Jul 13, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Political Science/Social Studies, BA

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

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Department of Political Science, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

93-95 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 are 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/Social Studies 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 the professions.

Secondary Education students who wish to be endorsed in Social Studies may choose this major. However, the Political Science/Social Studies degree does not require that a student pursue a teaching certificate.

To receive a recommendation for state of Washington certification, students must complete the “teacher certification” program, including the contents method course SEC 426, which is offered by the Department of Secondary Education as 1) part of the undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree, or 2) as a post-baccalaureate program, or 3) as a part of the Master’s in Teaching degree. See the Secondary Education  section of this catalog for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements. Completion of this combined major leads to endorsement in social studies.

 Contact Information

Political Science Department Chair
Amir Abedi
Arntzen Hall 415

Political Science Faculty Advisor
Kate Destler
Arntzen Hall 406

Program Coordinator
Jessie Tanksley
Arntzen Hall 415

Secondary Education Information
Janna Cecka
Miller Hall 401C

Teacher Education Admission
Miller Hall 254F

 Sample Careers

Teacher - Secondary Education | Attorney | Consumer Advocate | City Manager | Politician | Public Relations Specialist | Journalist | Author | Lobbyist | FBI/CIA Agent | Labor Relations Specialist | 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, PLSC 261, PLSC 271, PLSC 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 (2.0) or better is required for a student’s major courses, including those required for a state teaching endorsement.


Required Courses (9 credits)

Political Science Requirements (45 credits)

Note: PLSC courses may only count once toward a program requirement.

American Politics (18 credits)

❑ Complete a minimum of 18 credits among the following list of courses. Note: PLSC 250 may not count toward this requirement.

International Relations (8 credits)

❑ Complete a minimum of 8 credits from the following list of courses:

Electives (11 credits minimum)

❑ 11 additional credits in PLSC courses under advisement.

United States History (10 credits)

❑ 2 courses in the history of the United States. One course must focus on the period before 1865 and the other must focus on the period since 1865.

Pre-1450 History (5 credits)

❑ 1 course with an emphasis on the pre-1450 CE period. This course must focus on the Ancient world or on Europe, East Asia, South Asia, Africa, and/or the Middle East.

1450-present History (5 credits)

❑ 1 course with an emphasis on the period since 1450 CE. This course may focus on Europe, East Asia, South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and/or Latin America but must have a different geographical focus than the course above.

Social Science (8 credits)

❑ 8 credits in Anthropology, Geography, Psychology or Sociology courses under advisement.

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