Political Science


Bachelor of Arts with a major in Political Science
College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)


Brian Duff (Chair)



Our mission is to cultivate in our students a passion for understanding and solving political problems. Students work closely with faculty throughout their coursework, culminating in a major independent research project. Through this work, students will develop the imagination and skills in analysis and communication that prepare them for life after college.

Major Description

Political science is the study of the problems and opportunities that arise when people live together in communities of all sizes. Political scientists study government, citizenship, relations among nation-states, and theories of politics. Political science addresses fundamental issues confronting modern society — globalization, war, inequity, poverty, the environment — and seeks to evaluate the processes, policies, and theories that have been devised to deal with them. The Political Science program provides courses in theory, methods and case studies within the four sub-fields of political theory, comparative politics, international relations, and American politics, as well as many courses that cross subfields. 

The political science major emphasizes the development of skills in effective writing and speaking, as well as creative problem solving — some of the most useful skills in a wide variety of careers in the public, non-profit and private sectors. These skills are also crucial to success in graduate school. Our small classes and abundant individual attention from faculty give students ample opportunity to hone those skills. Political Science is also an excellent choice for students planning to study politics, public policy or law at the graduate level.

The department also offers Political Science majors the opportunity to select all of the EDU secondary education certification courses (listed below) as their electives in order to become middle or high school teachers (grades 7–12) in the area of social studies.

Pre-Law Emphasis

The pre-law emphasis allows students interested in studying law to receive special advising and to develop a liberal arts program of study appropriate as preparation for admission to law school and success in the legal profession, and careers and jobs in various areas such as government, media, business, international affairs, foreign service, non-government organizations and teaching. The study of law involves many aspects of social life and integrates many fields of study. Judges and lawyers are expected to handle different litigations, ranging from social to medical, environmental and other applications. Thus, law schools encourage students to have diverse undergraduate majors. UNE students who are majoring in any department can take advantage of the pre-law program.

Although the choice of major is open, law schools expect students to have acquired skills that enable them to think critically, reason logically, and speak and write effectively. The Pre-law Advising Committee will help students build their interdisciplinary program of study that includes not only humanities courses, but also courses in biology, environmental studies, psychology, and management.

Curricular Requirements



CAS Core Requirements


Program Required Courses  
One of the following courses: 3
PSC 105 - Introduction to Political Science  
PSC 202 - Politics as Social Science  
One course in each of the following areas: 12
Introductory level course in American Politics including:
PSC 101, 106, 203, 205, 207, or 250
Introductory level course in Political Theory including:
PSC 100, 120, 200, 206, or 207
Introductory level course in International Relations including:
PSC 201, or 240
Introductory level course in Comparative Politics including:
PSC 100, 110, 204, or 205
One advanced course (300 level or higher) in three of the following areas: 9
Political Theory  
Comparative Politics  
American Politics  
International Relations  
Three Political Science Electives
At least one must be at 300 or 400 level
Senior Seminar and Essay 6
PSC 490 - Senior Seminar  
PSC 491 - Integrative Essay  
Minimum Program Required Credits 39
Open Elective Courses (as needed to reach 120 credits) variable
Minimum Required Total Credits 120

Students wishing to pursue teacher certification in Political Science can complete a double major with Political Science and Secondary Education or a major in Secondary Education and a concentration in Political Science. For more information, see the Secondary Education catalog page.

Double majors or minors of all types are encouraged. All students can pursue internships and study abroad opportunities while majoring in political science.

Students in this major can participate in the pre-health graduate school preparation tracks.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this major students will

  1. Have developed a mature political imagination which includes an ability to envision what constitutes an important political question/issue and to understand the various ways in which a political scientist might address such a question/issue.
  2. Have mastered essential facts relevant and necessary to the study of global political life. This involves a working knowledge of the key actors, structures, institutions and historical dynamics that constitute the contemporary political order. It also includes a broad familiarity with the historical roots of that order.
  3. Be able to think critically, analytically and rigorously about the world of politics.
  4. Have an informed sense of the historical dimension of the various political issues, developments, trends, theories and forms of inquiry relevant to the students’ interests.
  5. Have an enlightened understanding of the multicultural nature of global (but especially American) political life.
  6. Be able to convey information, analyze results and persuasively argue, in both written and oral form, clearly and effectively.
  7. Be able to conduct sound and rigorous social inquiry using a variety of methodologies and techniques.
  8. Be able to compete successfully for placement in graduate programs or employment relevant to the field of study.

Direct Measures of Student Learning

  1. Capstone Course
  2. Senior Thesis 
  3. Oral defense of Senior Thesis 
  4. Internship supervisor evaluations  
  5. Symposium  Presentations 
  6. Annual departmental review of graded assignments and exams and samples of student writing 
  7. Performance on exams

Indirect Measures of Student Learning

  1. Admission rates into graduate programs  
  2. Alumni and employer satisfaction 
  3. End-of-course student evaluation forms


A student with a major in another department may minor in Political Science with the approval of the Department of Political Science chair. 

Courses Credits
PSC 105 - Intro to Political Science OR 3
PSC 202 - Political Sciences Social Science  
(2) 100-200 Level PSC Courses 6
(3) 300-400 Level PSC Courses (across several subfields) 9
Total Credits 18

The Department of Political Science offers another minor in Health Law and Policy.

Honors Program

We offer qualified students the option of graduating with Honors. This includes a research project of significant ambition under the direction of a faculty member. Interested students should consult with their major advisor. 

Transfer Credit


Financial Information

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for subsequent years may vary. Other expenses include books and housing. For more information regarding tuition and fees, please consult the Financial Information section of this catalog.

Notice and Responsibilities Regarding this Catalog

This Catalog documents the academic programs, policies, and activities of the University of New England for the 2020-2021 academic year. The information contained herein is accurate as of date of publication May 1, 2020.

The University of New England reserves the right in its sole judgment to make changes of any nature in its programs, calendar, or academic schedule whenever it is deemed necessary or desirable, including changes in course content, the rescheduling of classes with or without extending the academic term, canceling of scheduled classes or other academic activities, in any such case giving such notice thereof as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances.

While each student may work closely with an academic advisor, he or she must retain individual responsibility for meeting requirements in this catalog and for being aware of any changes in provisions or requirements.