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College of Arts & Sciences

Political Science

427

Undergraduate majors

135

Minors

93

Freshman declared majors

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Political science majors explore issues of power, conflict, and justice. Students will study theories of government and the development of political systems along with the role of groups and individuals within the political process. With this understanding students will begin to explain why governments and people behave the way they do and see how changes to a governmental system will alter behavior in the future. The Department of Political Science at UK offers a wide range of courses spanning the sub-fields of American Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. Specific subjects include: political processes, judicial behavior, political theory, international conflict, political behavior, comparative institutions, public administration, women in politics, constitutional law, and state and local government.

Careers

Grow Your Future

Graduates leave the program having cultivated their analytical abilities and having exercised their written and spoken communication skills. Such disciplinary training leads to a wide variety of careers, many of which have no direct political or governmental connection, but is particularly helpful in preparing students for careers such as law, policy analysis, governmental administration, diplomatic service, journalism, lobbying, and other sorts of other political activity.

Career opportunities in Political Science

  • Law
  • policy analysis
  • public administrators
  • policy analysts
  • diplomats and diplomatic staffers
  • teacher/professors
  • legislative or executive branch aides
  • law school teachers
  • international affairs specialists
  • journalists
  • lobbyists
  • lawyers and judges
  • campaign managers and political consultants
  • law enforcement professionals
  • NGO and non-profit staffers
  • Urban and regional planners
  • Social service workers

Accelerated Opportunity 

UK BLUE

If you know you want a career in law, then the UK BLUE program may be right for you. Incoming freshmen majoring in Political Science can apply to participate in this 3+3 partnership with UK Law. Students selected for this accelerated program finish their B.A. and J.D. in six years, all while participating in enrichment activities that expose them to the legal, clinical, community service, and career opportunities that a law degree makes possible. For more information, visit the UK BLUE website: https://www.as.uky.edu/uk-blue.

 

Current Curriculum Information

Access Major Template

source: myUK: GPS

  • Political Science (BA) 120 hours

Click to toggle each Academic Year. Click each course for more information.

Freshman Year

Fall Semester
  • PS 101 - AMERICAN GOVERNMENT3

    A survey of national government and the political process in the United States, with emphasis on the Constitution, the President, Congress, and the judicial system.

  • Composition and Communication I3
  • Foreign Language 1014
  • Intellectual Inquiry in Arts and Creativity3
    • Total13
Spring Semester
  • PS 210 - INTRODUCTION TO COMPARATIVE POLITICS3

    A general introduction to the domestic politics of countries in the various regions of the world, with an emphasis on the concepts used to understand why political issues and processes differ across developed and developing nations. Students also learn how domestic politics are shaped by super-national institutions and by national integration into a global economy.

  • PS 230 - INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS3

    An introduction to world politics, with an emphasis on conflict and compromise at the international level but also considering domestic political interactions with global consequences. Students learn how social scientists analyze international relations in a variety of policy areas, including both military/defense and economic.

  • UK Core - Comp. & Comm. II3

    Composition and Communication II

  • Foreign Language 1024
  • A&S Natural Sciences Course (100+ level)3
    • Total16
    • Total Freshman Hours29

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester
  • Premajor Field Four Selection3
  • Foreign Language 2013
  • Intellectual Inquiry in the Humanities3
  • A&S Natural Sciences Course (100+ level)3
  • A&S Lab or Field Work1
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total16
Spring Semester
  • Foreign Language 2023
  • Intellectual Inquiry in the Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences3
  • Quantitative Foundations3
  • A&S Humanities (100+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Sophomore Hours31

Junior Year

Fall Semester
  • Political Science Course (200+ level)3
  • Political Science Course (300+ level)3
  • Course Outside Poli Sci (200+ level)3
  • A&S Humanities (100+ level)3
  • Statistical Inferential Reasoning3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • Political Science Course (300+ level)3
  • Political Science Course (300+ level)3
  • Course Outside Poli Sci (200+ level)3
  • Course Outside Poli Sci (300+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Junior Hours30

Senior Year

Fall Semester
  • WRD 304 - WRITING IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES3

    Instruction and practice with the major genres and argumentative structures of writing in the social sciences. Special emphasis on—and practice with—the written norms that shape disciplinary knowledge in social scientific fields. This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

  • Political Science Course (300+ level)3
  • Political Science Course (300+ level)3
  • Course Outside Poli Sci (300+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (300+ level)3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • Course Outside Poli Sci (300+ level)3
  • Course Outside Poli Sci (300+ level)3
  • Political Science Course (300+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (300+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Senior Hours30
  • Political Science (BS) 120 hours

Click to toggle each Academic Year. Click each course for more information.

Freshman Year

Fall Semester
  • Foreign Language 2013
  • PS 101 - AMERICAN GOVERNMENT3

    A survey of national government and the political process in the United States, with emphasis on the Constitution, the President, Congress, and the judicial system.

  • Composition and Communication I3
  • Quantitative Foundations3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • Foreign Language 2023
  • PS 210 - INTRODUCTION TO COMPARATIVE POLITICS3

    A general introduction to the domestic politics of countries in the various regions of the world, with an emphasis on the concepts used to understand why political issues and processes differ across developed and developing nations. Students also learn how domestic politics are shaped by super-national institutions and by national integration into a global economy.

  • PS 230 - INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS3

    An introduction to world politics, with an emphasis on conflict and compromise at the international level but also considering domestic political interactions with global consequences. Students learn how social scientists analyze international relations in a variety of policy areas, including both military/defense and economic.

  • UK Core - Comp. & Comm. II3

    Composition and Communication II

  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Freshman Hours30

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester
  • PS 372 - INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL ANALYSIS3

    Introduction to the basic knowledge of research methodology in political science; a review of methods of data collection; historical, quantitative and comparative techniques of analysis.

  • Intellectual Inquiry in the Humanities3
  • Intellectual Inquiry in Arts and Creativity3
  • A&S Natural Sciences Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
    • Total18
Spring Semester
  • Intellectual Inquiry in the Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences3
  • Statistical Inferential Reasoning3
  • A&S Humanities (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
    • Total18
    • Total Sophomore Hours36

Junior Year

Fall Semester
  • WRD 304 - WRITING IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES3

    Instruction and practice with the major genres and argumentative structures of writing in the social sciences. Special emphasis on—and practice with—the written norms that shape disciplinary knowledge in social scientific fields. This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

  • Political Science Course (200+ level)3
  • Political Science Course (300+ level)3
  • Course Outside Poli Sci (200+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
    • Total18
Spring Semester
  • Political Science Course (300+ level)3
  • Political Science Course (300+ level)3
  • Course Outside Poli Sci (200+ level)3
  • Course Outside Poli Sci (200+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
    • Total18
    • Total Junior Hours36

Senior Year

Fall Semester
  • Political Science Course (300+ level)3
  • Political Science Course (300+ level)3
  • Course Outside Poli Sci (200+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total18
Spring Semester
  • Course Outside Poli Sci (200+ level)3
  • Course Outside Poli Sci (200+ level)3
  • Political Science Course (200+ level)3
  • Natural Science/Math Course (100+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Senior Hours33

Classes & Requirements

What You'll Study

Political science majors take introductory course work in each of four areas: American politics; comparative politics; international relations; and theory/methodology. Majors then pursue advanced studies in one or more of these fields as determined by their interests and/or career goals. Political science courses are designed to provide students with a broad liberal arts education. Graduates leave the program having cultivated their analytical abilities and having exercised their written and spoken communication skills. Such disciplinary training leads to a wide variety of careers, many of which have no direct political or governmental connection, but is particularly helpful in preparing students for careers such as law, policy analysis, governmental administration, diplomatic service, journalism, lobbying, and other sorts of political activity.

 
Political Science B.A. Four Year Political Science B.S. Four Year

Graduation Requirements

Any student earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree must complete a minimum of 39 hours at the 300+ level. These hours are generally completed by the major requirements. However, keep this hour requirement in mind as you choose your course work for the requirements in the major. Students interested in earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree must complete a minimum of 60 hours in biological, physical, mathematical and/or computer sciences. See the complete description of College requirements for a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences degrees in the Arts and Sciences section of the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin.

UK Core Requirements

  • The Nature of Inquiry in Arts and Creativity (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Humanities (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Social Sciences (3 hours)
  • The nature of Inquiry in the Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication I (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication II (3 hours)
  • Quantitative Foundations (3 hours)
  • Statistical and Inferential Reasoning (3 hours)
  • Community, Culture and Citizenship in the USA (3 hours)
  • Global Dynamics (3 hours)

Total Credit Hours - 30


Premajor Requirements 

  • PS 101 - American Government [3 hours]
  • PS 210 - Introduction to Comparative Politics [3 hours]
  • PS 235 - World Politics [3 hours]
  • PS 240 - Introduction to Political Theory or PS 372 - Introduction to Political Analysis [3 hours]

Total Hours - 12

Major Requirements 

Core Requirements 

  • Students must take 18 additional credit hours of Political Science course work, of which at least 15 hours must be at the 300+ level [18 hours]
  • Students must take an additional 6 credit hours of Political Science course work or approved courses outside of Political Science [6 hours]

Coursework from outside the Department

  • Students must choose 15 hours outside of Political Science, at least 6 hours must be from one department and 6 hours from another department [15 hours]

Total Hours - 39


Not Sure What You Want to Study?

Are you new to Undergraduate Studies and not sure where to begin? If so, we recommend starting with the Advising Syllabus. Need assistance "bouncing back" from academic probation? Visit our Rebound Page. Want to speak with an advisor about course registration, to find out about available resources for classes and major exploration, or just to check in? Schedule an Advising Appointment. How to Determine Academic Status


Featured Career

Political Scientists

Political scientists study the origin, development, and operation of political systems. They research political ideas and analyze governments, policies, political trends, and related issues.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$104,920

per year in 2014

Number of Jobs

6,200

in 2014

Work Environment

Political scientists typically work full time in an office. They sometimes work additional hours to finish reports and meet deadlines. More than half worked in the federal government in 2014.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read More

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Featured Career

Lawyers

Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$114,970

per year in 2014

Number of Jobs

778,700

in 2014

10 Year Job Outlook

43,800

new jobs (average)

Work Environment

The majority of lawyers work in private and corporate legal offices. Some work for federal, local, and state governments. The majority work full time, and many work more than 40 hours a week.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read More

Similar Occupations

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators
  • Judges and Hearing Officers
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants
  • Postsecondary Teachers

A&S Undecided/Exploratory Studies

Understanding that over 70 percent of university students will change their declared major at least once during their college careers, the College of Arts and Sciences has developed an Exploratory Studies program for students who have yet to decide the specific field of study that most closely aligns both their personal interests and their professional career goals and objectives. The Exploratory Studies Program provides students with an extraordinarily diverse educational environment that includes coursework spanning Math and Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences and provides students with the unique opportunity to explore multiple areas of interest during their first several semesters on campus. For more information please contact a recruiting representative at asrecruting@uky.edu. 


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