The Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, offered by the Department of Political Science, enables students to learn about the theory and practice of politics across four established subfields:

  • American politics (including the local, state, and federal levels);
  • comparative (foreign) governments;
  • international relations, and
  • political theory.

Students develop strong proficiency in analytical, research and writing skills, with a particular emphasis on methodological rigor. They learn how to develop sophisticated arguments, conduct critical research on a variety of topics, and communicate their work through oral presentations and scholarly papers. Finally, they gain civic awareness about their role as citizens and thinkers in an increasingly complex political world.

Political Science graduates pursue a wide range of careers. Many work in government offices, political campaigns, civic organizations, public institutions and international agencies. A degree in Political Science is also excellent preparation for graduate school, with law school, public policy and international affairs being the most popular choices. Many also work in the private sector, such as consulting, business and the media. To support career planning, the department offers its own 1-credit career development seminar (POLS 1002).

The department offers many opportunities for students to further their learning outside the classroom. Many students undertake internships linked to academic study, including public service opportunities. The Experiential Learning Program offers internships combined with academic seminars. The department also works closely with several student organizations, including the Political Science Society as well as Pi Sigma Alpha, the national honorary political science society.

Course Sequencing for Political Science Majors

Students begin the major by taking four introductory courses: POLS 1101, POLS 1201, POLS 1301, and POLS 2496.

Courses should be sequenced so that students take the introductory courses before the upper-level courses. POLS 1101 is an introduction to U.S. politics and should be taken before upper-level courses in this area. Similarly, POLS 1201 introduces foreign governments and precedes upper-level courses in this field. POLS 1301 introduces international politics and is a prerequisite for upper-level courses in this subject matter. POLS 2496 introduces political theory and should generally be taken in the sophomore year and should precede upper-level theory courses.

Once the introductory courses are completed, students can move on to the electives at the upper level (numbered 2000-4999), of which 3 are needed. Students should pay particular attention to the order in which they take the research methods-capstone sequence (which is taken concurrent with the electives). The first course in this sequence is POLS 2503 Evidence and Knowledge, a research design course that teaches students how to conduct empirical research, an essential skill for successfully completing the upper-level courses.

Evidence and Knowledge (POLS 2503) will lay the foundation for the next two research preparation courses (numbered 3501 through 3599). These research-intensive courses focus on an advanced topic, like other upper level courses, but they also place an emphasis on sharpening the research skills covered in the first course. Once two research intensive courses are completed, the student enrolls in a capstone seminar, the culminating experience of the Political Science major. Topics for research intensive and capstone courses change each semester and often address recent political events and dilemmas. Course descriptions for these courses will be available online.

Campus Location: Main and Japan

Program Code: LA-POLS-BA

Distinction in Major

Distinction in Major recognizes highly motivated Political Science students who accept opportunities to demonstrate their interests and skills by undertaking additional research-oriented classes or in-depth Political Science oriented internships.

Students earn Distinction in Major by holding a GPA in the major of at least 3.8 at graduation and by completing at least one additional upper-level course (POLS 3580, POLS 3996, or an additional 4000-level capstone) or by enrolling in a 3+ credit Political Science internship (POLS 4585). Entry to junior and senior capstone courses requires permission by the Political Science Advisors (Nick Catsis and Sean Murphy). When applying for permission, students should note their interest in receiving distinction.

Students who have questions about their eligibility are encouraged to contact Undergraduate Chair, Alexandra Guisinger.

Accelerated Bachelor of Arts / Master of Arts in Political Science (4+1) Program

High-achieving undergraduates can apply for the 4+1 BA/MA accelerated degree program in Political Science, which enables them to obtain their BA and MA in Political Science in five years rather than the usual six. Students begin taking graduate courses in their last three undergraduate semesters, and then spend their fifth year completing all remaining MA requirements. Eligible students must have a minimum GPA of 3.5, both overall and in Political Science and have passed POLS 2503 Evidence and Knowledge by the time they begin graduate coursework. Students will receive notification of eligibility at the end of their sophomore year, and applications will be accepted until October 15th of their junior year. For more information, please contact the Graduate Chair.

Accelerated Bachelor of Arts in Political Science / Master of Public Policy (4+1) Program

The Department of Political Science and the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program offer an accelerated track that enables students to attain their BA in Political Science and an MPP in five years, instead of the customary six. Students apply to the program during their third or fourth year of undergraduate study and begin taking graduate coursework upon entry. The GRE is not necessary, but students must maintain an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 3.5. For more information, please contact the MPP Director, Gary Mucciaroni.

Funding and Support

The Political Economy Certificate Program

The Department of Political Science and the Department of Economics offer an interdisciplinary program leading to a Certificate in Political Economy. The program focuses on the interaction between government and the economy and is ideal preparation for students planning careers in either the public or private sector. It also provides an excellent foundation for graduate studies in law, the social sciences, and public administration. The program is open to all matriculated students in the university. Contact Alexandra Guisinger or Roselyn Hsueh for specific details and requirements.

Pre-Law Studies

Beth Lawson
CLA Academic Advising

Political Science is one of the most popular majors for pre-law students. Pre-law students should develop skills in communicating ideas, sharpen their analytical abilities and ability to think logically, and acquire in-depth understanding of at least one liberal arts field (such as Political Science). Students interested in law school can read these requirements at CLA Pre-Law, and for more information contact Paul Crowe in the Philosophy department.


The department encourages students to obtain internships linked to academic study. Students may replace up to two upper-level electives (equivalent to 6 credit hours) from qualifying internships undertaken with external organizations and programs, as approved by the Internship Coordinator. In addition, the Experiential Learning Program offers internships combined with academic seminars, with courses specially designated for this track.

Public Service Opportunities through the Public Service Cooperative

Temple University's faculty, students and alumni have a long tradition of public service. For internships related to public service, the department offers several credit-bearing opportunities at the local, state and federal levels. Interested students should complete the program application and contact Internship Coordinator Sean Murphy.

The City Hall Experience

The City Hall Internship Experience allows undergraduate students the opportunity to work in Philadelphia City Hall for 10-12 hours each week while earning the equivalent of a 3-credit internship. In addition to receiving credits for internship, students will participate in a 1-credit class for one hour each week to discuss Philadelphia, its policy initiatives, and the ins and outs of city government.

Harrisburg Capital Semester

Temple University sponsors an internship semester each fall and spring in Harrisburg in association with Temple's Harrisburg campus. Students have the opportunity to explore government affairs, policymaking and implementation first-hand while being full-time students and staying on track to graduation. The Harrisburg semester allows students to receive 6-9 credit hours of internship along with a 3-credit Research Preparation course and a 1-credit Professional Development Seminar.

The Washington Semester

The Washington Semester allows Temple students to gain valuable career experience in the nation's capital, while remaining full-time students. If accepted into the program, students register for three courses in the College of Liberal Arts (two for 3 credits each, and one for 9 credits) for a 15-credit semester in the fall or spring. (Summer programs are also available for 12 credits.) Temple University serves as liaison to The Washington Center (TWC), a well-established and well-regarded internship semester program in Washington, D.C., through which Temple students receive internships and take classes.

Study Abroad

Many Political Science majors have taken advantage of Temple's study abroad programs, which provide the life-changing experience of scholarship at overseas institutions, immersion in foreign cultures and learning new languages. The Office of Education Abroad and Overseas Campuses has information on a variety of programs. The most popular destinations include the Temple campuses in Tokyo and Rome, as well as programs in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain. Study abroad destinations include over 80 countries located on every continent. For questions regarding eligibility and program equivalency, please contact Undergraduate Advisor Nick Catsis.

Student Organizations

The department hosts two main organizations that represent the breadth and depth of its students. The faculty advisor is Sean Yom.

Political Science Society

The Political Science Society is the organization for all Political Science majors and minors at Temple University. The purpose of the association is to represent the opinions and interests of undergraduate majors within the Political Science Department. The association sponsors activities including career forums, lectures, student and faculty mixers, law and graduate forums, seminars on popular topics, and trips to locales like New York City and Washington, DC.

Pi Sigma Alpha

Pi Sigma Alpha is the national honorary society for political science students. Temple's chapter was founded in 1965, and since then has inducted over a thousand students. Eligible students are offered membership prior to their junior or senior year. Membership is lifetime. Students who join have opportunities to attend special research conferences, apply for internship and graduate funding, and publish their work in research journals.

Contact Information

Main Campus

Department Office
4th Floor Gladfelter Hall

Mark Pollack, Chair
461 Gladfelter Hall

Alexandra Guisinger, Undergraduate Chair
459 Gladfelter Hall

Nicolaos Catsis, Undergraduate Advisor
422 Gladfelter Hall

Sean Murphy, Internship Program Coordinator
411 Gladfelter Hall

Jessica Brennan, Administrator

Anna Hunter, Coordinator

Temple Japan Campus

Masaki Kakizaki, PhD, Political Science Coordinator

Learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

These requirements are for students who matriculated in academic year 2023-2024. Students who matriculated prior to fall 2023 should refer to the Archives to view the requirements for their Bulletin year.

Summary of Degree Requirements

University Requirements

  • MATH 0701 (4 s.h.) and/or ENG 0701 (4 s.h.), if required by placement testing.
  • All Temple students must take a minimum of two writing-intensive courses as part of the major. The specific courses required for this major are POLS 2496 Introduction to Political Philosophy and POLS 4896 Capstone Seminar in Political Science.
  • Students must complete requirements of the General Education (GenEd) Program. See the General Education section of the Undergraduate Bulletin for more details.

College of Liberal Arts Requirements

  • Completion of a minimum of 123 credits, including:
    • 90 credits in CLA/CST courses;
    • 45 credits of which must be at the upper level (numbered 2000-4999).
      • For Social Science majors, 6 upper level credits (numbered 2000-4999) must be taken in Humanities Subject Areas: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek (Ancient), Greek and Roman Classics, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Philosophy, Religion, Russian, and Spanish in the College of Liberal Arts, Art History in the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, or any department in the College of Science and Technology.
    • A minimum GPA of 2.0, cumulatively, in CLA/CST coursework, and in the major.
    • Professional Development Requirement
      • All students in the College of Liberal Arts are required to take a 1 credit seminar in professional development. CLA 1002 Professional Development for Liberal Arts Majors is the appropriate course option for this major. Other courses that fulfill this requirement may be found on the CLA College Requirements page. Only one course in this category may count towards graduation.
    • Only courses in which a student receives a grade of at least C- can satisfy GenEd, major, minor, or CLA Foreign Language and Global Studies requirements.
    • Foreign Language/Global Studies Requirements
      • All students must complete or test out of the first and second levels of a foreign language - these courses are numbered 1001 and 1002;
      • All students must complete at least one course from the GenEd Global/World Society category; and
      • All Bachelor of Arts students must complete one of the following options:
        • Third semester of a foreign language;
        • Demonstrated proficiency beyond the third semester in a foreign language (placement exam or certification from the language department);
        • Take one Global Studies course from the list on the CLA College Requirements page;
        • Study Abroad at an approved program; or
        • Take a second General Education Global/World Society course.
      • Notes on Foreign Language Study
        • The third level of language is numbered 1003 in French, Spanish, and Portuguese and numbered 2001 in all other foreign language subjects.
        • Students are strongly encouraged to take the third level of a foreign language as it is the minimum required for election to the prestigious honor society Phi Beta Kappa. (Taking the course does not guarantee admission but not taking it guarantees exclusion.)
        • See the College of Liberal Arts Policies section of this Bulletin for more information on the Foreign Language Placement, Regression in Coursework, and guidelines for students' other experiences with language.

General Electives are typically one-third of a student's program of study and can be focused on a second major, a minor, or towards some other personal enrichment or professional goals. See an academic advisor for assistance in developing an academic plan for these courses.

Major Requirements - 11 Courses in Political Science (33 credits)

Required Courses
POLS 1101The American Political System3
POLS 1201Foreign Governments and Politics3
POLS 1301International Politics3
POLS 2496Introduction to Political Philosophy3
POLS 2503Evidence and Knowledge3
Select 2 Research Preparatory courses numbered 3501-35996
Select 3 upper-level Political Science courses numbered 2000-4999 19
POLS 4896Capstone Seminar in Political Science 23
Total Credit Hours33

With the exception of POLS 2496.


POLS 4896 is the capstone course for the major and should be taken in the senior year after the completion of POLS 1101, POLS 1201, POLS 1301, POLS 2496, POLS 2503, two Research Preparatory courses (numbered 3501-3599), and three additional Political Science courses (numbered 2000-4999).

Not all courses are offered every semester. Please check the Class Schedule for actual course offerings each semester.

Suggested Academic Plan

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

Suggested Plan for New Students Starting in the 2023-2024 Academic Year

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
FallCredit Hours
ENG 0802
Analytical Reading and Writing
or Analytical Reading and Writing: ESL
or Honors Writing About Literature
GenEd Quantitative Literacy Course GQ 4
Foreign Language 1001 - first level 4
GenEd Breadth Course 3
 Credit Hours15
IH 0851
Intellectual Heritage I: The Good Life
or Honors Intellectual Heritage I: The Good Life
Foreign Language 1002 - second level 4
GenEd Breadth Course 3
POLS 1101 The American Political System 3
POLS 1201 Foreign Governments and Politics 3
 Credit Hours16
Year 2
IH 0852
Intellectual Heritage II: The Common Good
or Honors Intellectual Heritage II: The Common Good
GenEd Breadth Course 3
GenEd Breadth Course 3
POLS 1301 International Politics 3
One 0800-4999 Elective in Any School or College 2
Select one of the following: 3
Foreign Language - third level
GenEd Global/World Society Course
Internationally Focused Course From Approved List
 Credit Hours17
GenEd Breadth Course 3
GenEd Breadth Course 3
GenEd Breadth Course 3
One 2000+ Political Science Course 3
POLS 2496 Introduction to Political Philosophy 3
CLA 1002 Professional Development for Liberal Arts Majors 1
 Credit Hours16
Year 3
POLS 2503 Evidence and Knowledge 3
CLA/CST 0800-4999 Elective 3
One 2000+ Political Science Course 3
CLA/CST 2000+ Course 3
CLA/CST 2000+ Humanities/CST Course 3
 Credit Hours15
CLA/CST 2000+ Humanities Course 3
Political Science 3501-3599 Capstone Preparation Course 3
One 2000+ Political Science Course 3
CLA/CST 2000+ Course 3
CLA/CST 0800-4999 Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
Year 4
Political Science 3501-3599 Capstone Preparation Course 3
CLA/CST 2000+ Course 3
CLA/CST 0800-4999 Elective 2
CLA/CST 0800-4999 Elective 3
CLA/CST 0800-4999 Elective 3
 Credit Hours14
POLS 4896 Capstone Seminar in Political Science 3
CLA/CST 2000+ Course 3
CLA/CST 2000+ Course 3
CLA/CST 0800-4999 Elective 3
One 0800-4999 Elective in Any School or College 3
 Credit Hours15
 Total Credit Hours123