Political Science: American Politics, BA

Political Science explores systematic approaches to understanding politics. Students may choose to take a general approach to the subject or pursue a concentration in the sub-fields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations or political theory. In addition students may select a world region for an area studies concentration. The Political Science Department's course offerings span the discipline of political science, from American political institutions, to the politics of world regions, the emergence of a new international order, and recent and ancient political ideas. The Department's curriculum is divided into the four standard fields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theories. There are also other opportunities for study in political processes of elections and communications and public policy.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 32. Double majors may entail more course units.

A minimum of 9 course units in Political Science are required, of which 6 must be taken in the Political Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania (includes Washington, DC Semester). See Major Program Booklet for Transfer and AP credit restrictions.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements
Core Requirement
Select 2 course units of the following:2
Introduction to Comparative Politics
Comparative Politics of Developing Areas
Introduction to American Politics
Introduction to International Relations
Ancient Political Thought
Modern Political Thought
Subfield Requirement
Select 1 course in three of the four subfields:3
American Politics
Comparative Politics
International Relations
Political Theory
PSCI or Major Related Electives
Select 7 course units in PSCI or Major Related 27
Total Course Units32

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


A maximum of three non-PSCI courses are allowed.

American Politics Concentration

Select 5 course units of Concentration courses in consultation with the faculty advisor with three course units in PSCI5
Total Course Units5


Required: A minimum overall GPA of 3.3 and a 3.6 GPA in all PSCI courses taken in the major.

PSCI 4997Political Science Honors1
PSCI 4999Honors Thesis Independent Study1

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.