See the big picture: Learn to analyze complex political problems and find viable solutions in both public and private sectors with a political science degree.

With a Bachelor of Science in political science from University of Maryland University College, you'll develop a comprehensive understanding of American government and global politics. By analyzing political structures, theory, and problems, you'll learn to interpret complex political problems and propose potential solutions. You'll also have an opportunity to enhance your professionalism and fine-tune your communication and organizational skills.

These program requirements are for students who enroll in the 2017–2018 academic year. For prior year academic requirements, visit the catalog archive in the Current Students section.

This program is also available as a minor.

About the Political Science Bachelor's Degree

In your core political science courses, you'll develop research and communication skills. Courses examine issues in policy development, global terrorism, foreign policy, defense policy and arms control, the intelligence community, and challenges in modern politics.

What You'll Learn

Through your coursework, you will learn how to

  • Analyze and participate in the creation of public policy at the local, state, federal, and international levels by building consensus and using effective lobbying techniques
  • Participate in and influence government at all levels through an understanding of the establishment, structure, and interaction of governmental institutions
  • Use effective writing, research, analysis, advocacy, and coalition-building skills to develop and influence policy at the national and international levels
  • Conduct, analyze, and evaluate theoretical and empirical research for specific problems to affect domestic and international policy by applying political theory, systems, and processes in organizational environments
  • Apply knowledge of ethical principles and issues to public policy and politics

Coursework Examples

In past projects, students have had the opportunity to

  • Complete an in-depth country analysis with particular stress on politico-economic issues to produce a white paper to assist governments or corporations in assessing political or economic risks
  • Develop a counterterrorism plan for a specific organization
  • Choose a policy-oriented organization and research an issue to present

Political Science Bachelor's Degree Requirements

Our curriculum is designed with input from employers, industry experts, and scholars. You'll learn theories combined with real-world applications and practical skills you can apply on the job right away.

Courses in the Major

  • GVPT 100
  • GVPT 101
  • GVPT 170 or GVPT 200
  • GVPT 280
  • GVPT 306
  • GVPT 409 or any upper-level GVPT course
  • GVPT 403 or any upper-level GVPT course
  • GVPT 406
  • GVPT 457 or any upper-level GVPT course
  • GVPT 495

Electives

The bachelor's degree in political science requires 49 credits of minor and/or elective coursework.

General Education Requirements

Research Course

  • LIBS 150
    (to be taken in first 6 credits)

Writing and Communication Courses

  • WRTG 101
  • WRTG 293 or other writing course
  • COMM 202 or other communication, writing, or speech course
  • WRTG 391 or other advanced upper-level writing course

Arts and Humanities Courses

  • HIST 125 or other arts and humanities course
  • HUMN 100 or other arts and humanities course

Behavioral and Social Sciences Courses

  • ECON 103 or other behavioral and social sciences course
  • BEHS 103 or other behavioral and social sciences course

Biological and Physical Sciences Courses

  • BIOL 103 or other science lecture and laboratory course(s)
  • NSCI 100 or other science lecture course

Math Course

  • STAT 200
    (related requirement for the major)

Computing Courses

  • IFSM 201 or CMST 301
  • CMIS 111 or another computing course appropriate to the academic major

Since some recommended courses fulfill more than one requirement, substituting courses for those listed may require you to take additional courses to meet degree requirements. Consult an advisor whenever taking advantage of other options. Please also see more information on alternate courses (where allowable) to fulfill general education requirements.

Overall Bachelor's Degree Requirements

In addition to the general education requirements and the major, minor, and elective requirements, the overall requirements listed below apply to all bachelor's degrees.

  • You must complete a minimum of 120 credits
  • You must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 overall and a minimum grade of C for any class applied to the academic major or minor
  • Within the 120 credits required, the following coursework must be taken through UMUC:
    • 30 credits (normally the final 30)
    • Half of the required number of credits within both the major and the minor
    • 15 credits at the upper level (earned in classes numbered 300 to 499), preferably within the major or minor
  • At least 45 credits must be upper level and include
    • At least half of the credits required for the major
    • 3 credits in advanced writing
  • The remaining upper-level credits can be earned in any part of the curriculum
  • At least half the required number of credits for any academic major or minor must be earned through graded coursework. Credit earned by examination, portfolio assessment, or noncollegiate training does not count as graded coursework

Double majors: You can earn a dual major upon completion of all requirements for both majors, including the required minimum number of credits for each major and all related requirements for both majors. The same class cannot be used to fulfill requirements for more than one major. Certain restrictions (including use of credit and acceptable combinations of majors) apply for double majors. You cannot major in two programs with excessive overlap of required coursework. Contact an admissions counselor before selecting a double major.

Second bachelor's degree: To earn a second bachelor's degree, you must complete at least 30 credits through UMUC after completing the first degree. The combined credit in both degrees must add up to at least 150 credits. You must complete all requirements for the major. All prerequisites apply. If any of these requirements were satisfied in the previous degree, the remainder necessary to complete the minimum 30 credits of new classes should be satisfied with classes related to your major. You may not earn a second bachelor's degree in general studies and may not obtain a second associate's degree within the second bachelor's degree. Contact an admissions counselor before pursuing a second bachelor's degree.

Electives: Electives can be taken in any academic discipline. No more than 21 credits can consist of vocational or technical credit. Pass/fail credit, up to a maximum of 18 credits, can be applied toward electives only.

Career Preparation

This program is designed to help you prepare for graduate study or careers in local, state, and federal government, such as policy development for think tanks, research at intelligence agencies, work with local and state governments or nonprofit organizations, political campaign management, or national/international security research and related affairs.

Experience Recommended for Success in the Program

We recommend you have strong written and verbal communication, critical thinking, and analytical skills.

Student Clubs and Organizations

Pi Gamma Mu

Type: Honor society
Available To: Undergraduate

Pi Gamma Mu is the international honor society that recognizes outstanding scholarship in the social sciences at UMUC. Students interested in anthropology, criminal justice, economics, gerontology, history, political science, social psychology, sociology, and women's studies may qualify for membership. The society recently named UMUC's Maryland Theta chapter to its Roll of Distinction, the highest honor that the society grants.