Political Science

College of Liberal Arts
Department of Political Science

B.A. Degree; Minor

Minimum Requirements for Degree: 120 credits

The Department of Political Science offers a B.A. degree as well as minors in law and society, environmental politics and political science. Graduate-level courses in political science are available through the northern studies concentration in environmental politics and policy. Doctoral study in political science is available through the interdisciplinary studies program of the Graduate School.

The study of political science provides education for citizenship in a changing nation and world. Political science provides a sound preparation in the social sciences. As the study of power, political science explains who gets what, when, where and how. It examines the struggles over claims to authority that shape our lives and our world. As the study of values, it examines why citizens obey or rebel, the nature of just societies, and the ways individuals reconcile personal liberty with political authority. As the science of political behavior, it analyzes the actions of interest groups, political parties and public officials. Politics is an omnipresent force, not only in governments but in families, social organizations, schools and decision-making bodies of all types — from student councils to international institutions. A solid understanding of local, national and international politics will benefit any student throughout his or her career.

Courses are offered in the traditional fields of international and comparative politics, American government, political theory, public policy and public law. The department also offers classes in environmental policy and politics, Native American studies, the politics of science and women's studies. In addition to course offerings and faculty expertise, the department presents real world opportunities for political science students to apply their learning. Those include numerous internship and scholarship opportunities in Alaska and the rest of the United States. Students can participate in model United Nations simulations, join the political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha, aid faculty as research assistants and take part in numerous other department projects such as bringing speakers to campus or hosting roundtables on important issues. Graduate students may also serve as teaching assistants.

The political science B.A. has led students to graduate work in the social sciences; employment in the media and public relations; teaching at high school and university levels; and careers in business corporations and non-profits at the state and national levels. Political science provides a broad understanding of the formation, application and change of the law, as well as research techniques and standards of argumentation essential to legal practice. The study of political science also prepares students for work in various fields of government. Alaska offers job prospects for political science graduates as managers in state and local governments and as legislators and legislative staff members. Graduates are also qualified to work outside of Alaska in numerous public and private sector jobs.

Major — B.A. Degree

  1. Complete the general university requirements. (As part of the core curriculum requirements, complete PS F100X, PS F300X and HIST F100X.)
  2. Complete the B.A. degree requirements.
  3. Complete the following major (program) requirements:*
    PS F101—Introduction to American Government and Politics—3 credits
    PS F222—Political Science Research Methods—3 credits
    PS F499W or PS F475 or the Alaska Universities Legislative Internship Program or other approved internship earning at least 3 transferable upper-division credits—3 credits
  4. Complete 24 credits in political science. Include at least one course from four of the following sub-disciplinary groups:*
    1. Group A—American Government and Politics
      PS F212—Introduction to Public Administration—3 credits
      PS F301—American Presidency—3 credits
      PS F302—Congress and Public Policy—3 credits
      PS F401W—Political Behavior—3 credits
      PS F403W—Public Policy—3 credits
      PS F462—Alaska Government and Politics—3 credits
    2. Group B—Public Law
      PS F303—Politics and the Judicial Process—3 credits
      PS/JUST F404—Introduction to Legal Research and Writing—3 credits
      PS F435W—Constitutional Law I: Federalism—3 credits
      PS F436W—Constitutional Law II: Civil Rights and Liberties—3 credits
    3. Group C—Comparative Politics
      PS F201—Comparative Politics—3 credits
      PS F202—Democracy and Global Society—3 credits
      PS F460W—Government and Politics of Canada—3 credits
      PS F464W—East Asian Governments and Politics—3 credits
      PS/HIST F467W—Political Development in Latin America and the Caribbean—3 credits
      PS F468W—Government and Politics of Russia—3 credits
    4. Group D—International Politics
      PS F321—International Politics—3 credits
      PS F322O—International Law and Organization—3 credits
      PS F323—International Political Economy—3 credits
      PS F437—United States Foreign Policy—3 credits
    5. Group E—Political Theory
      PS F314W—Political Ideologies—3 credits
      PS F315—American Political Thought—3 credits
      PS/WMS F340—Women and Politics—3 credits
      PS/PHIL F411W,O—Classical Political Theory—3 credits
      PS/PHIL F412W—Modern Political Theory—3 credits
  5. Minimum credits required—120 credits

* Student must earn a C grade or better in each course.


  1. Complete the following:
    PS F101—Introduction to American Government and Politics—3 credits
    Complete at least four political science courses at the F200-, F300- or F400-level—12 credits
  2. Minimum credits required—15 credits