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Undergraduate Catalog

2012 - 2013

BA in Political Science
(50 hours*)



The Discipline

See general description of the discipline.

Career Opportunities

Career choices open to graduates in political science include careers in law, teaching, business, journalism, the media, and libraries, as well as with interest groups and associations. In addition, majors are also placed with federal, state, and local governments and are found in elective politics. A number of these options do require additional graduate training.

Program Requirements    |    View MAP

  1. The Political Science Department requires a minimum of 27 hours of political science courses to be taken in residency at BYU for this degree program (BYU Independent Study courses do not meet this requirement). These hours may also go toward BYU's 30-hour residency requirement for graduation.
  2. Pl Sc 101R and 297 do not count toward the major or minor.
  3. Only 6 hours of 399R may count toward the major.
  4. No cooperative education (internship) credit from other universities or colleges will be accepted toward the major.
  5. Majors are strongly encouraged to take Phil 150 to complete the GE First-Year Writing requirement.
  6. Pl Sc 200 is prerequisite to many upper-division courses and must be taken no later than the sophomore year. Pl Sc 328 is a prerequisite to many capstone courses and should be taken in the semester following Pl Sc 200.
  7. Complete the following:
  8. Complete two of the following foundation courses before higher-numbered courses (they do not need to be taken in order):
      PL SC 110 : American Government and Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 110 : American Government and Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Honors also. Independent Study also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      DESCRIPTION: Origin and development of federal Constitution; national, state, and local governments and politics.

      Course Outcomes


      PL SC 150 : Comparative Government and Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 150 : Comparative Government and Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Honors also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      DESCRIPTION: Patterns of European, Asian, Latin American, and other political systems.
      NOTE: This course is part of a GE Mosaic. See ge.byu.edu/mosaic-list for more information.

      Course Outcomes


      PL SC 170 : Introduction to International Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 170 : Introduction to International Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      DESCRIPTION: Basic forces, practices, institutions, and foreign policies of major powers; problem areas in international politics.
      NOTE: This course is part of a GE Mosaic. See ge.byu.edu/mosaic-list for more information.

      Course Outcomes



      Note: Students who do not take one of these three foundation courses must take a corresponding upper-division elective course. If you do not take Pl Sc 110, you must take one course selected from Pl Sc 310–319R, 320, 321, 322, 323, or 410. If you do not take Pl Sc 150, you must take one course selected from Pl Sc 341–349R, 350–359R, 444, or 450–458. If you do not take Pl Sc 170, you must take one course selected from Pl Sc 370–379R, 380–388, or 470–476.
  9. Complete one of the following foundation courses before higher-numbered courses:
      PL SC 202 : Western Political Heritage 2. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 202 : Western Political Heritage 2. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Honors also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      DESCRIPTION: Western civilization from Renaissance to present, primarily from perspective of political philosophy; exploring fundamental questions in human experience; examining formative events in history; understanding value of important texts.
      NOTE: This course is part of a GE Mosaic. See ge.byu.edu/mosaic-list for more information.

      Course Outcomes


      PHIL 202 : History of Philosophy 2. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PHIL 202 : History of Philosophy 2. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Honors also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      DESCRIPTION: Western civilization from Renaissance to present, primarily from perspective of philosophy; exploring fundamental questions in human experience; examining formative events in history; understanding value of important texts.

      Course Outcomes



      Note: If students do not take Pl Sc 201 or Phil 201, they must take an upper-division elective course selected from Pl Sc 300–309, 400–409, or 322, 334, 336, 364, 374, 473.
  10. Complete the following methodology courses in sequential order:
      PL SC 200 : Political Inquiry. (4:3:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 200 : Political Inquiry. (4:3:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      DESCRIPTION: Methodology of political science, including theory and techniques of qualitative and quantitative research design.
      NOTE: Prerequisite to all upper-division courses.

      Course Outcomes


      PL SC 328 : Quantitative Political Methodology. (4:3:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 328 : Quantitative Political Methodology. (4:3:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter
      PREREQUISITE: PL SC 200
      DESCRIPTION: Quantitative techniques in political research.
      NOTE: This course is part of a GE Mosaic. See ge.byu.edu/mosaic-list for more information.

      Course Outcomes



      Note: Pl Sc 200, along with a capstone seminar, fulfills the University Core Advanced Written and Oral Communication requirement. Pl Sc 328 fulfills the University Core Languages of Learning requirement (math option).

  11. Complete one of the following theory courses during the junior year (note prerequisites in course descriptions):
      PL SC 300 : Contemporary Political Theory. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 300 : Contemporary Political Theory. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: PL SC 201 & PL SC 202; or PHIL 201 & PHIL 202
      DESCRIPTION: History of political science, including the moral and ethical dimensions of politics.

      Course Outcomes


      PL SC 310 : Theories of American Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 310 : Theories of American Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall Contact Department; Winter Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: PL SC 110 & PL SC 200
      DESCRIPTION: Major theories and approaches used to explain American politics.

      Course Outcomes


      PL SC 330 : Theories of Public Policy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 330 : Theories of Public Policy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: ECON 110 & PL SC 110 & PL SC 200
      DESCRIPTION: Major theories used in assessing public policies, including policy formation, interaction of politics and economics, institutions of policy making, and policy.

      Course Outcomes


      PL SC 350 : Theories of Comparative Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 350 : Theories of Comparative Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: PL SC 150 & PL SC 200
      DESCRIPTION: Selected issues of comparative politics such as crisis and discontinuity; development; political infrastructure (e.g., political culture and social structure); political institutions.

      Course Outcomes


      PL SC 370 : Theory of International Relations. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 370 : Theory of International Relations. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: PL SC 170 & PL SC 200
      DESCRIPTION: Most influential traditions of thought in international relations; includes realism, idealism, Marxism, neorealism, complex interdependence, etc.

      Course Outcomes


  12. Complete 24 additional hours of political science electives, except 400, 410, 430, 450, 470. Only one 100-level course and one 200-level course may be counted.
  13. Complete one of the following capstone seminars during the senior year. A completed capstone paper with at least a C– grade is required to receive a final grade in all capstone classes and fulfill the University Core Advanced Written and Oral Communication requirement (note prerequisites in course descriptions):
      PL SC 400 : Capstone Seminar in Political Theory. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 400 : Capstone Seminar in Political Theory. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: PL SC 200 & PL SC 201 & PL SC 202 & PL SC 300; Political Science major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Seminar in political theory for students in their senior year.

      Course Outcomes


      PL SC 410 : Capstone Seminar in American Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 410 : Capstone Seminar in American Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: PL SC 110 & PL SC 200; Some sections also require Pl Sc 328.
      DESCRIPTION: Seminar in American politics and government for students in their senior year.
      NOTE: For political science majors only.

      Course Outcomes


      PL SC 430 : Capstone Seminar in Public Policy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 430 : Capstone Seminar in Public Policy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: PL SC 110 & PL SC 200; Some sections also require Pl Sc 328.
      DESCRIPTION: Seminar in public policy for students in their senior year.
      NOTE: For political science majors only.

      Course Outcomes


      PL SC 450 : Capstone Seminar in Comparative Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 450 : Capstone Seminar in Comparative Politics. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: PL SC 150 & PL SC 200; Some sections also require Pl Sc 328. Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Seminar in comparative politics and government for students in their senior year.

      Course Outcomes


      PL SC 470 : Capstone Seminar in International Relations. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PL SC 470 : Capstone Seminar in International Relations. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: PL SC 170 & PL SC 200; Some sections also require Pl Sc 328. Political Science major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Seminar in international relations and politics for students in their senior year.

      Course Outcomes


  14. All students are strongly encouraged to complete an internship. Established programs are available through Washington Seminar, Utah State Legislature, or the Kennedy Center. Up to 6 hours of credit earned from an internship (399R) may be counted toward the major.
  15. Students who plan no formal education beyond the bachelor's degree should add a minor or develop adequate skills through other courses that will enhance their employment opportunities. Consult the college advisement center or department Web site.

    Students who plan to seek MA or PhD degrees are strongly encouraged to strengthen their quantitative and analytical skills. These students should consult with faculty about other skills that specific graduate programs might require.
  16. Students scoring a 5 on the American Government and/or Comparative Government AP exams may substitute AP credit for Pl Sc 110 or Pl Sc 150, respectively. However, they are required to take at least one upper-division elective in each subfield in which they substitute AP credit for American Government and Politics or Comparative Government and Politics.

*Hours include courses that may fulfill university core requirements.



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