Political Science, Bachelor of Arts

Department of Politics and International Affairs

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The bachelor's degree in Political Science provides students with opportunities to study the theory, principles, and practice of government and politics at the local, national, and international levels. The coursework engages students in diverse politicial science courses which allows exploration in areas of interest to the student. Faculty mentors provide academic support and guidance, preparing each student for a meaningful career path.

This plan will not be available to new students after Summer 2022

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 39 units of major requirements
  • At least 16 units of language requirements
  • At least 18 units of minor requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA C
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
Foreign Language Required
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Research Optional
University Honors Program Optional
Progression Plan Link Not Available
Student Learning Outcomes

The Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degrees provide students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to understand and participate in the political systems of the United States and the world.  This degree provides a broad perspective on experiences, international and domestic, from both theory and practice.

These degrees build a strong foundation in the basic knowledge of the political world, including contemporary political thought and public policies, and enables students to be able to use key concepts and analytical approaches from Political Theory, U.S. Government and Politics, Comparative Politics and International relations.

Building upon this fundamental knowledge, our curriculum ensures that students can define, design, and implement effective research projects in political science.  In addition, they will be able to make clear and effective demonstrations of their work in writing and in public presentations.  Students will also leave this program ready to understand, and be able to meet, the expectations of professionalism and citizenship.  Students in the BA degree will also leave with an ability speak, read, and write in a second language.

The faculty of this department are innovative teachers and researchers who engage students in their classes, research agendas, and co-curricular activities.  Faculty regularly encourage students to engage in undergraduate research projects, therefore exposing them to and engaging them in cutting-edge professional political science research.  Additionally, faculty regularly lead study abroad programs all over the world, and also help students apply for semester or year long study abroad programs.  The faculty also help guide students toward numerous internship possibilities in Arizona, the US and the world.  The department also offers extensive co-curricular activities through Model United Nations and numerous annual MUN conferences both in the US and internationally.  These broad opportunities and perspectives help students understand our diverse world.

Our goal is to train students to be active, engaged, and informed participants in the global system who cannot only understand the world around them but also shape and influence it.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Conceptual and Analytical:  Students should have a basic knowledge of the political world, including contemporary political thought, and public policies, and be able to use key concepts and analytical approaches from Political Theory, U.S. Government and Politics, Comparative Politics, and International relations.
    • Identify and use salient political science concepts and analytical method to evaluate current public policies, political actors’ behavior, political events, and institutional arrangements within a diverse world.
    • Evaluate the strengths and limitations of a variety of significant analytical approaches used in political science.
    • Analyze, synthesize and evaluate the interconnectedness and interdependence of the human experience on a global scale.
  • Inquiry and Research:  Students should be able to define, design, and implement effective research projects in political science.
    • Devise a basic research design.
    • Test hypotheses with basic empirical data.
    • Write the findings in a research report.
  • Communication:  Students should be able to make clear and effective demonstrations of their work in writing and in public presentations.
    • Students will demonstrate advanced writing skills and be able to summarize and explain scholarly political science articles.
    • Analyze and critique the material read /discussed.
    • Suggest and discuss alternative possibilities and outcomes.
    • Engage and interest the reader.
    • Speak in public settings.
    • Demonstrate an ability to apply the discussion to policy and “real world” applications.
    • Proficiency in and an ability to speak, read, and write in a language other than English. (Bachelor of Arts in Political Science only)
  • Professional and Citizenship:  Students should know, understand, and be able to meet the expectations of professionalism and citizenship.
    • Demonstrate professional behavior in terms of demeanor, personal presentation, ethics, and civic participation in experiential learning and classrooms settings.
    • Acquire the skills and knowledge base to understand the importance of and options for environmental sustainability and its tenuous relationship to economic development in local and global terms.
    • Critically reflect upon the nature and consequences of diversity (e.g. race, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, culture, nation), and develop an understanding of how this diversity both alters and is altered in a world characterized by increasing global interaction.


Major Requirements
  • Take the following 39 units with a Grade of "C" or better in each course:

    If you take individualized study coursework (up to 6 units in POS 408, POS 466, POS 485 and POS 497), you must obtain prior written approval from your faculty advisor. You may only use individualized study coursework with a course prefix other than POS in exceptional circumstances, with your advisor's prior approval; any such coursework counts toward the 6-unit maximum for individualized study coursework. If you take more than 6 units of individualized study coursework, they will count in general elective credit.

Minor Requirements
  • You must complete a minor of at least 18 units from those described in this catalog. In consultation with your advisor, you should select a minor that is appropriate for your career aspirations and educational needs. Your minor advisor will advise you about this part of your academic plan.

  • Also note that you may elect to complete a merged or dual major instead of a minor; see your advisor for more information.

Foreign Language Requirement
  • You must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English that is equivalent to four terms of university coursework in the same language. You may satisfy this requirement by taking language courses or by testing out of all or part of it by taking CLEP exams. 

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.