Political Science Majors and Minors

The Political Science Department offers diverse and flexible programs designed to help students prepare for meaningful careers in government and international public service, law, journalism, teaching and other related areas. In the liberal arts tradition, programs and courses are fashioned to help students develop the skills and background necessary to interpret the political world and understand how politics shapes contemporary life. The department’s goals are to help students improve their capacity to creatively ask and systematically answer questions, and to improve their skills in communicating their knowledge and insights in both written and oral fashion. Students are encouraged to work closely with their advisers to plan their study and to sample widely from a variety of course offerings. Students must also participate in either community service and/or research activities appropriate to their career goals and interests.

Declaration of Major or Minor

Students can declare their major or minor online.

Students can choose from the general major in political science, major in political science with teacher licensure, or minor in political science. Before declaring a major in Political Science, students should make an appointment with Department Chair Dr. Linda Cornett (ZAG 208A) to discuss their interests and the program.

Although it is not required, we also recommend that students complete one or two courses from among POLS 220, POLS 235, POLS 240, POLS 261, POLS 281, and STAT 185 requirements before declaring.

Course Requirements

Review the course descriptions and Political Science major/minor requirements in the UNC Asheville Course Catalog.

Gateway courses

The following political science gateway courses are required of majors:

  1. Two courses from POLS 220, POLS 235, POLS 240, POLS 261, POLS 281
  2. POLS 290

POLS 220: Principles of American Political Behavior, POLS 235: Introduction to Law, POLS 240: Political Ideas and Imagination, POLS 261: Introduction to Comparative Politics, POLS 281: Principles of International Relations, and POLS 290: Political Analysis, should be taken early for several reasons. First, they are prerequisites for many of the upper-division courses. More importantly, these introductory courses are designed to prepare students to succeed in upper level courses by introducing them to the foundational concepts, theories, and methods of political science.

Senior Requirement – POLS 490

All political science majors must complete the senior capstone experience, fulfilled by POLS 490: Senior Research Capstone. This course is offered every semester, but should be taken in the first semester of senior year.

Work closely with your adviser during your junior year to make sure you are on track to graduate according to plan.

Study Abroad

The Political Science department strongly encourages students to study abroad. However, because the senior requirements must be met on campus, students should plan to study abroad during their sophomore or, ideally, junior year. Talk to your adviser about your study abroad plans early and often.