College of Letters & Science
110 North Hall, 1050 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI 53706; 608-263-2414; www.polisci.wisc.edu
Professors Burden, Canon, Coleman, Downs, Franklin, Friedman, Goldstein, Hendley, Manion, Marquez, Martin, Mayer, Pevehouse, Schatzberg, Shafer, Tripp, Weimer, Witte; Associate Professors Ewig, Gehlbach, Herrera, Kydd, Schweber, Straus, Walsh, Yackee, Zumbrunnen; Assistant Professors Avramenko, Bhavnani, Copelovitch, Favretto, Kapust, Kinsella, Klausen, Lindsay, Ringe, Shelef, Simmons, Tahk
Faculty diversity liaison: Ben Marquez, email@example.com
There are many definitions of political science. But whether a definition focuses on the analysis of governmental structures, or influences on voter choice, or the relationship between national governments, or the best form of government, at base, political science is about the systematic study of power. Whether power is exercised formally, as is the case between government and the individual, or informally, as is the case between individuals, it is the systematic study of power relationships that provides the subject matter for the discipline. Majors in political science obtain not only an understanding of the workings of government, but they also develop important skills in critical thinking and analysis. These skills make them ideal candidates for careers in law; in government at the state, national, and international levels; in business; in journalism; and in politics.
- A minimum of 30 credits is required for the major.
- Courses must be selected so that the total number of political science credits taken for completion of the major includes at least one course in each of the four groups. Courses listed in two groups may be counted in either, but not both, groups. Students must have a grade of at least C in at least one course in each group.
- No more than 6 credits of Directed Study (199, 698, 699) and/or Internship (427, 468, 478) may be counted toward the major.
- Please note that 300-600 level courses are generally comparable in difficulty. The 300-level courses are generally international relations; 400 level courses are American politics (with the exception of 400 and 401 Topics courses); 500-level courses are political theory; and 600-level courses below 680 are comparative politics.
Courses counting in each group are:
Group I. Political Theory: 181, 185, 209, 218, 274, or any course at the 500 level
Group III. Comparative Government: 106, 186, 220, 222, 230, 231, 244, 252, 253, 254, 260, 261, 277, 297, 318, 338, 368, 477, 505, 545, any course at the 600 level below 680, 690
Group IV. International Relations: 103, any course at the 300 level, 442, 639, 653, 663, 664
Political Science 400 and 401 Topics courses can be used to satisfy the distribution requirements as appropriate. Distribution requirements that will be met by a specific topics course will be announced prior to enrollment.
Declaration of the major is to be made in the office of the undergraduate advisors, Liane Kosaki, 101B North Hall or Catherine Farry, 302 North Hall.
All students are required to fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major completed in residence. Political science courses numbered 300 and above count toward this requirement.
Political science majors who wish to enroll in the following courses must obtain prior consent/authorization: Directed Study—199, 698, 699; Thesis—681, 682, 683, 684, 691, and 692; Proseminars—695 (varies by specific course; please check footnotes in the class schedule); Specific Topic—201; Honors Research Internship 685; and graduate courses. Legislative Internship 427 and Washington Internship 478 (summer) are available by application only. Application for 427 for fall is due in March; application for 427 for spring is due in October. Specific deadlines will be announced each semester. PS 478 is available to students participating in the DC Summer Internship program; for further information see: http://polisci.wisc.edu/dcinternship/. Students with a classification making them ineligible for certain courses due to retroactive or AP credits may see the instructor for possible permission to enroll on a space-available basis. Students who wish to enroll in a course that is closed may use the online wait list available through the Student Center in MyUW.
All courses offered in summer sessions will carry only 3 credits unless noted otherwise. The number of credits for variable credit courses is determined by course format and contact periods for a specific semester and are noted in the class schedule. For graduate programs, see the Graduate School Catalog .
The Honors in the Major track in Political Science is intended for students who are eager to experience the excitement of original research and who wish to graduate with the best possible undergraduate training in the discipline. Honors in the Major is especially appropriate for students who are considering graduate work in political science or who want an especially rigorous training in research, reasoning, and writing skills useful to a wide range of career choices. Students should consult with the departmental honors coordinator and departmental advisor to determine the best way to fulfill honors requirements and how to make the most out of the Honors in the Major experience in the field.
Students working toward Honors in Political Science must complete the standard major requirements (i.e., 30 credits in political science meeting the normal distribution requirements for the major) as well as meet the following requirements:
1. Political Science Honors Program Entrance Requirements
- Declaration of political science major.
- 3.3 overall GPA.
- Completion of or current enrollment in at least one political science course taken for honors credit.
2. Honors Program Requirements (in addition to the standard requirements for the major).
- 20 political science credits taken for honors credit.
- Earn a minimum GPA of 3.5 in political science courses and an overall GPA of at least 3.3 in all courses taken at UW-Madison at the time of graduation.
- Complete ONE of the following, preferably and ordinarily in the junior year:
(1) A proseminar (695)
(2) Complete one 800-level graduate course
(3) A research internship with a faculty member (685)
- Write an honors thesis. This must be a two-semester project. The student should enroll for the Honors Thesis Seminar (683/684); or a student may enroll in the independent honors thesis (681/682) under special circumstances with the permission of the supervising professor. Normally, the thesis will include thesis planning activities during the junior year.
Students not enrolled in the honors program may apply for "Distinction in the Major." Criteria include:
- 3.7 GPA on all courses in the major; minimum 3.0 overall cumulative GPA
- A minimum of 20 credits of upper-level work in the major, in residence
- At least one of the following: senior thesis; 695 proseminar; graduate course; or "substantial additional work" in an advanced political science course, as approved by the instructor
The application for distinction in the major is located on the department website. Applications are due via email or hard copy to Liane Kosaki by two weeks prior to graduation.