This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

The Department of Political Science offers a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science as well as elective courses in political science for program majors and non-majors.

The political science curriculum has two central objectives. It offers the student a broad liberal arts education along with a comprehensive understanding of the nature and the functioning of the political process and government. It also provides a sound foundation for graduate study in political science, public administration and nonprofit management, or for careers that require knowledge of governance and the political process, such as law.

Student learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  1. Assumptions, methods and analytical tools
    Students will demonstrate knowledge of the assumptions, methods and analytical tools of the discipline of political science.
  2. Current political and policy issues
    Students will demonstrate knowledge of current political and policy issues.
  3. Theory and principles of four subfields
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of basic theory and conceptual principles of political science in the four subfields of American government, political theory, international relations and comparative politics.
  4. Advanced understanding of one subfield
    Students will demonstrate an advanced understanding of current theoretical and empirical study in one subfield.
  5. Expository and analytic writing
    Students will demonstrate skill in expository and analytic writing in the political science discipline
  6. Political behavior
    Students will demonstrate knowledge of the ways in which individuals, national governmental organizations, political movements and parties, nation-states, and intergovernmental institutions work to achieve their political objectives.

Honors in political science

Political science majors can earn honors in political science. Students earn honors status when they complete POLI 490 Senior Seminar with an A grade and graduate with an overall 3.0 GPA and a 3.3 GPA in political science.