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Department of Political Science (PSC)
College of Arts & Sciences

237 Graham Building
(336) 334-5989

Political Science Major (BA) | Political Science as a Second Major | Political Science Minor | Political Science Major with Teacher Licensure in Social Studies | Honors in Political Science | Accelerated Master's Programs for Political Science Majors | Political Science Courses (PSC)


Charles Prysby, Professor and Head of Department

Professors Bernick, Clotfelter, DeHoog, Olson, Prysby; Associate Professors Buck, Crowther, Griffiths, Meyers; Assistant Professors Farole, Krebs, McAvoy

Political science is the study of the government, politics and policies of the United States and other nations; of levels of government, such as city and state, within those nations; and of relationships among nations. It studies the political behavior, attitudes, and ideas of groups and individuals.

All 100- and 200-level courses are introductions to the study of political science. Beginning students are urged to take any 100- or 200-level course in which they may be interested.

Students seeking electives in political science may select from almost the entire range of offerings. Non-majors are urged to select their electives widely to satisfy individual intellectual interests and are not restricted to 100- and 200-level courses.

Internships and field experience are available to both majors and non-majors in national government, public administration, and electoral politics.

Political Science Major

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Required: 122 semester hours, to include at least 36 hours at or above the 300 course level

AOS Codes:

Political Science, U197
Political Science, with Teacher Licensure in Social Studies, U199

The Political Science Major is suitable for students with career interests in law, politics, or governmental service (at local, state, or federal levels), as well as for students who have more general intellectual interests in government, politics, and international relations as part of their effort to obtain a liberal education or to prepare for careers in business.

Students should take a broad variety of courses in the major to become familiar with the diversity of topics and methods used by contemporary political scientists throughout the world. Majors should consult early with their faculty advisors to plan programs most suitable to their individual interests and needs.

College of Arts and Sciences Liberal Education Requirements (CLER) (54-55 hours)

All students must meet the All-University Liberal Education Requirements (AULER). The College of Arts and Sciences, however, has established liberal education requirements for its programs which, while including those of AULER, contain additional requirements in several categories. Therefore, students following this program should adhere to the College requirements. Please note that students who satisfy the College Liberal Education Requirements (CLER) will also satisfy the All-University Liberal Education Requirements (AULER). See a complete description of the College requirements and courses meeting those requirements.

Major Requirements

A minimum of 30 semester hours in political science courses is required. At least 15 semester hours of the total course work in the major must be at the 300 level or higher. Requirements include:

  • PSC 100, 210, 240, 260, and 301
  • At least 15 additional hours, all of which must be above the 100 level.

Related Area Requirements

No specific courses required.


Courses in other social sciences and in history are recommended. Electives sufficient to complete the 122 semester hours required for the degree must be taken.


Political Science as a Second Major

Required: minimum of 24 semester hours

A student may double major by combining political science with another major. The student must complete all of the required courses for political science (PSC 100, 210, 240, 260, and 301) and take 9 additional hours of political science at the 300 level or higher. The 24 hour requirement applies regardless of whether political science is designated as the primary or secondary major. The student must also take at least 24 hours in the second major and meet the appropriate requirements of that department for the double major. Students considering this option are advised to consult extensively with their advisors.


Political Science Minor

Required: minimum of 15 semester hours

A student may minor in political science by taking PSC 100 and at least 12 hours of course work above the 100 level. The student should select courses to best suit intellectual and career interests, in consultation with a member of the Political Science faculty.

Political Science Major with Teacher Licensure
in Social Studies

Students seeking teacher licensure should see Teacher Educlation Programs. Licensure in comprehensive social studies is available for political science majors. Additional hours may be required for completion of the degree.


Honors in Political Science

Political Science majors may elect to graduate with Honors in Political Science if they meet the requirements and qualifications listed below. Students interested in this option are advised to discuss a possible thesis topic with a faculty member in the department during their junior year.


Six semester hours to consist of:

  • 3 hours of PSC 493 (Honors Work)
  • 3 hours of HSS 490 (Senior Thesis or Project) directed or co-directed by a faculty member of the Department of Political Science


  • Enrollment in and successful completion of the University Honors Program
  • A declared Major in Political Science
  • Maintenance of at least a 3.3 overall GPA


The designation "Honors in Political Science" will be printed on the student's official transcript.

Accelerated Master's Programs for Political Science Majors

Interested students should see Accelerated Master's Programs for Undergraduates for details about the following program requirements: BA in Political Science/MA in Economics; BA in Political Science/MBA; BA in Political Science/MPA in Public Affairs


Political Science Courses (PSC)

For Undergraduates

100 American Politics (3:3).


Organization and behavior of the institutions, groups, and persons in American national government and politics. Introductory level course.

105 Political Issues (3:3).


Introduction to the main intellectual traditions of political science. Discusses basic problems, political ideologies, and competing theories of politics.

210 Introduction to Public Policy (3:3).


Problems of public policy and administration with emphasis on analysis of decision-making in governmental organizations.

240 The International System (3:3).


Introduction to international politics focusing upon major changes in the international system since 1945.

260 Introduction to Comparative Politics (3:3).


Basic concepts and methods of comparative political analysis. Introduction to political institutions, processes, and problems of democratic, non-democratic, and transitional political systems.

270 Introduction to Political Theory (3:3).

Examines the tradition of Western political thought beginning with Plato and ending with twentieth century philosophers. Topics include the nature and meaning of liberty, justice, and equality and the purpose of politics.

290 The Politics of Development (3:3).


Introduces students to problems of political development. Surveys the theoretical literature concerning the development process and explores critical problems facing developing countries and strategies employed to overcome them.

300 Special Topics (3:3).

  • May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Study of an issue in political science.

301 Research Methods in Political Science (3:3).

Pr. permission of instructor for non-majors.

Basic principles of research in political science. Focus on testing of empirical propositions, with particular emphasis on survey research methods and on data analysis and interpretation. No statistical knowledge required.

305 Individual in Politics (3:3).

Introduction to development of individual political attitudes and their relationship to political behavior. Topics include the psychology of political leaders, the belief systems of mass publics, and the development of distinct political cultures. Emphasis on the range of political participation, from voting behavior to extremism and violence.

310 Public Administration (3:3).

Major concepts in administration of public bureaucracies, including comparative administration, organization theory, budgeting, public personnel, and decision-making.

312 Environmental Law and Policy (3:3).

Study of federal and international environmental law and policy: topics include air and water pollution, hazardous and toxic substances, climate change, atmospheric pollutions, and related issues. Buck.

313 Natural Resources Law and Policy (3:3).

Study of state, federal, and international natural resources law and policy: topics include acquisition and management of public lands, wildlife, biodiversity, resource conservation. Buck.

316 Introduction to Law (3:3).

Pr. junior standing or consent of instructor.

Examination of common law, civil and criminal court procedures, legal reasoning, and judicial behavior. Emphasis on policy-making role of courts.

318 Constitutional Law (3:3).

Pr. junior standing or consent of instructor.

Examination of Supreme Court decisions on federalism and the powers of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the federal government.

320 Civil Liberties (3:3).

Pr. junior standing or prior consent of the instructor.

Supreme Court decisions dealing with civil rights and liberties. Specific topics include First Amendment , criminal due process, privacy rights, and equal protection of the law for minorities and women.

322 American State Politics (3:3).

Comparison of political behavior and institutions among the 50 American states. Bernick.

323 Urban Politics (3:3).

Examination of political behavior, processes, and institutions in city as a special focus for study of politics and government in United States. Discussion and readings directed to current development in American cities. Krebs.

324 Urban Administration (3:3).

Special characteristics and problems of implementing urban policies and managing municipalities and other local governments and non-profit service agencies. Role of the city manager and other professional administrators.

327 American Political Parties (3:3).

Analysis of the role of political parties in the American political process, with emphasis on recent elections and campaigns. Prysby.

328 North Carolina and Southern Politics (3:3).

Examination of contemporary political and governmental developments in the American South. Particular attention to North Carolina politics and government.

329 American Political Movements (3:3).

Examination of recent American political movements. Emphasis on their ideologies, their tactics, and their effect on public policy.

330, 331 Workshop in Practical Politics (3:2:6), (3:2:6).

Pr. consent of instructor; 100, 327 or 328 recommended.

Analysis of electoral campaign strategies by party and candidate through actual participation in campaigns and by writing of case studies based on student campaign participation. Spring semester in even numbered years covers primary elections; fall semester concentrates on general elections. Either semester may be taken independently.

332 Elections and Voting (3:3).

Analysis of influences on voting behavior and of the relationship among voting behavior, elections, and the political process as a whole, with emphasis on contemporary U.S. presidential elections. Prysby.

333 Congress and Legislatures (3:3).

Examination of contemporary legislative bodies - Congress, state legislatures, and foreign parliaments. Attention given to their internal organizations and politics and to their relationship to their Chief Executive. Olson.

334 The American Presidency (3:3).

Examination of the contemporary American presidency. Attention given to the multiple roles of the president, to the rise of the presidency in American government and politics, and to the implications of a powerful presidency for democratic government. Olson.

335 Women in Politics (3:3).

Relationship of women to political process with particular emphasis on women's political socialization, patterns of political participation, and leadership selection.

336 Women and the Law (3:3).

Analysis of American laws affecting women with emphasis on the impact of existing law on contemporary social and political issues.

340 International Politics (3:3).

Pr. 240.

Analysis of recent problems in international politics, including weapons proliferation, underdevelopment, and selected regional conflicts. Griffiths.

341 International Law and Organization (3:3).

Pr. any international relations course or permission of instructor.

Introduction and analysis of the fundamentals of international law and organization and their role in the contemporary international system. Griffiths.

342 American Foreign Policy (3:3).

Analysis of the decision-making process concerning formulation and execution of American foreign policy. Meyers.

343 Foreign Policies of the Major Powers (3:3).

Pr. 240 or 342 or permission of instructor.

Comparative analysis of foreign policy of major nation states, including Russia, Japan, China, France and Germany. Meyers.

345 National Security Policy (3:3).

Pr. 240.

Development of national security policy and the role of military forces in the United States. Emphasis on the changing nature of security challenges. Griffiths.

346 Russian Foreign Policy (3:3).

Analysis of development and implementation of Soviet Foreign Policy and the foreign policy of the current government of Russia.

350 Democratic Political Systems (3:3).

Comparative examination of political institutions and behavior in selected industrialized and non-industrialized countries.

352 Nationalism and Ethnic Politics (3:3).

Pr. 260 or permission of instructor.

Explores competing explanations of nationalism and ethnic politics. Course focuses on comparative analysis in a global context, and examines strategies that have been employed by governments to manage ethnic tension. Crowther.

355 Selected Topics in Comparative Politics (3:3).

  • May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Cross-national examination of specific topic in political organization and behavior. 355a. Political Violence; 355b. Political Parties; 355c. Politics of Development; 355d. Politics of Industrial Societies; 355e. Legislative Process; 355f. Politics of the Future; 355g. Political Ideologies; 355i. Domestic Policy of Soviet Union; 355j. Middle East Politics; 355k. Russian Politics; 355m. Political Economy; 355n. European Union.

361 East European Politics (3:3).

Analysis of patterns of political power in European nations formerly ruled by Communist parties, including an examination of the development of political liberalization, dissent, and international relations. Crowther.

371 American Political Thought (3:3).

Examines major works in American political thought by authors such as Madison, Jefferson, Lincoln, Thoreau, Emerson, King, Malcolm X, and Friedan. Special Emphasis on tracing the promise and problems of American life.

391 African Political Systems (3:3).


Pr. 260 or permission of instructor.

Survey and analysis of the institutions and current problems of African states. Emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa. Griffiths.

399 Public Affairs Internship (1 to 3).

Pr. permission of instructor.

Field learning experience in governmental agencies and private organizations involved in the political process. Academic supervision provided by faculty advisor and direction in field provided by job supervisor. Written report on a substantive topic related to the internship required.

401, 402 Individual Study (1 to 3), (1 to 3).

Pr. departmental stamp required for registration.

Reading or research. Available to qualified students upon recommendation of an instructor.

493 Honors Work (3-6).

Pr. see prerequisites under Honors Program, XXX 493

  • May be repeated for credit if the topic of study changes.


For Advanced Undergraduates and Graduate Students

501 Selected Topics in Political Science (1 to 3).

Pr. major in political science or permission of instructor.

  • May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

Opportunity for advanced students to study in depth a topic of special interest.

503 Survey Methods for Policy Research (3:3).

Theoretical and practical issues involved in designing and using sample surveys for political and policy research. Emphasis on survey methods used by the government and others in public sector.

504 Computer Applications in Public Administration (3:3).

An overview of computer applications in public administration, covering both specific applications and broader questions of design, management, and impact of information and decision support systems. Prysby.

505 Problems in Politics (3:3).

Seminar in research and study in political science. Attention also on problems of methodology and alternative conceptions of field of political science as a scholarly discipline.

510 Topics in Public Policy (1 to 3).

Pr. permission of instructor.

  • May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Intensive analysis of a major area of public policy. Examination of sources of policymaking, the policy-making process, and the impact of policy. 510a. Politics of Education; 510b. Criminal Justice; 510c. Labor Relations; 510d. Foreign and Defense Policy; 510e. Environmental Policy; 510f. Urban Development Policy; 510g. Health Strategies; 510h. Global Challenges; 510i. Press and Politics; 510j. Politics of Industrial Policy; 510k. Ethics in Public Policy.

511 Problems in Public Management (1).

Pr. permission of instructor.

  • May be repeated when topics vary up to a limit of six credit hours.

Intensive examination of important current problems related to the management of public institutions.

512 Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations (3:3).

Pr. 100, 210, or 310, or permission of instructor; or graduate standing.

Focuses on changing relationships of local-state-federal agencies, expanding role of regional cooperation, and recent developments in sub-national governments.

516 Administrative Law (3:3).

Pr. 100 or permission of instructor.

The law, practice, and procedure in federal administrative agencies: agency rulemaking; administrative adjudication; judicial review; informal process and administrative discretion. Buck.

520 Urban Political System (3:3).

Pr. 323 or 324 or permission of instructor.

Examination of major topics in the study of urban government and policy. Systems approach to provide an analytic framework for interrelating specific topics such as citizen participation, interest groups, parties, types of elections, forms of government, community power, and racial politics. Krebs.

530 Administrative and Elected Leadership (3:3).

Pr. permission of instructor.

Recruitment, selection, and roles of executives and legislators; organization and activities of the offices; relationships among executive offices, administrative offices, and legislative bodies. Olson.

535 Citizen Participation in Policy-Making (3:3).

Pr. permission of instructor.

Political participation and citizen involvement in governmental policy-making. Both citizen initiated and government sponsored efforts to increase popular input analyzed. Assessment of impact of citizen participation on policy-making in specific areas of policy and on performance of government in general.

540 Nonprofit Management and Leadership (3:3).

Pr. senior or graduate standing.

Overview of major concepts and concerns of nonprofit organizations, including tax-exempt status, incorporation, nonprofit-government relations, board-director-staff relations, volunteers, services and program planning, implementation, resource development. DeHoog.

Please refer to The Graduate School Bulletin for additional graduate level courses.


Contact: University Registrar's Office
Registrar, UNCG, PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170 (336) 334-5946

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