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Adding an area of emphasis to your Political Science degree allows you to customize your major, add structure to your degree plan, and focus your undergraduate coursework. Additional benefits include specialized coursework, advanced degree and career preparation, and networking opportunities. Areas of emphasis will appear on your diploma and official transcripts – certifying your accomplishments within that transcripted emphasis area.

Students need a number of upper division Political Science electives for their major requirements. If declared in an emphasis, they must complete at least 5 courses (15 credit hours) of those electives from options within the selected area in order to officially earn that area of emphasis. Students may pursue only one transcripted area of emphasis. For more information or to declare your area of emphasis, please contact your academic advisor.

Are you having issues with your Audit?
If you have courses from the lists below that do not appear to be counting towards your area of emphasis on your audit, please send a detailed email (from your uMail account) that includes your student ID number and concerns to

Planning an internship related to your emphasis?

We can accept 3 credits of a relevant internship to contribute towards the completion of your emphasis. You will need to email or meet with an advisor to have the substitution made. 

Special Topics
Our department sometimes offers courses in special topics (usually sections of POLS 3960, POLS 5960, or 5810) where the title and content are up to the determination of the instructor. If the topic for a special topics course in a given semester relates to your emphasis, email or meet with an advisor to request a substitution be made for the class to count towards your emphasis. 

Community Involvement and Political Activism

Best for students focused on understanding the theories and practices of community engagement and political advocacy. Coursework will lead to an in-depth understanding of pressing political problems and approaches to social change, from the local to global levels. Perfect for students who are preparing for careers in grassroots campaigns, nonprofit administration, community organizing, or public service, as well as those wishing to pursue graduate degrees in this area. 

Course Options

POLS 2500 US of Inequality
POLS 3010 Democratic Theory
POLS 3020 Neighborhood Democracy
POLS 3025 Democracy and Social Justice
POLS 3030 State and Local Government
POLS 3140 Gender and Politics
POLS 3160 Campaign Management
POLS 3190 Racial and Ethnic Politics
POLS 3390 Introduction to Environmental and Sustainable Politics
POLS 3700 Urban Politics
POLS 3827 Student Lab for Social Change
POLS 5140 Feminist Political Thought
POLS 5324 Disability Studies
POLS 5540 Nonprofit Advocacy
POLS 5545 Public and Nonprofit Organizations: Media and Public Relations
POLS 5550 Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Organizations
POLS 5570 Management of Nonprofit Organizations
POLS 5595 Understanding Nonprofit Strategy & Outcomes

International Politics 

Ideal for students who are interested in studying cooperation and conflict among countries and other supra-national actors, such as international governmental organizations (United Nations, European Union, etc.) and non-governmental organizations (Greenpeace, International Labor Organization, etc.). Excellent for students seeking careers with an international context or those eager to pursue additional education related to international politics or law.

Course Options

POLS 2100 Introduction to International Relations
POLS 3410 European Politics
POLS 3420 Islam and Politics
POLS 3440 Comparative Politics of the Middle East
POLS 3520 Government and Politics of Mexico 
POLS 3530 Peace and Conflict in Asia
POLS 3550 Comparative Politics of Latin America
POLS 3620 United Nations
POLS 3680 Globalization and World Politics
POLS 4400 Introduction to Islam
POLS 5085 Islam and Democracy
POLS 5400 Parliaments, Presidents, and Parties: Comparative Institutions
POLS 5410 New Democracies
POLS 5420 The European Union
POLS 5440 Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict
POLS 5450 Political Violence/Terrorism
POLS 5460 International Relations of Africa
POLS 5470 International Relations of the Middle East
POLS 5480 International Relations of East Asia
POLS 5600 Democracy in Latin America
POLS 5610 International Law
POLS 5625 International Ethics
POLS 5630 Global Governance
POLS 5660 American Foreign Policy
POLS 5670 U.S. National Security Policy
POLS 5680 Chinese Foreign Policy
POLS 5690 Foundations of International Security
POLS 5710 Introduction to International Political Economy
POLS 5750 The Rise of Global Power
POLS 5800 Theories of International Relations

Public Policy

Optimal for students who wish to focus on the study of how public policies are made, implemented, and evaluated. Great for students interested in long-term public policy work or those seeking a graduated degree in public administration – Master of Public Administration (MPA) or Master of Public Policy (MPP).

Course Options

POLS 2700 Introduction to Public Administration
POLS 3170 Interest Groups
POLS 3180 Voting, Elections, and Public Opinion
POLS 3320 Introduction to Public Policy and Analysis
POLS 3390 Introduction to Environmental and Sustainability Policy
POLS 5170 Politics and the American Economy
POLS 5320 Public Policy Theories and Applications
POLS 5321 Health Policy
POLS 5322 Environmental and Sustainability Policy
POLS 5323 Policy Analysis
POLS 5510 Water Policy and Politics
POLS 5540 Nonprofit Advocacy
POLS 5545 Public & Nonprofit Organizations Media & Public Relations
POLS 5550 Nonprofit & Nongovernmental Organizations
POLS 5660 American Foreign Policy
POLS 5670 U.S. National Security Policy
POLS 5750 The Rise of Global Capitalism
POLS 5965 Special Topics in Public Administration

Law and Politics

Perfect for students who wish to study the normative basis for law in democratic societies, the creation and administration of laws, and the normative and empirical evaluation of law. Ideal for students interested in careers related to the administration of law or those hoping to pursue a law degree – the Juris Doctor degree (J.D.).

Course Options

POLS 3000 Liberalism and Its Critics
POLS 3110 U.S. Congress
POLS 3120 Political Parties
POLS 3150 The American Presidency
POSL 3200 Introduction to Law and Politics
POLS 3220 Jurisprudence of Criminal Law
POLS 5100 Advanced American National Government
POLS 5120 Judicial Process
POLS 5211 Constitutional Law
POLS 5212 Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
POLS 5610 International Law
POLS 5625 International Ethics


Last Updated: 11/9/22