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Shape the Future of Politics and Governance

Political Science Undergraduate Major and Minor

Prof. Daniel McDowell teaching in front of a class

students make political science one of the largest programs in Maxwell

take classes and study in Albany; Washington, D.C.; or internationally


undergraduate political science concentrations to choose from

B.A. in Political Science (30 credits)

To complete a major, students must take 10 courses in political science and choose an area of specialization by taking at least three courses in that area. This curriculum is designed to be flexible so students can spend time away from campus and focus on areas of personal and professional interests.

Minor in Political Science (18 credits)

A minor in political science is a strong companion to any degree program at Syracuse University. The flexible minor curriculum allows you to customize your course selection based on your academic and professional areas of interest. To complete the minor, you must complete one lower-divison required course and five upper-division electives of your choosing.
Check out the Course Catalog for a complete list of requirements for the major and minor in political science.

Core Requirements

Majors must complete two required courses (listed below), an additional lower-division course (100 or 200 level), six upper-division courses and an additional course at any level.

American National Government and Politics

Students will learn about American political institutions, including the basic principles embedded in structure and practices of American government. This course also deals with the practical consequences of this political system for the citizen.

Introduction to Political Analysis

This course serves as an introduction to important political science concepts, including the basics of political argumentation and reasoning, as well as basic quantitative research and analysis techniques.

Political Science Concentrations

Political science majors will be exposed to political inquiry across a broad array of substantive topics, while also concentrating in one of the areas listed below. Students must take three courses in one of these concentrations.

American Politics

Courses in this area focus on the structure of the U.S. political system, including congressional politics, the judicial process, the presidency, politics and media, the role of money in politics and special interest groups, constitutional law and more.

Comparative Politics

This area allows students to compare political systems in the U.S. to foreign governments. Students can choose to learn about the politics of given regions like the European Union, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and more.

International Politics

U.S. foreign policy is one aspect covered in this subject area. Students can also choose courses dealing with international security, international law, human rights, globalization, international organizations, ethics in international relations and more.

Law and Courts

This area focuses on the judicial process, including the Supreme Court's role in American politics. Courses are also offered in constitutional law, international law, the philosophy of law and gender issues in law.

Political Economy

Students can choose classes that deal with money and politics, including the political economy of development, the developing world, European integration, global migration and more.

Political Theory

This concentration takes a focused approach to concepts like justice, equality and rights. Students can choose courses on the foundations of American political thought, ethics, power and identity, the role of religion and more. 

Public Policy

Learn more about the development of public policy in key areas affecting society. Students will take courses on the politics of U.S. public policy, environmental politics and policy, interest group politics, technology and global migration.

Race, Gender, Class

This concentration focuses on the important influences of race, gender and class in today's political environment. Students can choose topics like American social movements, gender and politics, human rights, ethnic conflict, populism and conspiracy culture and more.

Security Studies

Students can choose to learn more about issues that threaten the security of nations and people. Courses focus on international security, refugees, international law, politics and the military, political conflict, revolutions and humanitarian action in world politics.
Gretchen Coleman

Vote of Confidence

Gretchen Coleman founded Ballot Z to increase youth voting in her home state of Illinois. She says her studies, combined with Ballot Z and the possibility of a Truman Scholarship—the nation’s premier award for those pursuing public service leadership—will help prepare her for a career in election reform. “Many young people don’t vote because they don’t realize how easy it is to do.”

Gretchen Coleman '22

B.A. political science, B.A. political philosophy

Read Gretchen's story

Political Science Department
100 Eggers Hall