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School of Education

Political Science Major and Minor Requirements

Faculty advisor: Professor Alan Lockwood, 256A Teacher Education, 263-6262, lockwood@education.wisc.edu

Important: The School of Education is now offering a new and innovative teacher licensing program in secondary education. Licensing in middle and high school English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies is now obtained by completing a master’s degree program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Graduates are awarded a master’s degree along with certification in their subject area(s) and certification in English as a Second Language (ESL).

This new structure means that students at UW–Madison become certified to teach these subjects only through graduate-level course work, not as undergraduates.

Information about the new program (e.g., licensing areas, requirements, application process, prerequisite course work and tests, deadlines, and program selection) is available on the Curriculum and Instruction website

Advising staff in the School of Education's Academic Services Office, 139 Education Building, 608-262-1651, can also answer questions and confer with students about the new program.

The major and minor requirements listed below are provided only for (1) secondary students admitted into the undergraduate program fall 2013 or before, and for (2) elementary education students wishing to complete a minor in this subject.

Political Science Major Requirements

Complete a minimum of 34 credits. The credits required for program admission must be chosen from courses listed below. At least 15 credits of upper-level major course work (numbered 300–699) must be taken in residence on the UW–Madison campus. Students may also wish to consult with the Political Science undergraduate advisor, 110 North Hall, 263-2414. Courses are Political Science listings unless otherwise indicated.

  • Select any course numbered at the 100 level, 4
  • Statistics: Complete one of the following statistics courses:
    • Poli Sci 551
    • Sociology 359, 360, or 361
    • Statistics 224 or 301
    • Gen Bus 303
    • Economics 310
    • Geography 360
    • Psychology 210
  • Complete at least one course from each of the four Political Science groups. Courses taken to meet the requirements above may be applied toward the course distribution.
    • Political Theory: 181, 209, 218, 274, or any course at the 500 level except 554, 551, and 552
    • American Government: 104, 181, 184, 205, 213, 217, 219, 231, 267, 271, 297, any course at the 400 level except 400 and 401
    • Comparative Government: 106, 186, 222, 230, 231, 244, 252, 253, 254, 260, 261, 277, 297, 318, 338, 505, any 600 level course numbered below 680, 690
    • International Relations: 103, any 300 level course, 442, 639, 663, 664
  • Electives, if needed, to total 34 credits

Note: Students interested in studying and teaching in a number of social studies disciplines may wish to combine the major listed here with a major in Broad Field Social Studies. This combination allows an individual to develop a depth of study in a particular area of interest while acquiring a broader understanding of the social sciences. The ability to teach a number of social studies courses may increase employment opportunities and this combination will also provide a foundation for certification in additional social studies subject areas at a later date.

Political Science Minor Requirements for Students in Elementary and Secondary Education

The Political Science minor may be completed by students in Secondary Education Social Studies or Elementary Education licensing programs. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75 is required, based on all Political Science minor course work taken on the UW–Madison campus. The graduation grade point average may be modified by the last 60 credits rule.

Secondary Education students may select this minor only if completing a major in another Social Studies certification area. It is not possible to be certified only in a minor area. Interested Secondary Education students must apply and be admitted to the Social Studies program. Admission is limited and competitive. See additional information under the major of choice.

All Secondary students, whether completing their first degree or adding on a teaching minor to a prior certification, should expect to complete a methods course, participate in practicum and student teaching experience, and earn passing scores on a content exam to be recommended for certification. Students wishing to complete a minor must consult with the faculty advisor/program coordinator to discuss its field experience component.

The Political Science minor requires a minimum of 24 credits, including all requirements below. Complete the following:

  • Any 100-level political science course
  • 205 Introduction to State Government, 3–4, OR 405 State Government and Public Policy, 3–4
  • One course from the statistics group of the major
  • Group distribution requirements of the major
  • Elective credits to total 24 credits

This page was updated 9/22/14.