Politics and Media, Bachelor of Science

Department of Politics and International Affairs

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Politics and Media program provides civically active students with a strong background in theoretical frameworks, critical analysis skills, and skills in communication necessary to have a meaningful positive impact on society. 

  • 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:

  • 57 units of major 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 2.0
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
University Honors Program Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement

The Bachelor of Science Politics and Media program provides civically active students with knowledge in social theoretical frameworks and skills in critical analysis and communications necessary to have a meaningful positive impact on society. This degree encompasses knowledge related to research methodology, political polling, data processing and analytical skills. Legacy models of media consumption and production are rapidly transitioning from traditional news outlets to online delivery applications that require greater technological flexibility. 

Students will gain foundational knowledge in the role of power and identity in society, and American institutions, while providing students with the communications skills necessary to identify social phenomenon and communicate their research to society an approachable way and effective way. To do so, students will learn persuasive arguments, public relations, methodological techniques in the management and visualization of data, and strategic communication. 

As a degree drawing on the expertise of both the Department of Politics and International Affairs and the School of Communication, the faculty are dedicated to innovative teaching and research who engage students in and out of the classroom. Our students are required to participate in independent research projects with faculty, study abroad programs, internships, and student clubs and learning communities, through our Experience of Difference requirement, taking students out of the classroom and into the diverse experiences the world has to offer. As a degree aimed at providing students with the skills to have a civic impact on society, our students will be critically informed, value diversity and equality, and use their knowledge of Politics and Media to pursue careers that promote these ideals. 

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Foundational knowledge of the political world by:
    • Analyzing the history, theoretical background, laws, and ethics of politics.
    • Explaining the role of politics and media in society. 
    • Explaining the role of that power, identity, media, and institutions have on society, including major theoretical frameworks in race, gender, economics, and communication.
  • Effective communication, orally, written, and visually, of social phenomena and methodology by:
    • Applying methodological techniques in order to assemble stories on local governments, police, courts, schools, and other public or citizen entities.
    • Producing complete political stories from concept to finished product under tight deadlines, while choosing the appropriate media to tell the best story. 
    • Embracing diversity in their civic participation by recognizing and respecting cultural differences in storytelling and the effects of cultural, political, historical, religious, ideological, and economic forces on the dissemination of information. 
  • Critical use of research methods to develop empirical and persuasive arguments in a political world by:
    • Applying the theory and art of journalism, data visualization, persuasion, strategic communication, political analysis, and communication of potential ethical issues in real-world environments including experience of difference, the internship program, travel abroad and independent study.
    • Selecting the best media format(s) to tell stories in the most compelling and accurate manner. 
    • Demonstrating the effective use of storytelling in a modern digital world by finding and verifying important information and presenting it in a compelling manner that engages their intended audiences. 
    • Analyzing and evaluating events in the political world through the use of qualitative and quantitative techniques as part of communication strategy.

Major Requirements
  • This major requires 57 units distributed as follows:

    • Political Science Coursework: 18 units
    • Communication Coursework: 21 units
    • Experience of Difference Requirement: 3 units
    • Electives: 15 units

    Take the following 57 units with a cumulative 2.0 GPA:
  • Experience of Difference Requirement (3 units)

    As part of their degree program, students are required to complete 3 units of an experience of difference. This requirement can be met in the following ways:

    You must obtain prior written approval from a POS faculty member if you take POS 408, or POS 485. You may only use experience of difference coursework with a course prefix other than POS in exceptional circumstances, with your advisor's prior approval. If you take more than 3 units of experience of difference coursework, they will count in general elective credit.

  • Electives - Additional electives chosen in consultation with your advisor (15 units)

    • You are encouraged to pursue coursework in fields such as: Women and Gender Studies, Economics, Education, Ethnic Studies, Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Community Engagement.
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.