2023-2024 Catalog 
    May 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog

Politics Major

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The controversies that grip our world make the study of politics more intriguing now than ever before. Our program encompasses the examination of traditional government structures and processes, as well as other key sites of political activity, from non-governmental organizations to social media.

We want our students to develop skills in critical thinking, modes of analysis, and research that will last long after graduation. This means that within the classroom, we want to expose students to both government and politics, to formal institutions and processes, as well as the dynamics of the power and politics, both inside and outside of government structures, that run our system.

We also want to convey to our students a sense of civic responsibility by providing them with opportunities for experiential learning outside the classroom.

Consistent with the university’s mission, our program is concerned with issues of peace, economic development, and human rights both at home and abroad.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Master and critically analyze key political concepts, systems, and institutions in global, national and local contexts
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills and formulate and defend a thesis in written and oral form
  • Design, implement and communicate original research
  • Develop skills in collective deliberation, through collaboration and engaging diverse viewpoints
  • Examine the relationship between the theories and practices of politics through structured service learning opportunities

Major Requirements (44 units)

Introductory Sequence (8 units)

Students must complete two 100-level Politics courses. Students must complete at least one 100-level Politics course before taking a 200-level course.

Electives (20 units)

Students must complete five 300-level Politics courses. Students should complete at least one 300-level course before taking a 400-level course.

Politics Internship or Politics Community Engaged Learning (4 units)

Students must complete at least one Politics course to fulfill the Politics Internship/Community Engaged Learning Requirement. 

If you take more than one POLS Internship/CEL course, the second course will count toward your Politics Elective units.

Senior Honors Thesis and Seminar

For those who have most excelled in their Politics courses and achieved at least a 3.5 GPA in their major, the Department offers the option of enrolling in POLS 495 - Senior Pol - Honors Seminar . Enrollment is competitive and based on successful application; a call for rising seniors to apply is sent to eligible students before the spring registration period. The seminar is offered every fall, and taught on a rotating basis by department faculty on themes ranging from justice, to participation, to foreign policy. Over the course of the semester, students design, research, and write a substantial and original thesis. The course culminates in a public presentation. POLS 495 may be used to satisfy the research requirement for the major. It is also a requirement for graduating with Honors in Politics.

Major in Politics with Honors

In order to graduate with honors in politics students must complete the requirements for a major in politics plus these additional requirements:

  • Have at least both a 3.5 overall GPA and 3.5 GPA within the major at the time of your final semester.
  • Completion of the Senior Honors Thesis and Seminar course with the grade of a ‘B+’ or better.
  • During your final semester, if you qualify from meeting the above requirements, a call will be made for you to submit a 1-2 page Statement of Leadership/Service to the USF or greater community which details how you have applied your education as a Politics Major practically in the community - and in a way which both reflects and compliments your completion of a degree in Politics. Your statement should highlight work done outside requirements for courses at USF (i.e. not including service for which you received internship or service learning credit). These statements will then be reviewed by select faculty and approved students will be conferred Honors in Politics at their Graduation ceremony.

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