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The Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

Total Course Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree: 120 units

See Bachelor's Degree Requirements in the University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements. A minimum of 40 units, including those required for the major, must be upper division.

A suggested Major Academic Plan (MAP) has been prepared to help students meet all graduation requirements within four years. You can view MAPs on the Degree MAPs page in the University Catalog or you can request a plan from your major advisor.

General Education Pathway Requirements: 48 units

See General Education in the University Catalog and the Class Schedule for the most current information on General Education Pathway Requirements and course offerings.

Diversity Course Requirements: 6 units

See Diversity Requirements in the University Catalog. Most courses taken to satisfy these requirements may also apply to General Education .

Literacy Requirement:

See Mathematics and Writing Requirements in the University Catalog. Writing proficiency in the major is a graduation requirement and may be demonstrated through satisfactory completion of a course in your major which has been designated as the Writing Proficiency (WP) course for the semester in which you take the course. Students who earn below a C- are required to repeat the course and earn a C- or higher to receive WP credit. See the Class Schedule for the designated WP courses for each semester. You must pass ENGL 130I or JOUR 130I (or equivalent) with a C- or higher before you may register for a WP course.

Course Requirements for the Major: 36-46 units

Completion of the following courses, or their approved transfer equivalents, is required of all candidates for this degree. Additional required courses, depending upon the selected option are outlined following the major core program requirements.

Major Core Program: 10 units

Foundation: 4 units

2 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: ENGL 130 or JOUR 130 (or equivalent) with a grade of C- or higher.
An introduction to the discipline of political science, with emphasis on the major controversy of substance and method therein. Should be taken at the beginning of the junior year. 3 hours lecture. This is an approved Writing Proficiency course; a grade of C- or better certifies writing proficiency for majors. (007495)
This course covers use of computers and the Internet in political science research. 3 hours independent study. Credit/no credit grading. (007496)

Political Theory: 3 units

1 course selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Considers tensions between the democratic and republican claims in formative periods: Puritan, Revolutionary, Constitution, Jacksonian, and Civil War. Addresses modern implications. Uses primary sources and novels. 3 hours lecture. (007551)
Considers competing democratic and republican claims in the context of social Darwinism, Populism, Progressivism, New Deal, and Post-World War II. Uses primary sources and novels. 3 hours lecture. (007554)
This course is also offered as PHIL 434 .
The classical roots of western political philosophy and their relationship to contemporary political theory. 3 hours seminar. (007279)
This course is also offered as PHIL 437 .
An extended discussion of the nature of anarchy, corporatism, oligarchy, classical liberalism, radical liberalism, democratic socialism, communism, and fascism, with a continued focus on these political cultures and their ideological expressions in contemporary politics. 3 hours seminar. (007281)
This course is also offered as PHIL 438 .
The philosophical nature and origins of law. Topics to be examined include theories of law, justice, the relationship of law to morality, natural law, responsibility, punishment, and other basic concepts. Approach is both theoretical and via case studies. 3 hours lecture. (007282)

International Relations: 3 units

1 course required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Concepts in international politics, with emphasis on the analysis of contemporary global issues. Recommended for secondary teachers. 3 hours lecture. This is an approved General Education course. (007500)

Major Option Course Requirements: 26-36 units

The following courses, or their approved transfer equivalents, are required dependent upon the option chosen. Students must select one of the following options for completion of the major course requirements.  Use the links below to jump to your chosen option.



Option in General Political Science: 26 units

American Government and Politics: 6 units

2 courses selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
This course is also offered as WMST 324I .
Analysis of the roles of women in politics; volunteer, candidate, elected official. Considers politics of the women's movement and women's issues. 3 hours lecture.This is an approved Writing Intensive course. This is an approved General Education course. (007491)
This course is also offered as MCGS 327 .
Analysis of the role of race and ethnicity in the American political process, including a critique of their role in local, state, and national elections. Factors accounting for participation and non-participation will be analyzed. 3 hours lecture. This is an approved US Diversity course. (000137)
Analysis of the history and development of the American federal system and the role of state and local governments, with special emphasis directed to the government and politics of California. Among the major topics considered: the state and local political systems; the political environment; party, interest group, citizen, and media inputs; and current problems and changing functions affecting state and local governments. 3 hours lecture. (007524)

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: POLS 402 and POLS 473 are recommended.
Course will focus on the lobbying process at the state and national level and will consider the role interest groups play within the American-state governmental milieu. 3 hours lecture. (007526)
A study of the learning of political attitudes; the role of the family, school, peer group, and others in the political socialization process; the process of accommodation or non-accommodation to the value patterns of society and ultimate political behavior. 3 hours lecture. (007545)
Prerequisites: CMST 131, CMST 330, CMST 331, CMST 350, and CMST 370 with a grade of C- or higher for CMST majors only.
This course is also offered as CMST 424 , JOUR 424 .
Analysis of major factors in group and individual opinion formation, with emphasis on politics, opinion measurement, and the role of mass media in the political process. 3 hours lecture. (002029)
An exploration of campaigns and elections in the United States with emphasis on the activities and strategies of candidates for office, the behavior of voters, the role of political parties, interest groups, and the media, and the financing of campaigns. 3 hours lecture. (007549)
Critical examination of the process of policy formation in American governments. Relationship of executive, legislative, and judicial branches in policy formation. A significant policy area will be examined, with emphasis on both statutory and constitutional bases and the social/political factors influencing policy development. 3 hours lecture. (007607)
A comparative analysis of the executive component of government. Emphasis on the national executive, selected state executives, and selected executives in other nations. 3 hours lecture. (007609)
Analysis of the structure, processes, and behavior in legislative bodies. Emphasis on a comparison of selected legislative bodies. 3 hours lecture. (007610)

Constitutional Law: 3 units

1 course selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Analysis of judicial cases and related materials illustrating historical and current interpretations of constitutional problems such as the powers of the courts, congress, and President; and the balance of federal-state power in such areas as commerce and taxation. 3 hours lecture. (007577)
This course is also offered as MCGS 451B .
Analysis of judicial cases and related materials illustrating historical and current interpretations of constitutional problems such as racial discrimination, criminal procedures, and freedom of speech and religion. 3 hours lecture. (005645)
The study of law from the political, sociological, and behavioral perspectives examining recent and contemporary approaches to the legal process. Other questions about areas of study include: What, if any, are the boundaries of the legal process? To what extent should the legal process be a part of our everyday lives? To what extent is the law political? 3 hours lecture. (007580)

Community Service Internship: 3 units

1 course selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: 3.0 cumulative GPA and faculty permission.
Work experience in selected governmental agencies supervised by faculty members and the staff of the cooperating agencies. Public Administration majors must take POLS 489A for at least 2 units. Public Administration students may substitute POLS 489P or POLS 493. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. Credit/no credit grading. (007614)
Prerequisites: 3.0 cumulative GPA and faculty permission.
Work experience with an elected official, political party organization, interest group, or media outlet. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. Credit/no credit grading. (007616)
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.
Field work with criminal justice agencies in the areas of policing, courts, and corrections. Work supervised by the faculty internship coordinator and the staff of the internship office. Directed readings and writings may be assigned. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. Credit/no credit grading. (007618)
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
See description below. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. Credit/no credit grading. (007621)
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
POLS 489K and POLS 489L: Field work in law in various projects such as bail service, welfare rights, legal aid, penal law, consumer law, environmental law, housing law, etc. Work supervised by faculty and/or cooperating legal organizations. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. Credit/no credit grading. (007622)
Prerequisites: Senior standing, faculty permission.
Credit for previously acquired work or community experience. Such credit determined by the Internship Coordinator, dependent upon length of service and experience. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. Credit/no credit grading. (007623)

Senior Capstone: 5 units

3 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
Individual consultation with faculty in working on special projects, reading lists, or areas of deficiency. 3 hours independent study. Credit/no credit grading. (007519)
This course is an independent study of special problems offered for 1.0-3.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. 9 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading. (007523)

Take POLS 399 for 1 unit.

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
This is a seminar on selected topics in American politics, including American political theory, institutions, and processes. This seminar assesses the substantive knowledge, critical analysis, writing, speaking, and computer skills of senior-level students. 3 hours seminar. (007550)

Elective Requirement: 9 units

9 units selected from:

Any upper-division political science (POLS) courses (with no more than 6 units from internships and 3 units of independent research or study counting toward the major).

Option in Legal Studies: 35-36 units

7 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Social science-based analysis of the interaction of law and its social contexts. Course elements include fundamentals of legal systems, their institutional structures, and critical issues. Case studies and interpretive themes will provide analytical focus. 3 hours lecture. (007504)
This course is also offered as MCGS 451B .
Analysis of judicial cases and related materials illustrating historical and current interpretations of constitutional problems such as racial discrimination, criminal procedures, and freedom of speech and religion. 3 hours lecture. (005645)
Learn techniques of legal research and writing. Write briefs, memoranda, and other legal documents based on library research with cases, treatises, law reviews, statutes, regulations, etc. 3 hours lecture. (007581)
Prerequisite: POLS 454.
The study of the field of paralegalism and the laws that the paralegal will be dealing with. Deals both with substantive law and the methods and role of the paralegal case study method used. 3 hours lecture. (007582)
This course is a senior seminar on selected topics in legal studies. 3 hours seminar. (007587)
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
See description below. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. Credit/no credit grading. (007621)
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
POLS 489K and POLS 489L: Field work in law in various projects such as bail service, welfare rights, legal aid, penal law, consumer law, environmental law, housing law, etc. Work supervised by faculty and/or cooperating legal organizations. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. Credit/no credit grading. (007622)

Note: POLS 489K and POLS 489L must be taken for 3 units each.

1 course selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: Upper-division standing.
Participation in mock trials and other law activities. Oral argument, legal research, and brief-writing. 4 hours activity. Credit/no credit grading. (007631)
Prerequisites: Upper-division standing.
Participation in mock trials and other law activities. Oral argument, legal research, and brief-writing. Must participate in the moot court competition. 6 hours lecture. Credit/no credit grading. (007632)

4 courses selected from:

Select 4 different courses from the list below.

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: At least junior standing.
An in-depth study of federal and California employment laws as they affect the management of human resources, with appropriate consideration of ethical and global dimensions. Emphasis is on the legal rights and responsibilities of employers and employees in the employment relationship, primarily in a private-sector, non-union environment. 3 hours discussion. (001352)
Prerequisites: At least junior standing or faculty permission.
Intensive examination of unions in an organizational setting. Includes organizational and concerted activities, collective bargaining and employee/employer rights and responsibilities. Includes applied collective bargaining project. 3 hours discussion. (001343)
An examination of the effect of school law upon public school personnel. Special emphasis will be given to the areas of liability, contracts, tenure, and pupil-parent-teacher rights. 3 hours seminar. (002756)
Prerequisites: FINA 307.
To give students a basic understanding of the major methods and techniques of preserving and transmitting an individual's wealth, including gift-giving, the use of various trusts, the use of life insurance, and the proper preparation of a will. Students will be expected to be aware of the causes and consequences of an inefficient transfer of wealth and therefore must acquire a working knowledge of the institutional constraints, including the law of property, wills, and intestate distribution, the probate process, and State and Federal estate, gift, inheritance, and generation-skipping transfer taxes. 3 hours lecture. (001047)
Study of specific areas of law, ethics, and regulations in health care. Examination of legal and ethical issues of licensing, health insurance, managed care, funding mechanisms, medical negligence and malpractice, informed consent, health care records, and patient and family rights. 3 hours seminar. (004452)
Prerequisites: JOUR 101, JOUR 260.
The law as it applies to the press, pictures, and broadcasting. Philosophical basis and historical evolution of legal precedent governing the media. Practical limitations of libel, slander, privacy, copyright, information access, free press-fair trial, contempt and reporter's rights, advertising and media concentration as they affect freedom of the press. Required for news-editorial option; elective for public relations option. 3 hours lecture. (002032)
This course introduces students to the theories and practices of justice, as well as the administration of justice. As a writing intensive course, students examine pertinent justice issues of local, national, or international significance, identify the theory (or theories) of justice relevant to the situation, and investigate how justice was (or was not) administered. 3 hours lecture.This is an approved Writing Intensive course. This is an approved General Education Capstone course. Formerly POLS 365I. (007600)
Analysis of judicial cases and related materials illustrating historical and current interpretations of constitutional problems such as the powers of the courts, congress, and President; and the balance of federal-state power in such areas as commerce and taxation. 3 hours lecture. (007577)
Focus on the various methods of negotiation and dispute resolution including mediation and arbitration with primary emphasis on the legal rights and principles involved in alternative dispute resolution especially in the process of arbitration. Major social and scientific theories of conflict will be explored as well as conventional disciplines and new approaches of conflict avoidance and resolution. Ethical issues involved in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration will be covered. 3 hours lecture. (007579)
The study of law from the political, sociological, and behavioral perspectives examining recent and contemporary approaches to the legal process. Other questions about areas of study include: What, if any, are the boundaries of the legal process? To what extent should the legal process be a part of our everyday lives? To what extent is the law political? 3 hours lecture. (007580)
The objective of this course is to teach students legal analysis using Socratic method, briefing cases, and law-school-type examinations. The course will be aimed at students considering law school. 3 hours lecture. (007583)
Prerequisites: POLS 250.
The machinery of criminal justice in theory and practice; the significance of the rule of law and its exceptions in the actual administration of justice. This course will concentrate on the application of the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments to the U.S. Constitution in the administration of justice and the application of modern behavioral research as it applies to police and court administration. 3 hours discussion. (007588)
Investigation and analysis of the political nature of the environmental crisis in the United States and the development of legal and administrative mechanisms for handling environmental problems. 3 hours lecture. (007596)
Study of the role of administrative law in American government. Scope and implications of discretionary decision-making. 3 hours lecture. (007599)
Review and analysis of the present and changing nature of planning and land-use control law, particularly as the law is applied in California. 3 hours seminar. (007605)
This course is also offered as SWRK 481 .
Explores legal issues facing the poor, older adults, disabled, and minorities, and how to advance the legal rights of the disadvantaged. Family law, consumerism, small claims court, Social Security, welfare law, and landlord/tenant rights are addressed from theoretical and practical perspectives, with an emphasis on advocating those rights. 3 hours lecture. (009431)
Prerequisites: Approval of the Department of Political Science.
This course is a special topic offered for 1.0-15.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. Organized research and development of a problem in community administration. Students may enroll for 1 to 15 units, and will engage for a part or the whole of their time in the community. A seminar focusing on analysis of the project and the experience will be held weekly or at other appropriate times. Only a total of 6 units of POLS 489 and POLS 493 may be counted toward the requirements of the major or the Paralegal Certificate. 9 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. (007655)
Prerequisite: Approval of the Department of Political Science.
This course directs students through the process of being a director at the Community Legal Information Center (CLIC). As a director of CLIC, the students have the opportunity to take on significant administrative responsibilities for the day-to-day operations of the on-campus law clinic. Registration for this course is attained through an application process in the spring semester. Enrollment in this course is required in both the fall and spring semesters. In addition, each director will have CLIC responsibilities during the summer and intersession. Only a total of 3.0 units of this course may be counted towards the requirements of the major, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Certificate, the Paralegal Certificate, or the minor in Alternative Dispute Resolution. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. (020651)
Prerequisites: RECR 200; concurrent enrollment in or prior completion of RECR 220, RECR 240, RECR 250, or RECR 260; or faculty permission.
Introduction to the study of law applicable to the management of recreation resources in providing valuable recreational experiences for clientele of public and commercial recreation programs and facilities. Examines general legal principles, legal aspects of provision of services by the private sector, contracts and contracting for recreation and park services, legal authority and methods in resource-based recreation areas, and legal liability in parks, recreation, and athletic programs. 3 hours lecture. (008818)

Note: POLS 493 or POLS 495 must be taken for 3 units.

Electives Requirement:

To complete the total units required for the bachelor's degree, select additional elective courses from the total University offerings. You should consult with an advisor regarding the selection of courses which will provide breadth to your University experience and possibly apply to a supportive second major or minor.

Grading Requirement:

All courses taken to fulfill major course requirements must be taken for a letter grade except those courses specified by the department as Credit/No Credit grading only.

Advising Requirement:

Advising is mandatory for all majors in this degree program. Consult your undergraduate advisor for specific information.

Honors in the Major:

Honors in the Major is a program of independent work in your major. It requires 6 units of honors course work completed over two semesters.

The Honors in the Major program allows you to work closely with a faculty mentor in your area of interest on an original performance or research project. This year-long collaboration allows you to work in your field at a professional level and culminates in a public presentation of your work. Students sometimes take their projects beyond the University for submission in professional journals, presentation at conferences, or academic competition. Such experience is valuable for graduate school and professional life. Your honors work will be recognized at your graduation, on your permanent transcripts, and on your diploma. It is often accompanied by letters of commendation from your mentor in the department or the department chair.

Some common features of Honors in the Major program are:

  1. You must take 6 units of Honors in the Major course work. All 6 units are honors classes (marked by a suffix of H), and at least 3 of these units are independent study (399H, 499H, 599H) as specified by your department. You must complete each class with a minimum grade of B.
  2. You must have completed 9 units of upper-division course work or 21 overall units in your major before you can be admitted to Honors in the Major. Check the requirements for your major carefully, as there may be specific courses that must be included in these units.
  3. Your cumulative GPA should be at least 3.5 or within the top 5% of majors in your department.
  4. Your GPA in your major should be at least 3.5 or within the top 5% of majors in your department.
  5. Most students apply for or are invited to participate in Honors in the Major during the second semester of their junior year. Then they complete the 6 units of course work over the two semesters of their senior year.
  6. Your honors work culminates with a public presentation of your honors project.

While Honors in the Major is part of the Honors Program, each department administers its own program. Please contact your major department or major advisor to apply.

Catalog Cycle:13