Undergraduate Program Requirements

Declaring a Major or Minor

Students wishing to declare a major in Political Science of Environmental Policy or a minor in Political Science may do so on WebSTAC. At the time the major is declared, students will be assigned a faculty advisor. Further information can be obtained from Dr. Zoe Ang.

Advising Procedures

Students beginning their undergraduate work in political science may plan their programs in consultation with their assigned Undergraduate Advisor. It is important that students keep their Undergraduate Advisor fully informed of their progress so that misunderstandings or disagreements can be kept to a minimum.

Political Science Major Requirements

Majors in Political Science must complete 10 Political Science Courses (30 graded units) with a C or better. Please note that if you use an AP credit to place out of an introductory course, or do not take PS 363 or 263 (Political Methodology), then you must replace these with other political science classes. See below for more specific course requirements.


2 of the following introductory courses:

  • 101B: Intro to American Politics
  • 102B: Intro to Comparative Politics
  • 103B: Intro to International Politics
  • 106 or 107: Intro to Political Theory

If you scored a 4 or 5 in AP credit, you may place out of the associated introductory course and replace it with an upper-level course in a related subfield.


1 required methods course:

  • 363: Political Methodology OR
  • 263: Data Science for Politics

You may place out of this requirement if you have completed a pre-approved alternate course with a C or better. If you take an alternate course, you must take an additional Political Science course to make up for the credits.

Pre-approved alternate courses include:

  • U25 323 Intro to Quantitative Methods (subject to the limit of six "outside" credit units; do not need replacement course)
  • B59 121 Managerial Statistics II (QBA II)
  • Math 3200 Elementary to Intermediate Statistics and Data Analysis
  • E35 326 Probability and Statistics for Engineering


6 upper-level (300 or 400) distribution courses (18 units), with at least one course in three of the five subfields:

  • American             
  • Comparative
  • International
  • Political Theory
  • Methods

Click here to view the subfield designations for your courses


3 units of a Political Science course (any level)


Every student must take one 400-level course home based in Political Science as a capstone experience for the major.

*This became a requirement for students who first declared a major or minor in Political Science after July 1st, 2021. Students who declared prior to this due not have this requirement.

Cross-Listed Courses

Courses cross-listed with Political Science change on a semester-by-semester basis. A cross-listed course includes the designation L32; this is the designation you should choose if you want to count credit from cross-listed courses toward your Political Science major/minor. Please note:

  • If you are using a course for another major or minor, you may not count it as an advanced credit for your Political Science major.
  • The department does not consider petitions to count non-cross-listed courses for credit in Political Science.
  • If you have questions about the status of any course, please contact the director of undergraduate studies in political science.


  • No more than 6 units from the following may count toward the major: internship, directed reading, directed research, or teaching practicum.

  • No more than 6 units from the following may count toward the majorstudy abroad, summer school, University College, or transfer credit.

  • You cannot double-count any upper-level credits (300 and above) for both a political science major and a second major or minor.

Environmental Policy Major Requirements

Environmental Policy Overview Flyer

Students who major in environmental policy will be required to complete 40 graded units (13 classes) distributed as follows:

  • 16 units from required foundation courses
  • 9 units from research methods requirements
  • 9 units from the list of upper-division courses in political science
  • 3 units from a social science breadth requirement
  • 3 units from a substantive distribution requirement

At least 24 of those total units must be at the 300-400 level.

We also strongly recommend that students complete a capstone experience. Possible options include a senior honors thesis, the environmental law clinic, or an appropriate internship. We intend to develop more capstone possibilities in the future.

Required Courses

All students take the following five foundation courses (16 units):

Code Title Units
Anthro 361 Culture and Environment 3
Biol 2950 Introduction to Environmental Biology 3
EPSc 201 Earth and the Environment 4
Pol Sci 2010 Introduction to Environmental Policy 3
Pol Sci 331 Topics in Politics: Theories of Social Justice (Theories of Justice*) 3
Total Units 16

* Note: Students also may substitute Pol Sci 4070 Global Justice or EnSt 235FIntroduction to Environmental Ethics for Pol Sci 331.

Research Methods Requirements

Students take three methods courses (9 units):

Code Title Units
Econ 1011 Introduction to Microeconomics 3
Pol Sci 363 Quantitative Political Methodology ** 3
Pol Sci 4043 Public Policy Analysis, Assessment and Practical Wisdom 3
Total Units 9

** Note: Students may opt out of this class if they complete one of the approved courses below; however, students who chose this option must take another upper-level class to complete the 40 required units.

Data Science for Politics (Pol Sci 263)
University College: U25 Introduction to Quantitative Methods (PolSci 323)
Business School: Managerial Statistics II (QBA 121)
Math: Elementary to Intermediate Statistics and Data Analysis (Math 3200)
Engineering: Probability and Statistics for Engineering (ESE 326)

Upper-Division Requirements: Political Science

Students need 15 additional units of upper-level course work (300-400 level) distributed in the following way:

(1) 9 units (three courses) must come from the following political science courses***:

Code Title Units
Pol Sci 3070 Politics and Policymaking in the American States 3
Pol Sci 3171 Topics in Politics (The Politics of Environmental Regulation) 3
Pol Sci 3211 Public Opinion and American Democracy 3
Pol Sci 3240 The Political Economy of Public Goods 3
Pol Sci 332B Environmental and Energy Issues 3
Pol Sci 333 Topics in Politics (International Environmental Politics) 3
Pol Sci 340 Topics: Environmental Justice (Environmental Justice) 3
Pol Sci 345 Legislative Process 3
Pol Sci 349 Politics in Bureaucracies 3
Pol Sci 3752 Topics in American Politics: Globalization, Urbanization and the Environment 3
Pol Sci 3762 Topics in Comparative Politics 3
Pol Sci 3772 Topics in International Politics 3
Pol Sci 4013 Negotiating Major Legislation in Congress 3
Pol Sci 4050 Political Representation 3
Pol Sci 4070 Global Justice 3
Pol Sci 4731 Global Political Economy 3
Pol Sci 4792 Globalization and National Politics 3
Pol Sci 480 Topics in International Politics: Growth and Development 3
Pol Sci 489 Politics of Regulation 3
EnSt 461 Intro to Environmental Law and Policy 3

*** Note: Students who have not taken Pol Sci 363 will need to complete four courses.

Upper-Division Requirements: Social Science

Students take at least one offering (3 units) from the following:

Code Title Units
Anthro 3053 Nomadic Strategies and Extreme Ecologies 3
Anthro 3322 Brave New Crops 3
Anthro 3391 Economies as Cultural Systems 3
Anthro 3472 Global Energy and the American Dream 3
Anthro 3612 Population and Society 3
Anthro 3616 Ecofeminism: Environmental Social Movements and Anthropology 3
Anthro 399B Rich Nations, Poor Nations 3
Anthro 406 Primate Ecology and Social Structure 3
Anthro 4244 Oil Wars: America & the Cultural Politics of Global Energy 3
Anthro 4253 Researching Fertility, Mortality and Migration 3
Anthro 4282 Political Ecology 3
ARCH 336A Sustainability 3
ARCH 336B Designing Sustainable Environments 3
ARCH 654D Metropolitan Landscapes 3
ARCH 656 Metropolitan Urbanism 3
Econ 1021 Introduction to Macroeconomics 3
Econ 403 Economics of Law 3
Econ 451 Environmental Policy 3
EnSt 3068 An Inconvenient Truth: The Human History of Climate Change 3
EnSt 310 Ecological Economics 3
EnSt 380 Applications in GIS 3
or the following courses in University College:  
IA 5421 International Environmental Issues 3
IA 5403 Global Collective Action: Why Do Nations Cooperate? Climate Change and Other Cases. 3

Upper-Division Requirements: Substantive Distribution Requirements

The environmental policy major provides students with the social scientific tools to address policy problems related to the environment. To supplement this social scientific knowledge, it is also important that students have substantive knowledge of the natural science of the environment itself and/or practical experience in the policy area. All students are therefore required to complete one substantive area course (3 units) with a passing grade.

Code Title Units
Biol 381 Introduction to Ecology 3
EPSc 323 Biogeochemistry 3
EECE 210 Introduction to Environmental Engineering 3
EECE 311 Green Engineering 3
EECE 518 Sustainable Air Quality 3
EECE 590 Energy and Environmental Economic Decision-Making 1.5
EECE 591 Energy and Buildings 3
EnSt 405 Sustainability Exchange: Community and University Practicums 3
EnSt 406 Urban Ecosystem Principles Integration 3
L82 EnSt 539 Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic var.
EPSc 323 Biogeochemistry 3
EPSc 429 Environmental Hydrogeology 3
EPSc 429 Environmental Hydrogeology 3
MEC 400J Markets, Business and the Environment 1.5


  • No more than 6 units from the following may count toward the major: internship, directed reading, directed research, or teaching practicum.

  • No more than 6 units from the following may count toward the majorstudy abroad, summer school, University College, or transfer credit.

  • You cannot double-count any upper-level credits (300 and above) for both a environmental policy major and a second major or minor.

Subfield Concentrations

All political science majors have the option of "concentrating" their six course distribution requirements by successfully completing three upper-level courses in one of six subfields: 

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Political Methodology
  • Political Theory

About the Concentrations

Subfield concentrations signal that students have depth in a particular subfield of the discipline. They also prepare students for writing their senior theses in that subfield. Because of this, students may count classes as part of their subfield concentration whether or not they are using that class to fulfill the 30 credits required for their major. For example, students may complete L32 3255 and count it towards a legal studies minor, but use it as part of their subfield concentration in American politics. 


  • Consistent with its aim of encouraging subject mastery, to count for a subfield concentration students must complete the class for a quality grade.
  • A course that counts for two different subfields may only be used towards one subfield concentration.

Declaring a Subfield Concentration

To declare a subfield concentration, complete a subfield concentration form and submit it to Dr. Zoe Ang. Concentrations will appear on the student's transcript after graduation and may be particularly helpful for students interested in graduate or professional school. 

Subfield Concentration Form

Minor Requirements

Students choosing Political Science as a minor field must take a minimum of 15 graded units of course work with a C or better, including at least 9 advanced units. No more than three units may be counted from among the following: Directed Readings, Directed Research, Teaching Practicum, University College, or credits from another institution including study abroad. You cannot double-count any credits for a political science minor with any other major or minor.

Senior Thesis Program

All majors who meet eligibility requirements may write a senior thesis. The program involves independent work by the student, guided by a faculty advisor, and enrollment in a senior thesis seminar during the fall and spring semesters of a student's senior year.

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