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Columbia Campus    
2019-2020 Undergraduate Studies Bulletin 
  Sep 22, 2023
2019-2020 Undergraduate Studies Bulletin

Political Science, BA

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Learning Outcomes

  • Political Science majors will demonstrate knowledge of basic facts, themes, theories and concepts central to the study and understanding of politics.
  • Political Science majors will demonstrate critical writing skills and demonstrate proficiency in the analysis of politics and theories of politics.
  • Political Science majors will develop a coherent and comprehensive course of study in political science that has a clear intellectual focus and prepares them for careers in the field or for graduate work.
  • Political Science majors will demonstrate a clear grasp of the core themes and concepts within the major course concentrations/areas of emphasis they have selected.

Major Map

A major map is a layout of required courses in a given program of study, including critical courses and suggested course sequences to ensure a clear path to graduation.

Major maps are only a suggested or recommended sequence of courses required in a program of study. Please contact your academic advisor for assistance in the application of specific coursework to a program of study and course selection and planning for upcoming semesters.

Political Science, BA


Degree Requirements (120 hours)

Program of Study

  1. Carolina Core (32-44 hours)
  2. College Requirements (15-18 hours)
  3. Program Requirements (31-46 hours)
  4. Major Requirements (27 hours)

1. Carolina Core (32-44 hours)

Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Written — CMW (6 hours)

must be passed with a grade of C or higher

Analytical Reasoning and Problem Solving — ARP (6-8 hours) 

Scientific Literacy — SCI (8 hours)

  • Two 4-credit hour CC-SCI laboratory science courses

Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Foreign Language — GFL (0-6 hours)

Demonstration of proficiency in one foreign language equivalent to the minimal passing grade on the exit examination in the 122 course is required. Students can demonstrate this proficiency by successfully completing Phase II of the Proficiency Test or by successfully completing the 122 course, including the exit exam administered as part of that course.

It is strongly recommended that students continuing the study of a foreign language begin college-level study of that language in their first semester and continue in that language until their particular foreign language requirement is completed.

​Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Historical Thinking — GHS (3 hours) 

Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Social Sciences — GSS (3 hours) 

Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding —  AIU (3 hours)

Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Spoken Component* — CMS (0-3 hours)

Information Literacy* —  INF (0-3 hours)

Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility* — VSR (0-3 hours)

*Carolina Core Stand Alone or Overlay Eligible Requirements — Overlay-approved courses offer students the option of meeting two Carolina Core components in a single course. A maximum of two overlays is allowed. The total Carolina Core credit hours must add up to a minimum of 31 hours. Some programs may have a higher number of minimum Carolina Core hours due to specified requirements.

2. College Requirements (15-18 hours)

Foreign Language (0-3 hours) 

  • only if needed to meet 122-level proficiency

History (3 hours) 

The College of Arts and Sciences requires one U.S. History and one non-U.S. History course. Whichever is not fulfilled through the Carolina Core GHS requirement must be fulfilled through this college requirement. Accordingly, please select one of the following:

  • One Carolina Core GHS-approved course primarily focused on U.S. History: HIST 111 112 214 , or another GHS-approved course determined by the College of Arts and Science to fit this geographic category.


  • One Carolina Core GHS-approved course primarily focused on non-U.S. History: HIST 101 102 104 105 106 108 109 GERM 280 FAMS 300 , or another GHS-approved course determined by the College of Arts and Sciences to fit this geographic category. 

Social Science and Fine Arts or Humanities (12 hours)

3. Program Requirements (31-46 hours)

Supporting Courses (3 hours)

Cognate or Minor (12-18 hours)


The cognate is intended to support the course work in the major. The cognate must consist of twelve (12) hours of courses at the advanced level, outside of but related to the major. The cognate may be taken in one or more departments or programs, depending on the interests of the student and the judgment of the advisor.

Courses offered by departments and programs that are acceptable for cognate credit are outlined in the section titled Courses Acceptable for Cognate Credit in Degree Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences .

For cognate course offerings in other colleges, consult the appropriate sections of this bulletin. Some major programs have specific cognate requirements.

It should be emphasized that the cognate is not a second set of elective courses to be chosen at random by the student. The cognate must be approved by the major advisor as being related to the major field of study. Students are urged to consult their major advisors for specific requirements in their major.

Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the cognate. For Bachelor of Arts degrees, all cognate courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher.


In place of the cognate a student in the College of Arts and Sciences may choose a minor consisting of at least 18 credit hours of prescribed courses. (Some minors in the sciences require a minimum of 16 hours.) The subject area of the minor may be related to the major. Students pursuing interdisciplinary minors who wish to use courses in their major department for minor credit must petition the College Committee on Scholastic Standards and Petitions for permission to do so.

The minor is intended to develop a coherent basic preparation in a second area of study. It differs from the cognate inasmuch as the courses must be concentrated in one area and must follow a structured sequence. Interdisciplinary minors can be designed with the approval of the assistant dean for academic affairs and advising.

Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the minor. No course may satisfy both major and minor requirements. All minor courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher. At least half of the courses in the minor must be completed in residence at the University.

A list of minor programs of study can be found at Programs A-Z .

Electives (10-31 hours)

No courses of a remedial, developmental, skill-acquiring, or vocational nature may apply as credit toward degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences allows the use of the Pass-Fail option on elective courses. Further clarification on inapplicable courses can be obtained from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Note: 1-22 hours of electives will be needed to reach hours to graduate and Program Requirements will range from 22-37 hours, if completing either the Intensive Major or the B.A. with Distinction in Political Science.

4. Major Requirements (27 hours)

A minimum grade of C is required in all major courses.

Major Courses (9 hours)

  • Select one course from three of the following fields:

American Politics

Comparative Politics

International Relations

Political Theory

Public Administration

Major Electives (18 hours)

Select six courses from POLI 300 or above organized around 1-2 areas of interest with advisor approval.

Note: One of the following courses must be taken as part of the major requirements in order to fulfill the Carolina Core Integrative course requirement: POLI 315, POLI 316, POLI 361, POLI 368, POLI 370, POLI 374, POLI 451, POLI 462, or POLI 504.

Intensive Major (36 hours) 

A minimum grade of B is required in all major courses.

In addition to the requirements for the General Major, Intensive majors must complete the following:

  • An additional six hours of major course work (approved by the major advisor).
  • POLI 499 - Senior Thesis  
  • Demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language through the intermediate level.

B.A. with Distinction (36 hours)

Departmental Undergraduate Research Track available to students majoring in political science who wish to participate in significant research activities of the major field in collaboration with, or under the supervision of, a faculty mentor.

In addition to the requirements for the general major, “B.A. with Distinction” majors must complete the following:

  • A minimum major GPA of 3.60
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.30
  • Required courses:
  • Additional Requirements:
    • Public presentation of the Senior Thesis in a venue approved by the faculty mentor, such as:
      • Annual meeting of the South Carolina Political Science Association (or any other annual meeting of the appropriate professional organization);
      • A regular (or special) session of the Political Science Research Workshop;
      • Sessions scheduled for the Political Science Awards Day activities;
      • USC Discovery Day;
      • Submission to a professional journal.
    • A written sponsorship agreement from the faculty mentor to be placed on file in the department or college office.

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