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Political Science, Bachelor of Arts Degree

Political science is the study of power—who wields it and to what end. Political science majors study how governments interact with individuals or other governments and examine the results of those interactions.

Students choose courses from five areas of study: American government and politics, comparative government and politics, political theory, international relations, and public administration and public policy. As they progress through the major, they develop writing and critical thinking skills as well as a better understanding of the world around them. Please refer to the student handbook for more information.

Political science majors have gone on to careers in all levels of government, including working for the governor or U.S. senators and even running for office themselves. After graduation, students may also go into teaching, work for a multinational corporation or attend graduate or law school.

University Requirements

All students must complete a minimum of 120 credits. A typical class consists of three credits. At least 42 of these credits must be taken at the 300+ level. Moreover, the last 32 credits must be taken in residence (i.e., students cannot take courses from another university or local community colleges for the last 32 credits and have them transferred to the University of Nevada, Reno.). EXCEPTION: If 96 credits have been completed at the University of Nevada, Reno; a maximum of eight credits may then be transferred to the University of Nevada, Reno.

College of Liberal Arts Requirements

All students must declare both a major and minor and complete requirements for each. The political science department accepts any minor approved by the College of Liberal Arts.
Completion of four semesters of foreign language is required. The University of Nevada, Reno offers two years of Basque, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. This requirement may also be fulfilled by the completion of the fourth year of high school language or by passing a placement exam.

University Core Curriculum Requirements (36-41 Credits)

English (3-6 Credits)

  • English 101-Composition I
  • English 102-Composition II

Students who complete ENGL 102 will satisfy the core curriculum requirement. Normally, students take ENGL 101 during their first semester at the university, and ENGL 102 during the second semester. Students who need extra practice in writing skills take ENGL 098 before registering for ENGL 101.
International students must complete ENGL 114 and any prerequisite.
Students admitted to the Honors Program are not required to take ENGL 101 and may proceed directly into ENGL 102H. Please contact the Honors Program at (775) 784-1455 for more information.

Mathematics (3-5 Credits)

  • MATH 120 Fundamentals of College Mathematics
  • *MATH 127 Precalculus II (Introduced fall 2006, SEE FOOTNOTE)
  • MATH 128 Precalculus and Trigonometry
  • * STAT 152 Introduction to Statistics (SEE FOOTNOTE)
  • MATH 176 Introductory Calculus for Business and Social Sciences
  • MATH 181 Calculus I
  • *APST 270 Introduction to Statistical Methods (SEE FOOTNOTE)

Those students not ready for the speedy pace of 128 should consider the equivalent 2-semseter sequence MATH 124+MATH127

*For Core Curriculum credit in APST 270 or STAT 152 (previously MATH 152) students must demonstrate algebra proficiency by earning a B or better in MATH 126, or achieving a satisfactory score on the 126 common final, or the MATH128 Readiness Test administered by the Math Center.
The precore developmental course MATH 096 is available to help prepare students for MATH 120 or MATH 124. It is not a reliable prerequisite for MATH 128.

Natural Sciences (6 Credits)
The Natural Science requirements assist students in gaining a practical understanding of the scientific method and applying it in at least four substantial lab experiences in each core science course. In a lab experience, the student will learn how to gather and analyze data, draw conclusions and make inferences. Each course includes current as well as classical topics on science and technology. These courses require critical review of scientific literature outside the textbook, such as articles from journals and other current periodicals in the field. The courses stress the continued development of quantitative skills by requiring students to apply skills taught in the core mathematics course.
Group A courses are distinguished by a "hard science" component. All students must satisfy their core natural science requirement with at least one course from this group. At least one course must be taken from Group A. The second course may be taken from either Group A or Group B.
All core natural science courses include significant mathematical content. Students should complete the previously listed mathematics requirement (or have a mathematics placement score qualifying them for calculus) before they take core courses in natural sciences. Another option is to be concurrently enrolled in MATH 128 or higher, as well as in any core natural science course. Individual exceptions to this rule may be made at the discretion of the instructor.

Group A

  • BIOL 100-Biology: Principles and Applications
  • BIOL 191-192-Introduction to Organismal Biology I, Principles of Biological Investigation
  • CHEM 100-Molecules and Life in the Modern World
  • CHEM 121-General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 122-General Chemistry II
  • CHEM 201-General Chemistry for Scientists and Engineers I
  • CHEM 202-General Chemistry for Scientists and Engineers II
  • GEOL 100-Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Natural Disasters
  • GEOL 101-103 General Geology with lab
  • PHYS 100-Introductory Physics
  • PHYS 151-151L-General Physics I with lab
  • PHYS 152-152L-General Physics II with lab
  • PHYS 180-180L-Physics for Scientists and Engineers I with lab
  • PHYS 181-181L-Physics for Scientists and Engineers II with lab
  • PHYS 182-182L-Physics for Scientists and Engineers III with lab

Group B

  • ANTH 102-Introduction to Physical Anthropology
  • AST 109-Planetary Astronomy
  • AST 110-Stellar Astronomy
  • ATMS 117-Meteorology
  • BCH 150-Biotechnology: Science and the Citizen
  • ENV 100-Humans and the Environment
  • GEOG 103-Geography of the World's Environment
  • NUTR 121-Human Nutrition
  • PSY 103-Introduction to Psychology as a Natural Science

Social Sciences (3 Credits)

  • ANTH 101-Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 201-Peoples and Cultures of the World
  • ANTH 202-Introduction to Archaeology
  • APEC 100-Society and the Economic Value of Nature
  • APEC 202-Natural Resources, Environment and the Economy
  • ECON 100 Introduction to Economics
  • ECON 102-Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON 103-Principles of Macroeconomics
  • GEOG 106-Introduction to Cultural Geography
  • GEOG 200-World Regional Geography
  • HON 220-Introduction to Economic Theory and Policy
  • PSC 101-American Politics: Process Behavior
  • PSC 211-Comparative Government and Politics

Fine Arts (3 Credits)

  • ART 100-Visual Foundations
  • ART 260-Survey of Art History I
  • ART 261-Survey of Art History II
  • ART 252-Cinema I/The Silent Era
  • ART 253-Cinema II/The Sound Era
  • DAN 265-History of Dance I: Ancient Civilizations -18th Century
  • DAN 266-History of Dance II: 20th Century
  • DAN 467-Dance Criticisms and Aesthetics
  • MUS 121 Music Appreciation
  • MUS 122 Survey of Jazz (Formerly MUS 120)
  • MUS 123 History of American Popular Song (Formerly MUS 109)
  • MUS 124 History of the American Musical Theatre (Formerly MUS 110)
  • MUS 128 Masterworks of Music (Formerly MUS 122)
  • MUS 341 Music History I (Formerly MUS 201)
  • MUS 342 Music History II (Formerly MUS 202)
  • MUSA 151-195 Applied Instrument/Voice for Non-Majors 1 Credit (must take three classes)
  • MUSE 101 Concert Choir (Formerly MUS 111) 1 Credit (must take three classes)
  • MUSE 102 Symphonic Choir (Formerly MUS 119) 1 Credit (must take three classes)
  • MUSE 105 Women's Chorus (Formerly MUS 112) 1 Credit (must take three classes)
  • MUSE 112 Symphonic Band (Formerly MUS 118) 1 Credit (must take three classes)
  • MUSE 121 Symphony Orchestra (Formerly MUS 125) 1 Credit (must take three classes)
  • MUSE 191 Chamber Music for Non majors (Formerly MUS 204) 1 Credit (must take three classes)
  • PHIL 202-Introduction to the Philosophy of the Arts THTR 100 Introduction to the Theatre
  • THTR 105 Introduction to Acting (Formerly THTR 118: Orientation to Performing Theatre)
  • THTR 210 Theatre: A Cultural Context

Core Humanities (9 Credits)

All three Core Humanities courses are required. ENG102 must be completed before beginning the Core Humanities sequence.  CH201 must be taken first. CH202 and CH203 may be taken in any order.  CH203 satisfies the U.S. and Nevada Constitution requirements.
After admission to, and matriculation at, the University of Nevada, Reno, students cannot take substitute courses for Core Humanities either here or at any other institution.

  • CH 201-Foundations of Western Culture
  • CH 202-The Modern World
  • CH 203-The American Experience and Constitutional Change

Capstone Courses (6 Credits)

Capstone courses contribute to the core's goals and objectives, as they are intended to be intensive experiences in critical analysis, designed to broaden our perspectives beyond their culture or discipline and provide an opportunity for integration of previous courses in the major and in the Core Curriculum. They challenge us to read intensively and require analysis of complex issues in substantial pieces of writing. Topics for capstone courses may include issues relating science and society, the analysis of diverse cultures and traditions, multidisciplinary approach to a single problem, or the analysis of a single issue across national, cultural, or disciplinary lines. Capstone courses deal with ethical and substantive issues, problems and themes that affect the world community.

The pair of required capstone courses builds upon the core curriculum and courses in the student's major. Students must complete all other core curriculum requirements, including the Core Humanities sequence, before enrolling in capstone courses. At least one capstone course must be taken outside the department of the student's major.

Diversity Requirement (3 Credits)

The diversity requirement became an integral component of the Core Curriculum in 1994. The faculty strongly feels this course serves as the beginning or departure point for a much larger commitment promoting cultural understanding on campus. The goal has always been to prepare and encourage our students to acquire what has been called intercultural competencies (foreign language acquisition and cultural sensitivity), a necessity for the 21st century.
The three-credit diversity requirement aims to increase the understanding and appreciation of non-Western cultures or excluded groups within Western culture. Courses that fulfill other requirements of the Core or a student's major also may simultaneously meet the diversity requirement, if they carry the diversity designation.

Additional College Requirements (6-20 Credits)

*Credits may vary depending on initial course placement in foreign language.

Foreign Language (0-14 Credits)

Successful completion of the foreign language requirement may be accomplished through one of six options: complete a fourth semester college course in a foreign language; complete two semesters of Latin (LAT 111 and LAT 112) and two semesters of Greek (GRE 111 and 112); complete a fourth semester course in American Sign Language; demonstrate proficiency through placement examination or other means through the Department of World Language; show transcript evidence of successful completion of a fourth year high school course in foreign language; or participate in a studies abroad program pre-approved by the college to meet the foreign language requirement.

College Breadth Requirement (6 Credits)

Students seeking a Bachelor of Arts degree in the college shall be required to take, within the College of Liberal Arts, two courses (6 credits) that are outside the departments in which they major or minor and that exclude courses taken to fulfill Core Curriculum requirements.

Major Requirements (30 Credits)

PSC 101 is required for the Political Science major, but does not have to be taken first. Thirty credits are required for the major with at least one of the classes in each of the following five areas. Eighteen of the credits must be in courses numbered 300 or above. Only six credits of internship courses may be used to fill the 30-credit requirement. Courses marked with an asterisk may be used in either area where they are listed.

American Government

  • PSC 101-American Politics: Process and Behavior
  • PSC 103-Principles of American Constitutional Government
  • PSC 208-Survey of State and Local Government
  • PSC 255-The American Women's Movement
  • PSC 304-The Legislative Process
  • PSC 305-The American Presidency
  • *PSC 332-The Judicial Process
  • PSC 341-Elements of Public Administration
  • *PSC 353-Identity Politics in the United States
  • *PSC 354-Politics and Women
  • *PSC 401a-Urban Politics
  • PSC 401e-Politics of Nevada
  • PSC 401f-Public Opinion and Political Behavior
  • PSC 401h-American Political Parties and Electoral Behavior
  • PSC 401l-Citizen Participation, Pressure Groups and Political Movement
  • PSC 401m-Intergovernmental Relations
  • PSC 401z-Special Topics in American Government
  • PSC 411g-Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers and Federalism
  • *PSC 403h-The Supreme Court and Public Policy
  • PSC 490g- Internship: Congressional
  • PSC 490b- Internship: Legislative

Public Administration and Public Policy

  • PSC 210-American Public Policy
  • PSC 320-Policy Analysis
  • *PSC 332-The Judicial Process
  • PSC 341-Elements of Public Administration
  • *PSC 353-Identity Politics in the United States
  • *PSC 354-Politics and Women
  • *PSC 401a-Urban Politics
  • *PSC 401m-Intergovernmental Relations
  • *PSC 403b-Energy and Resource Policy
  • PSC 403c-Environmental Policy
  • PSC 403d-Global Environmental Policy
  • PSC 403e-Environmental Law
  • PSC 403g-Law and Water Resource Policy
  • *PSC 403h-The Supreme Court and Public Policy
  • PSC 403k-Problems in American Public Policy
  • PSC 403z-Special Topics in Public Policy and Administration
  • PSC 404a-Public Financial Administration
  • PSC 404b-Public Personnel Administration
  • PSC 404c-The Politics of Administration
  • *PSC 404d-Comparative Public Administration
  • PSC 404e-Theories of Public Administration
  • PSC 404f-Administrative Law
  • PSC 405p-Global Political Economy
  • PSC 490f-Internship: Public Service

Political Theory

  • PSC 227-Introduction to Political Philosophy
  • PSC 323-History of Political Thought
  • PSC 324-History of Political Thought
  • PSC 403j-Political Ethics and Political Corruption
  • PSC 409a-Political Philosophy
  • PSC 409b-Philosophy of Political Science
  • PSC 409c-American Political Thought
  • PSC 409d-Contemporary Political Thought
  • PSC 409g-Politics and Literature in the 20th Century
  • PSC 409k-Jurisprudence
  • PSC 409z-Special Topics in Political Theory

Comparative Politics

  • PSC 211-Comparative Government and Politics
  • *PSC 404d-Comparative Public Administration
  • PSC 405e-Foreign Policies of Major Powers
  • PSC 407a-Political Systems of Western Europe
  • PSC 407b-Political Systems of East Asia
  • PSC 407c-Political Systems of Russia and East-Central Europe
  • PSC 407d- Political Systems of Middle East and North Africa
  • PSC 407e-Political Systems of Latin America
  • PSC 407f-Political Systems of China
  • PSC 407h-Politcs and Problems in Developed Areas
  • PSC 407i-Politics and Problems in Developing Areas
  • PSC 407j-Nationalism
  • PSC 407l-Basque Diaspora Studies
  • *PSC 407p-The Middle East in World Affairs
  • *PSC 407q-Political Violence and Terrorism
  • PSC 407r-Politics and History of Anti-Semitism
  • *PSC 407s-Comparative Political Economy
  • PSC 407t-Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • PSC 407z-Special Topics in Comparative Politics

International Relations

  • PSC 231-World Politics
  • PSC 336-International Community
  • *PSC 403a-Natural Resource Policy
  • *PSC 403d-Global Environmental Policy
  • PSC 405a-International Law
  • PSC 405d-American Foreign Policy
  • PSC 405e-Foreign Policies of Major Powers
  • PSC 405f-Problems of World Politics
  • PSC 405g-International Conflict
  • PSC 405h-International Human Rights
  • PSC 405i-Holocaust and Genocide
  • PSC 405p-Global Political Economy
  • PSC 405z-Special Topics in International Relations and Foreign Policy
  • *PSC 407p-The Middle East in World Affairs
  • *PSC 407q-Political Violence and Terrorism
  • *PSC 407s-Comparative Political Economy

Minor Requirements (18-21 Credits)

Students must complete 18-21 credits in a minor. The Political Science department accepts any minor approved by the College of Liberal Arts.

Electives (16-30 Credits)

Total Credits 120
Note: A candidate for a bachelor's degree must earn a minimum of 42 credits numbered 300 or above.

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact College of Liberal Arts

Phone (775) 784-6155
Fax (775) 784-1478
Location Ansari Business Building
Address University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557

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