Jul 14, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Political Science, BA

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

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Department of Political Science, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

60 credits


Political Science is one of the oldest fields of academic inquiry. Social ideals and their realization through law were systematically studied in ancient Greece. In an increasingly interdependent world, the study of politics and government has flourished as the relations between persons, groups, and nations have become more complex, and questions of freedom and authority have challenged every citizen. Modern Political Science is equally concerned with questions of political philosophy and with the pursuit of social scientific research. These concerns are reflected in a broad and diverse curriculum.

The Political Science faculty is committed to the belief that understanding politics and government is essential to a well-educated person, vital to democratic citizenship, indispensable to effective public service, and critical to the maintenance and ethical progress of a free society.

Why Consider a Political Science Major?

The Political Science curriculum prepares students for careers in public service-related occupations in both government and business. Many students majoring in Political Science go on to law school, graduate school, and into related professions.

 Contact Information

Political Science Department Chair
Amir Abedi
Arntzen Hall 415

Administrative Services Manager
Erica Steele
Arntzen Hall 415

Program Coordinator
Jessie Tanksley
Arntzen Hall 415

 Sample Careers

Campaign Manager | Politician | Lobbyist | Attorney | Public Relations Specialist | FBI/CIA Agent | Consumer Advocate | Journalist | Labor Relations Specialist | City Manager | Author | Urban Planner

 Major/Career Resources


How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Students are eligible to declare the political science major and any of the majors combined with political science if they have completed any two of the following core courses: PLSC 250, 261, 271, 291, or the equivalent course(s) at another college or university. Due to high student demand and limited capacity, immediate access to specific courses cannot be guaranteed. Priority is given to seniors and juniors who need courses to graduate. Instructions and forms to declare the Major/Minor can be found at Declaring the Major or Minor | Political Science | Western Washington University. Students are welcome to contact the department for assistance.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.


  • PLSC 101, 435, 443, 444, 447 and 448 credits apply toward the major but do not count in any field. No more than 10 credits of internship or independent study may be counted toward the major.
  • Core courses in each of the four fields are required. They are:
    • PLSC 250 for American Politics and Public Policy
    • PLSC 261 for Political Theory
    • PLSC 271 for International Relations
    • PLSC 291 for Comparative Politics
  • Students must complete:
    • One upper division course in any two fields (no course may count for more than one field)
  • One course from:
    • PLSC 431, PLSC 432, PLSC 433, PLSC 434

Balance of required 60 credits in any Political Science courses

Courses in the four fields are organized as follows:

Departmental Honors

Entrance requirements

Students must satisfy the following eligibility requirements prior to registration for PLSC 496 Honors Tutorial. The student must:

  • Be a declared political science major with senior standing
  • Have a 3.50 GPA in all upper-division political science courses
  • Have completed both of the following:
  • Core requirements for the major (PLSC 250, PLSC 261, PLSC 271 and PLSC 291)
  • Credit requirements in the area most closely related to the thesis topic
  • Have completed one of the following:
  • Two years of foreign language with a B (3.0) or better GPA; the Honors advisor, at their discretion, may choose to waive this requirement for students who demonstrate a satisfactory reading knowledge of the language
  • PLSC 366 Research in Politics, or an equivalent class in social statistics under advisement, and earn a grade of B (3.0) or better
  • Submit the completed Honors Contract to the political science department office with proper faculty signatures

Completion Requirements

To graduate with honors in political science the student must:

  • Maintain a 3.50 grade point average in all upper-division political science courses
  • Complete 4-10 credits of PLSC 496 Honors Tutorial over two quarters under the supervision of a faculty thesis advisor
  • Give an oral presentation of the thesis in arrangement with the faculty thesis advisor
  • Submit a copy of the honors thesis to the political science department office before the final grade is assigned 

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