The Political Science major is designed to maximize flexibility for students so they can pursue a unique course of study that focuses on their interests. Preparation for the political science undergraduate major requires the completion of four courses that introduce students to political concepts and provides training in analytical and critical thinking: POLS 101, 102, 103 or 104, and a statistics or logic course. Students need to receive a grade of C or better in these four courses and have an overall GPA of 2.4 or higher in order to move from the premajor to the major.
Majors take a minimum of nine upper-division courses in Political Science with at least one class in each of four subfields (Political Theory, American Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Politics). Four additional electives can be chosen from any upper-division Political Science courses. In their senior year students complete a capstone, which can either be an internship, thesis, or 500-level course. Even though it is not required many Political Science majors obtain a minor, as the flexibility of the major allows students to complete a minor (or in some cases a second major) and still graduate in four years.
Preparation for the Major
The political science major is an impacted program. To be admitted to the political science major, students must meet the following criteria:
Complete with a grade of C or higher (12 units):
Political Science 101
Political Science 102
Political Science 103 or 104
Three units of either statistics or logic (Political Science 201; Economics 201; Psychology 280; Sociology 201; Statistics 119, 250; Philosophy 120).
Have a cumulative GPA of 2.40 or higher.
Requirements for the Major
A minimum of 27 upper-division units to include:
Twenty-four upper-division units in political science (students are permitted to take up to six units selected from Africana Studies 321, 322, American Indian Studies 485, Women’s Studies 375), provided that at least three units are taken in each field.
Field I. Political Theory: Political Science 301A-301B, 302, 305, 406, 507, 510.
Field II. American Politics: Political Science 320, 321, 322, 331 [or American Indian Studies 331], 333, 334 [or Sustainability 334], 335, 336, 338, 346, 347A-347B, 348, 422, 425, 426, 428, 430, 435, 436, 440 [or Geography 440], 530, 531, 533, 535, 541.
Field III. Comparative Politics: Political Science 356, 359, 361, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 370, 555, 560, 562, 564, 565, 566, 567, 568.
Field IV. International Politics: Political Science 375, 380, 393, 478, 479, 482, 485, 575, 577
A three-unit capstone requirement, fulfilled by Political Science 495, 497B, 498, or any 500-level political science course excluding Political Science 516.
How do I declare political science as my minor, major, or second major?
Declaring the minor or major is easy -- there are no deadlines, fees, or hassles. Just drop by the department office (NH 126) anytime to pick up a list of undergraduate advisors and office hours, then visit one of the department's advisors for signature and informational materials.
What is impaction, and how does it affect me?
Because demand for seats at SDSU runs far ahead of supply, many popular majors have had to implement various formulas for enrollment management. In the political science department you are initially admitted as a "premajor," and earn the opportunity to move into the major by clearing the following "impaction" requirements:
Cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.4 or higher.
Complete a minimum of 30-semester units.
Complete 12 units "preparation for the major" with a C or better in all four courses (Pol S 101, Pol S 102, Pol S 103, or Pol S 104, and a course in statistics or logic (see requirements worksheet below for a list of approved courses)
Impaction does not affect political science minors.
What is the difference between a premajor and a major?
Premajor is a temporary status assigned while you demonstrate the ability to succeed in political science courses. Until you have cleared the impaction criteria, you will remain a premajor. You will automatically advance into the major once you have completed your premajor requirements. If you are not automatically advanced, speak to the undergraduate advisor.Premajors can do nearly everything majors can do. You may take nearly all of our courses (including upper division) and earn credits toward your BA degree. However, premajors cannot enroll in a thesis or internship, nor can they apply for graduation. It is therefore imperative that you clear impaction requirements and move into the major before you attempt to graduate.
Can I take upper-division courses even though I am still a premajor?
You can enroll in upper-division coursework once you have completed your premajor requirements, even if you are still formally in the premajor. If you are nearing completion of your premajor requirements and you feel competent in political science and confident enough to face the challenge of more advanced coursework, you may also proceed with 300- or even 400- level coursework. Any units you earn as a premajor will apply to your major.
What are the requirements for the political science major?
Political science is a 39 unit major. Like all Bachelor of Arts degrees, it requires clearance of the writing proficiency and foreign language requirements. In addition, you need 12 lower division and 27 upper-division units of political science. Political science is divided into specialized fields; majors are required to take at least one course in each of four fields (political theory, American politics, comparative politics, international politics), plus additional elective upper-division coursework, plus a senior "capstone" requirement of an internship, a senior thesis, or a 500- level course.
You may pick up a major requirement worksheet at the department office or from one of the undergraduate advisors.
Estimated Cost of Attendance (2020-21)
The total estimated cost of attendance includes tuition expenses for which you are billed, housing expenses, which include food and housing, and transportation, and additional expenses, such as books, supplies, and personal expenses. Costs of attendance are subject to change by the Trustees of the California State University without prior notice. The amounts indicated are the estimated minimum costs required to attend SDSU full time for the 2020–21 academic year (9 months):
Basic Tuition and Fees
Housing and Food†
Books and Supplies
Miscellaneous and Personal
*Undergraduate nonresident tuition is based on 15 units each semester at $396 per unit. Graduate nonresident tuition is based on 9 units each semester at $396 per unit.
†Freshmen from outside SDSU's local admission area are required to live on campus for two years. Be sure to review the on-campus food and housing payment schedule on the Rates web page of the Housing and Residential Education website. Your total cost and payments will vary depending on the meal plan and room type (double, single) you request. The cost listed for an upper-division transfer is based on a student living off-campus.
‡Plan for additional expenses that will increase your cost of attendance. For domestic undergraduates, we estimate the average annual cost of books and supplies to be $1,969, transportation to be $1,587, and personal expenses to be $1,704. For domestic graduate students, we estimate the average annual cost of books and supplies to be $1,969; transportation to be $2,316, and personal expenses to be $1,704. For international freshmen, the average annual cost of books and supplies is $1,969, transportation is $1,587. For international upper-division transfers, the average annual cost of books and supplies is $1,969, transportation is $2,038. For international graduate students, the average annual cost of books and supplies is $1,969, transportation is $2,316.
Basic Tuition and Fees
Housing and Food†
Books, Supplies, Transportation‡
*‡Based on one academic year of JCB student health insurance.