Each student, upon declaring a major in political science, will be assigned to a faculty advisor to assist the student in course planning and considering their path after graduation.  The Department encourages students to develop broad substantive knowledge and methodological skills, and to take courses from across the three major subfields of Comparative Politics, International Relations, and US Politics.  We recommend, but do not require, that students take our Research Methods seminar.  The Department has no pre-requisite course requirements.

The Major:

A major in Political Science consists of 30 hours of course work in the Department.  In constructing their program of work, students should work closely with their advisor to select their courses and to plan their schedule of coursework in the major.

Course requirements in the major include:

1. Three required courses:

POSC 109, “The U.S. Political System” (3 credit hours)
POSC 160, “Introduction to Comparative Politics” (3 credit hours)
POSC 172, “Introduction to International Relations” (3 credit hours)

Although they are not pre-requisites, these courses generally serve as introductions to upper-division political science courses; however, students may take courses in any sequence in fulfilling major course requirements.  Students should consult their advisor and their course professors about whether an introductory course is necessary for performing well in any upper-division course. For example, POSC 378, “International Relations Theory,” is designed to build from POSC 172 “Introduction to International Relations.”  Other upper-division courses may similarly rely on student preparation in one of the introductory courses.

2. Students must also take at least 18 hours of coursework, at least 12 of which must be at the 300-level, other than the Senior Project. Up to 9 credit hours of Washington Center credit can be counted towards this requirement.

Although we encourage students to take a range of courses from among those offered in US Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations, we also recognize that some students may choose to focus their coursework in one primary area.  The faculty of our department encourages broad interests, but will also advise students in more specialized coursework.  Students who are interested can find groupings of courses into fields here.

3. All students in the major must complete POSC 396, Senior Project / SAGES Capstone.  Capstones from other departments do not count as substitutes.

AP Credit:

  • Comparative Politics
    • Required Score: 4 or 5
    • Credit Earned: 3 hours
    • CWRU Equivalent/Exempt: POSC 160
  • U.S. Government
    • Required Score: 5
    • Credit Earned: 3 hours
    • CWRU Equivalent/Exempt: POSC 109
    • Three credit hours as POSC 109 will be awarded for U.S. Government AP scores only after successful completion of a 300-level U.S. politics course with a grade of B or better.

General Education Core Requirements:

Various Political Science courses can contribute to General Education Requirements (GER) for Case Western Reserve University undergraduates. Because the GER has been changed frequently, and different GER requirements apply to students according to their home School, we strongly advise students to consult with their advisors and to review the most current edition of the Undergraduate Handbook in order to determine which rules apply to their own circumstances.

Unified General Education Requirements (UGER)

Case Western Reserve University adopted a common set of general education requirements for all undergraduate degree programs effective for students who matriculate at the university during the 2023-2024 academic year or later.  Learn more about Political Science and the UGER here.