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Political Science Department|College of Arts & Sciences

Information for Undergraduate Students

The Political Science Discipline

Political Science is the study of how societies govern themselves and interact with one another. Courses of instruction in the Political Science Department are offered in the following subfields: American politics, comparative government, international relations, political philosophy, public law, and public administration. Areas of focus include analysis of government structures and processes, citizens’ influence on government, policy content, philosophical concepts and traditions, political systems of other nations, and resolution of conflicts between nations.

Our goals are to help students better understand political processes, and to develop the critical thinking and analytic skills necessary for effective participation in the political process, successful careers in the public and private sectors, and further study in law, political science, and public administration. Visit Program Learning Outcomes for more information on the Political Science Department's program goals and learning outcomes.

Academic Programs

The Political Science Department offers both a B.A. and a B.S. in Political Science as well as four separate areas of concentration. Brief descriptions of the major and the areas of concentration are provided below. More detailed information can be found on the Advising page. 

Majoring* in Political Science

A major in Political Science requires a total of 33 hours. Students must complete four Political Science gateway courses (listed below) as well as at least one Political Science seminar. Students are also required to complete STAT 2070, Introductory Statistics for the Social Sciences (or an equivalent course), and 8 hours of a single foreign language or sign language (or receive equivalent credit by examination). Majors need to complete 18 hours of electives within the department, 9 of which must be upper-division (3000 or 4000 level) coursework. A maximum of 6 hours of internship credit may count toward the hour requirements. Finally, students must meet all requirements set forth by the College of Arts and Sciences and the University of Wyoming including all University Studies Program requirements and the College of Arts and Sciences' Core Courses. 

Political Science Gateway Courses:

  • POLS 1000: American & Wyoming Government
  • POLS 2310: Introduction to International Relations
  • POLS 1200: Non-Western Political Cultures
    POLS 1250: Introduction to Comparative Government
  • POLS 2460: Introduction to Political Philosophy
    POLS 3600: American Political Thought

For more information, particularly for students preparing for Advising Week, please visit the Advising portion of this web site. 

*Please note that the information above pertains to students that entered UW on or after the fall 2015 session. For all students with a catalog year prior to fall 2015, please visit the Advising page for information on older major requirements.

Minoring in Political Science

The Political Science Department offers the following four areas of concentration:

  • American Politics (APOL)
  • International Relations & Comparative Government (IRCG)
  • Political Theory (POTH)
  • Public Law (PBLW)

All minors will require one seminar and at least 18 credit hours, 12 of which must be at the 3000 level or above. Minors require a grade of C or better in all courses. Please note that at least 12 hours in a minor must be from courses NOT being counted toward other degree requirements. Please also note that some minors may have required gateway courses. For more information and approved course lists, visit the Advising page.

Student Opportunities in Political Science

Pi Sigma Alpha - The national political science honorary provides opportunities to hear locally and nationally known speakers and share in a variety of social and academic activities.

The Milward Simpson Fund - This fund, established by admirers and friends of the former U.S. Senator and Wyoming governor, recognizes outstanding student achievements, supports student research and attendance at conferences or seminars, and sponsors visiting professors and distinguished lecturers.

Internships - Learning experiences and potential career contacts are offered with legislators, government officials, and organization leaders.

The Political Science Club - This student organization provides students the opportunity to get involved with the department. Past activities have included forums and movie nights. The club is responsible for the department's annual honors banquet, held each spring.

Exceptional Seniors - Those students who qualify may choose to develop an individual research project with time to pursue a topic in depth. Research and writing skills are developed with faculty guidance.

High Quality Faculty

The Political Science Faculty has a national reputation with an excellent teaching and research record. Teaching evaluations indicate that 92 percent of our students would recommend their political science professor to student friends. We believe in superior teaching and several faculty members have received outstanding teaching awards on campus.

The Political Science faculty also has an exceptional research record. Members of the faculty have authored nearly 300 journal articles and 20 books. Thus, political science students have access to teachers who are skillful communicators of knowledge and who are also actively involved in generating that knowledge.

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