Jul 05, 2022  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science Pathway Guide

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Majors and Minors

Click here for more information about transferring to SMU.

Preparation for Transfer as a Political Science Major

The following sequences are suggested courses to take in your semesters prior to transferring to SMU as a political science major. For students attending a Texas public community college or university, Texas Common Course Numbers (TCCNS) are listed.  If you are transferring from a college or university outside of Texas, click on the SMU course for a course description which may be used to select/compare courses at your current institution.

UC listings refer to SMU’s University Curriculum, which all undergraduates are required to complete. Refer to the University Curriculum Transfer Guide for a list of courses satisfying UC components. Interactive equivalency guides organized by transfer institution are available on the Transfer and Transition Services’ website.

Save all of your course syllabi!

B.A. in Political Science

Semester II

Semester III

Semester IV


*The second language requirement may be satisfied by 1) transferring two terms of college courses in the same world language, 2) placing out of four terms of a world language by taking an SMU placement test or through AP or IB credit, or 3) being literate in a native language other than English.

SMU’s Political Science Department

The Political Science Department  offers an unusually broad curriculum covering the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, focusing on topics including international politics, domestic and international political economy, executive and legislative politics, and constitutional law.  

Classes are limited to 35 students at the introductory level and 30 at the advanced level.  All faculty members teach introductory courses, and all introductory courses are taught by faculty rather than graduate students.  The quality of the Department’s teaching is high, and the Department has an active, productive research faculty.  Students study with nationally visible faculty, are given the opportunity to become involved in significant research projects, and are eligible for summer or semester internships in Washington, D.C.

The John Goodwin Tower Center

The John Goodwin Tower Center provides undergraduates with unique opportunities to meet and interact with experts in international relations and comparative politics.  The Center brings a distinguished diplomat to campus each year.  Its primary mission is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service.   The Center also sponsors internships and research fellowships for undergraduate students.

Political Science Graduates

Previous graduates have gone on to law schools, to graduate programs in political science and international or area studies, to journalism, to MBA programs, and to government agencies such as the State Department and the Defense Department.

Majoring in Political Science

The Political Science Department  offers undergraduate courses in four subfields:  American Government and Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, and International Relations.  

The total requirement for the major is thirty-three (33) semester hours, including 6 hours of courses at the introductory level in two subfields. Students may also take one or more special studies courses – Internship, Directed Readings, and Distinction Thesis – at the discretion of individual instructors.

Each student majoring in Political Science is assigned a faculty advisor who must approve course registrations and withdrawals.  Thus, students visit with advisors at least once a semester.  Students are encouraged to seek both curricular and postgraduate/career advice from faculty advisors and, when appropriate, from other faculty in the Department.

Minoring in Political Science

In addition to the major, the Department offers five minors:

Minors in Political Science 

The Political Science Department offers four, 18-hour minor concentrations, one general in nature and three specifically focused.  The basic requirement is 18 semester hours of Political Science distributed among introductory courses and upper-level subfield courses.

Additionally, the minor in Law and Legal Reasoning provides a coherent grouping of courses from different disciplines, examining the foundations and applications of the law.  Specifically, the minor is designed to provide students with the knowledge of substantive law, along with the following skills: legal analysis and reasoning, oral advocacy, research and writing.

PLSC 1320 - Introduction to American Government and Politics  is a prerequisite to the Law and Legal Reasoning minor.  In addition to taking PLSC 1320 , students must take a minimum of 18 hours for a total of 21 hours..

Preparing for a Smooth Transition

A seamless transfer to SMU and the Political Science major requires planning. Transfer students who take time to prepare for their move to SMU are some of our most successful students. The following are a few important points to remember:

  • Completion of one or two introductory political science courses prior to transfer is strongly recommended.
  • The second language requirement of the University Curriculum  may be satisfied by 1) transferring two terms of college courses in the same world language, 2) placing out of four terms of world language by taking a SMU placement test or through AP or IB credit, or 3) being literate in a native language other than English.
  • SMU accepts AP scores of 4 or 5.
  • Work on the University Curriculum  prior to transfer is highly encouraged.
  • Compare Course Descriptions found in SMU’s University Catalog to course descriptions at your current institution to maximize your awarded transfer credits. 
  • For additional information on the Political Science major, visit our department homepage or call 214-768-4171.
  • For more information about transferring to SMU, click here or call 214-768-3417.

SMU Degree

A degree from SMU is typically comprised of a minimum of 122 hours, 60 of which must be completed through SMU, 42 of which must be in courses at the 3000 and higher levels. Components of the degree include:

  • Courses in your major
  • Courses required for the University Curriculum (UC)  
  • Elective courses.  These electives may also be used to add a second major or minor

The University Curriculum (UC)

The University Curriculum is required of all undergraduate students and consists of three main components: 

  1. Foundations - 6 hours of Discernment and Discourse courses, 3 hours of Quantitative Foundation courses, 2 hours of Personal Responsibility and Wellness courses, proficiency in a second language and 3 hours of a Ways of Knowing course (offered only at SMU)
  2. Breadth and Depth - 7 Breadth and 3 Depth courses which may double count with majors and minors
  3. Proficiencies and Experiences - 6 Proficiencies and Experiences requirements, met through Breadth and Depth coursework or approved, noncredit activities.

Apply Now!

Click here for more information about transferring to SMU.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Majors and Minors