Major in Political Science

Degree Program Hours: 120

The major in Political Science provides a broad education that will equip students for a wide variety of careers. The program for majors is designed to

  • Encourage analysis of political theories, institutions, and processes within the broader context of the social sciences
  • Increase appreciation of political science as a discipline
  • Develop a continuing and responsible interest in political participation and public affairs
  • Provide the opportunity to acquire a fundamental understanding of political science as a basis for citizenship, a career in government, or professional study and service
  • Stimulate interest in graduate studies in various fields and disciplines.

The curriculum is designed to not only expose students to the various areas of Political Science but also to allow reasonable specialization. Students are encouraged to create a blend of courses that fits their interests and they should work with the Political Science undergraduate advisor in selecting courses.

To qualify for admission to the program, FIU undergraduates must have met all the lower division requirements including CLAS, 60 semester hours, and a minimum 2.0 Grade Point Average.

Curriculum for Political Science Majors

Students should obtain and read the Political Science Advising Guide, available online via the Political Science portion of the Department of Politics and International Relations website. A minimum of 30 credits of upper division work (3000 level and above) is required for a major in Political Science. A maximum of 6 of those credits may be in independent study and internship courses.

In addition, two 2000 level courses are required for a student to meet the department’s prerequisite requirements for majors as well as the state mandated “Common Prerequisites” (see below). These courses should be taken as early as possible in preparation for upper division work in the major. POS 2041-American Government (or its equivalent) is required of all Political Science majors. This course will also meet one of the two state mandated Common Prerequisites. The second Common Prerequisite may be fulfilled by taking either CPO 2002 Introduction to Comparative Politics, or INR 2001 Introduction to International Relations (or their equivalents). These requirements can normally be met through course work at the community college level or taken at FIU. Students should be mindful of the further requirement of the College of Arts and Sciences that a minimum of 48 upper division credits (3000 level and above) is necessary for graduation. Students also need to pass 9 hours in upper division courses outside Political Science and must satisfy the College of Arts and Sciences Foreign Language Requirement.

No specific upper division courses are required. Rather, courses in Political Science must be distributed so that four courses meet the Breadth Requirement and six other courses meet the Political Science Electives Requirement.

The student must earn a grade of ‘C’ or better in all Political Science courses to be credited toward the major. A grade of ‘C-’ will not fulfill the requirements of the major. Students choosing to major in Political Science must officially declare their major by completing applicable forms. Forms can be obtained online through the Office of the Registrar, or at the department.

Common Prerequisite Courses and Equivalencies

Courses which form part of the statewide articulation between the State University System and the Community College System will fulfill the Lower Division Common Prerequisites.

For generic course substitutions/equivalencies for Common Program Prerequisites offered at community colleges, state colleges, or state universities, visit:, See Common Prerequisite Manual.

Common Prerequisites

Common Prerequisites are those mandated by the state for Political Science majors. In order to conform with both state and departmental requirements, students must take the following:

  • POS 2041 American Government (or its equivalent)

and two of the following three courses:

  • CPO 2002 Introduction to Comparative Politics (or its equivalent)
  • INR 2001 Introduction to International Relations (or its equivalent)
  • POT 2002 Introduction to Political Theory

These courses do not count toward the 30 credits of upper division work required for the major.

Requirements for a Major

  • Breadth Requirement (8 courses/24 credits): This is designed to acquaint all majors with the four general fields of Political Science. Two three-credit hour courses must be taken in each of the following subfields, for a total of 24 credits. These courses may not include independent studies, internships, or POS 4784 Analytical Writing in Political Science.
    • American Politics - Any two 3000/4000 level course with a POS prefix. (6 credits)
    • Comparative Politics - Any two 3000/4000 level course with a CPO prefix. (6 credits)
    • International Politics - Any two 3000/4000 level course with a INR prefix. (6 credits)
    • Political Theory - Any two 3000/4000 level course with a POT prefix. (6 credits)
  • Political Science Electives Requirement (2 courses/6 credits): Two additional courses 3000/4000 level with any departmental prefix (CPO, INR, POS, or POT). A maximum of 6 credits Internship, Independent Study, and/or POS 4784 can be applied towards the Political Science Electives Requirement.