Academic Catalog

Political Science (B.A.)

Political science majors are offered the opportunity to develop programs of study that complement their particular interests and career goals. The major may be used to structure a broad general program or a highly concentrated and specialized one. The following requirements pertain to all B.A. majors.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for this program are satisfied by the general requirements for undergraduate admission to the University. To enter the Bachelor of Arts degree program in political science, students must declare their major in accordance with the rules of the College.

Program Requirements

Candidates must complete 120 credits in course work including satisfaction of the University General Education Requirements and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Group Requirements, as well as the Departmental major requirements cited below. All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the University and the College governing undergraduate scholarship and degrees. Students wishing to apply transfer credits toward the major should consult the political science undergraduate advisor regarding departmental policies and restrictions on the use of these credits. Students must complete a minimum of 16 credit hours of Political Science course work at Wayne State University.

Major Requirements 

A political science major must satisfactorily complete at least thirty-two credits of course work in the Department beyond PS 1010 or 1030. This course work must include:

PS 1010American Government4
or PS 1000 Introduction to Political Science
or PS 1030 The American Governmental System
PS 1050Understanding Political Science Statistics4
Select two of the following:8
Introduction to Public Policy
Introduction to Political Ideologies
Introduction to Comparative Politics
World Politics
Select at least four courses at the 3000 level or higher, of which at least one must be at the 4000 level or higher 112-16
A Writing Intensive (WI) course in political science that is taken after having previously completed at least two Political Science courses at the 3000 level or higher 20

PS 5993 does not count toward fulfillment of this requirement.


with co-registration in PS 5993. Any political science course at the 3000-level or higher, except PS 5630 and PS 6640, may, with the permission of the instructor, be used to fulfill this requirement. 

To satisfy the Writing Intensive requirement, the student must demonstrate proficiency in writing on disciplinary subject matter in a form and style that conform to disciplinary standards. To use a course for this purpose, the student must obtain approval from the instructor and follow the guidelines established by the instructor to demonstrate the required proficiency. The student must also co-register in PS 5993, a zero-credit course for which the student will receive a grade of Satisfactory (S) upon certification by the instructor that the writing requirement has been fulfilled. Note that completion of the WI course has the following prerequisites: a) completion of the Intermediate Composition (IC or ICN) requirement and b) the completion of at least two Political Science courses at the 3000 level or higher.

Recommended Course: It is recommended that majors include PS 3600, Methods of Political Inquiry, in their programs of study.

Political Science Fields of Study

In developing their specific programs of study, students should consult with the political science undergraduate advisor. They may pursue a general program or choose to concentrate in a particular field or subfield. It is not mandatory that a student have an area of concentration; the listings are only suggestive.

Concentrations may be designated as follows: American Government and Politics, Public Law/Legal Studies, Public Policy and Administration, Quantitative Political Analysis, Comparative Politics, World Politics, and Political Philosophy and Ethics. Students must complete a minimum of five related courses to earn a concentration. 

American Government and Politics

Public opinion, electoral politics, and participation in the political process; the role of political parties and interest groups and of the mass media; the workings of Congress, the Presidency, and other governmental institutions. Courses relevant to this area of concentration include (but are not limited to):

PS 3010Public Opinion and Political Behavior4
PS 3020Political Parties and Elections4
PS 3025Political Campaigns in America4
PS 3030Political Interest Groups4
PS 3040The Legislative Process4
PS 3050Politics of the American Presidency4
PS 3060State Government and Politics4
PS 3070Michigan Politics4
PS 3080Gender and Politics4
PS 3430Bureaucracy and Public Policy4
PS 5030African American Politics4
PS 5040Religion and Politics4
PS 6010Political Psychology3
PS 6020Intergovernmental Relations and American Federalism3

Public Law/Legal Studies

Judicial interpretation of the Constitution; civil liberties and constitutional rights; the law as a profession; law enforcement and the operations of the judicial system; international dimensions of law. Courses relevant to this area of concentration include (but are not limited to):

PS 3100American Legal Systems and Processes4
PS 3120Politics of the Criminal Justice Process3
PS 3520Theories of Justice4
PS 5110Constitutional Law4
PS 5120Constitutional Rights and Liberties4
PS 5820International Law4
PS 5850Human Rights4
PS 6870United States Foreign Relations Law4

Public Policy and Administration

How policy is formulated, decided, implemented, and evaluated at all levels of government; moral and political standards for making policy; the nature and functions of public agencies; techniques of public management; public bureaucracy in its social setting. Courses relevant to this area of concentration include (but are not limited to):

PS 2000Introduction to Urban Studies4
PS 2240Introduction to Urban Politics and Policy4
PS 2310Introduction to Public Administration4
PS 2410Introduction to Public Policy4
PS 2420Ethics and Politics of Public Policy4
PS 2460Policy and Rationality: Dilemmas of Choice4
PS 3250Detroit Politics: Continuity and Change in City and Suburbs4
PS 3430Bureaucracy and Public Policy4
PS 3450Environmental Policy and Politics4
PS 4460Techniques of Policy Analysis4
PS 5850Human Rights4
PS 6020Intergovernmental Relations and American Federalism3
PS 6700Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations3

Political Philosophy and Ethics

The justification and application of ethical standards to politics; history and analysis of authority and rebellion, individualism and community, justice and equality; modern ideologies such as communism, socialism, liberalism, and conservatism. Courses relevant to this area of concentration include (but are not limited to):

PS 2420Ethics and Politics of Public Policy4
PS 2510Introduction to Political Ideologies4
PS 3515American Political Thought3-4
PS 3520Theories of Justice4
PS 3530Great Political Thinkers I4
PS 3540Great Political Thinkers II4
PS 5560Biopolitics4
PS 5850Human Rights4

Quantitative Political Analysis

Methods of analysis used to assess alternatives and evaluate the impact of government policy; methods of empirical political research including data collection, statistical description and inference, and the use of computers to organize and interpret data. Courses relevant to this area of concentration include (but are not limited to):

PS 1050Understanding Political Science Statistics4
PS 2460Policy and Rationality: Dilemmas of Choice4
PS 3600Methods of Political Inquiry4
PS 4460Techniques of Policy Analysis4
PS 5630Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science I4
PS 6640Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science II3

Comparative Politics

The study of government and politics of western, non-western, and third world countries in their historical, cultural, and economic settings; problems of comparison across cultural and national boundaries. Courses relevant to this area of concentration include (but are not limited to):

PS 2700Introduction to Canadian Studies3
PS 2710Introduction to Comparative Politics4
PS 3710Politics of Western Europe4
PS 3715Politics of Central and Eastern Europe4
PS 3735Politics of Latin America4
PS 3770Politics of East Asia4
PS 3795Latin America in World Affairs4
PS 4710Democracy4
PS 4725Globalization and Politics4
PS 5760History and Development of Islamic Political Thought3

World Politics

Conflict and cooperation among nations; causes of war and the pursuit of peace; international law; international organizations and multi-national corporations; North-South relations and issues of development, imperialism, and dependency; East-West relations and the changing world order; American foreign policy and issues of disarmament, intervention, and economic competition. Courses relevant to this area of concentration include (but are not limited to):

PS 2810World Politics4
PS 2820Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies3
PS 3795Latin America in World Affairs4
PS 3811Theory of World Politics4
PS 3820Pan Africanism and the Diaspora4
PS 3830War4
PS 3835Middle East Conflict4
PS 4810Foreign Policies of Major Powers4
PS 5740Ethnicity: The Immigrant Experience4
PS 5820International Law4
PS 5850Human Rights4
PS 6100Introduction to Graduate Peace and Security Studies3
PS 6850International Organizations3
PS 6860American Foreign Policy3
PS 6870United States Foreign Relations Law4


Internships in government, political campaigns, political advocacy groups, civic organizations, or public agencies provide valuable work-educational experience that enables students to relate knowledge acquired in the classroom to the world-at-large. They also provide practical training that enhances future job prospects. Academic credit may be earned for an internship through enrollment in PS 2992, Political Science Internship, a course that helps to assure the educational relevance of the internship by requiring interns to prepare papers and reports based on their experiences. Interested students should consult the department’s undergraduate advisor.

Study Abroad Exchange Program with the University of Salford

Students may study for one or two semesters at the University of Salford in Salford, England, and earn Wayne State credits through an exchange agreement between the two universities. Applications may be obtained from the Office of Study Abroad and Global Programs. Interested majors or prospective majors should also consult with the Department's undergraduate advisor.

Political Science Honors Programs

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Public Affairs majors with strong academic records are encouraged to pursue departmental honors. To be eligible to enter the honors program, a major must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.3. To graduate with honors, students must:

  1. Maintain a 3.3 grade point average.
  2. Under the direction of one or more members of the department, complete a senior honors paper (PS 4995).
  3. Complete all requirements for the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Public Affairs degree.
  4. Complete one 4200-level Honors seminar offered through the Honors College, see Honors Courses (HON).
  5. Accumulate an additional eight credits in honors-designated course work beyond PS 4995, and the Honors Program seminar. These honors credits can be obtained from any department, including Political Science. For information about honors-designated coursework available each semester.

Students interested in participating in the program should contact the department’s undergraduate advisor to determine their eligibility.

‘AGRADE’ Program (Accelerated Graduate Enrollment)

Accelerated Graduate Enrollment: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Public Affairs majors with superior academic records (top twentieth percentile overall, with at least a 3.6 g.p.a. in the major) are eligible in their senior year (a minimum of 90 credit hours earned) to participate in accelerated graduate enrollment (‘AGRADE’) programs leading to either a Master of Arts degree with a major in political science or a Master of Public Administration degree. The ‘AGRADE’ programs enable students to pursue graduate and undergraduate degrees simultaneously and to apply twelve to fifteen credits of approved course work to both degrees. To participate, students must apply and be accepted into the ‘AGRADE’ program by the Departmental Graduate Committee and secure the approval of the Graduate Officer of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in accordance with rules and procedures established by the College. Students should contact the Department’s undergraduate advisor for further details.

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