement. Refer to the Course Descriptions chapter of this catalog for a full list of PSC and IAFF courses.

V. Minor Requirements (18-21 units)

The Political Science department accepts any minor approved by the College of Liberal Arts.

VI. Electives (7-42 units)

VII. Recommended Schedule

A. First Year

Fall Semester (13 units)

Spring Semester (16-17 units)

B. Second Year

Fall Semester (15-16 units)

  • (3 units) CO5
  • Physical & Natural Phenomena (3-4 units) CO4 or CO4L

  • Foreign Language 211 (3 units)
  • College Breadth Requirements (3 units)
  • 100-200 Level PSC Major (3 units)

Spring Semester (15 units)

  • (3 units) CO5
  • Foreign Language 212 (3 units)
  • 100-200 Level Minor (3 units)
  • 100-200 Level PSC Major (3 units)
  • Diversity & Equity (3 units) CO10

C. Third Year

Fall Semester (15 units)

  • PSC Major (6 units)
  • College Breadth Requirement (3 units)
  • General Elective (6 units) 

Spring Semester (15 units)

  • 300-400 Level PSC Major (6 units)
  • 300-400 Level Minor (6 units)
  • Science, Technology & Society (3 units) CO9

D. Fourth Year

Fall Semester (15 units)

  • 300-400 Level PSC Major (6 units)
  • Capstone Integration & Synthesis (3 units) CO13
  • Minor (3 units)
  • 300-400 Level Minor (3 units)

Spring Semester (15 units)

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