Jul 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science Pathway Guide

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.

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

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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 Common 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 Common 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.

B.A. in Political Science

SCHs = Semester Credit Hours

First Year

WRTR 10XX - First Year Writing ENGL 1301 3
PLSC 1320 - Introduction to American Government and Politics   GOVT 2301 3
CC Math Course Choose One: MATH 1324, MATH 1332, MATH 1325, MATH 1425, MATH 2413, MATH 2320, MATH 1342, BUSN 2305 3
CC Breadth Course - Creativity and Aesthetics Choose One: ARTS 1301, ARTS 1316, ARTS 2316, ARTS 2326, ARTS 2333, ARTS 2346, ARTS 2356, DRAM 1351, HUMA 1315, MUSI 1306 3
World Language Course* 4
  SCHs 16
Spring TCCN SCHs
WRTR 10YY - First Year Writing II ENGL 1302 3
PLSC 1340 - Introduction to Comparative Politics   GOVT 2371 3
SPCH 10XX SPCH 1315 3
CC Breadth Course - Social and Behavioral Sciences Choose One: ANTH 2351, GOVT 2305, GOVT 2371, PSYC 2301, PSYC 2314, PSYC 2319, SOCI 1301 3
World Language Course* 4
  SCHs 16

Second Year

ECO 1311 - Principles of Microeconomics: Consumers, Firms, and Markets   ECON 2302 3
CC Breadth Course - Literary Analysis and Interpretation Choose One: ENGL 2321, ENGL 2322, ENGL 2323, ENGL 2326, ENGL 2327, ENGL 2328, ENGL 2331, ENGL 2332, ENGL 2333 3
CC Breadth Course - Exploring Science Choose One: BIOL 1406, BIOL 1407, BIOL 1408, BIOL 1411, BIOL 2401, BIOL 2402, CHEM 1405, CHEM 1411, CHEM 1412, ENVR 1401, ENVR 1402, GEOL 1401, GEOL 1403, GEOL 1405, GEOL 1445, PHYS 1401, PHYS 1402, PHYS 1403, PHYS 1405, PHYS 1404, PHYS 1407, PHYS 1415, PHYS 1417, PHYS 2425, PHYS 2426 4
Second major, minor or elective courses 6
  SCHs 16
Spring TCCN SCHs
CC Breadth Course - Historical Contexts Choose One: ARTS 1303, ARTS 1304, HIST 1301, HIST 1302, HIST 2321, HIST 2322 3
CC Breadth Course - Philosophical, Religious and Ethical Inquiry Choose One: PHIL 1301, PHIL 1304, PHIL 2303, PHIL 2306 3
CC Breadth Course - Technological Advances and Society Choose One: COSC 1301/1401, BCIS 1305, COSC 1309 3
Second major, minor or elective courses 6
  SCHs 15


*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) credit hours, including 6 credit 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 advisers at least once a semester. Students are encouraged to seek both curricular and postgraduate/career advice from faculty advisers 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-credit hour minor concentrations, one general in nature and three specifically focused. The basic requirement is 18 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 strongly suggested for the Law and Legal Reasoning minor. Students must take a minimum of 18 credit hours.

SMU Degree

A degree from SMU is typically comprised of a minimum of 120 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 Common Curriculum (CC)  
  • Elective courses. These electives may also be used to add a second major or minor

The Common Curriculum (CC)

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

  1. Foundations - 6 hours of Writing courses, 3 hours of Quantitative Reasoning courses, proficiency in a second language. 
  2. Breadth - 7 Breadth courses which may double count with majors and minors.
  3. Proficiencies and Experiences - 8 Proficiencies and Experiences requirements, met through coursework or approved, noncredit activities.

NOTE: If you transfer with 23 or fewer credit hours and/or transfer in your first year out of high school, transfer work earned prior to high school graduation (dual/concurrent credit) will not satisfy CC requirements.


Apply Now!

Click here for more information about transferring to SMU.