Political Science Major (B.A.)

Political Science Major (B.A.)

Political Science major in class discussion

What is political science?

Political science gives you the conceptual tools to understand pressing questions in today’s world. Why is American politics so partisan? How do we grapple with systemic inequality and racism? Why do some countries democratize and others stay locked in authoritarianism? In the political science degree program at UNH, you will study power, institutions and policy making at the local, national and global levels. From local grassroots movements to interstate wars, political action and institutions affect our societies and our everyday lives. As a major, you will study the institutions, practices and ideas that shape international, comparative and American politics.

Why study political science at UNH?

Our faculty research and teach across a wide range of topics in international and comparative politics, American politics, political theory and public administration. New Hampshire’s status as the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state makes UNH an ideal place to study political science, whether at the local or national level. In addition, you will have opportunities to participate in internships through the Concord Internship in New Hampshire’s capital or the Washington Center Internship in Washington, D.C. You can work at the UNH Survey Center and join competitive student activities such as Model UN and UNH Mock Trial. We also offer a five-year accelerated B.A./M.A.

Potential careers

  • Business executive
  • Civil Servant
  • Counterintelligence officer
  • Diplomat
  • Human rights advocate
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Nonprofit organization director
  • Political strategist
  • Politician
  • Public relations specialist
  • Think tank researcher

Political Science Department
312 Horton Social Science Center
20 Academic Way
University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH 03824

Phone (603) 862-1750
TTY Users: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 (Relay NH)
Fax (603) 862-0178

 

Connect with us

This form is only for prospective students who are not already enrolled at UNH. If you are a current UNH student and interested in this program, please reach out to the contact on this page.


  • Political Science Major | Political and Economic Affairs Officer
    What are some of your strongest memories of UNH? I have so many great memories from my time at UNH, but my involvement with the UNH College Democrats really sticks out in my mind. By getting involved with the College Dems, I made lifelong friendships with other students and faculty and was able to...
    Political Science Major | Political and Economic Affairs Officer
    What are some of your strongest memories of UNH? I have so many great memories from my time at UNH, but my involvement with the UNH College Democrats really sticks out in my mind. By getting involved with the College Dems, I made lifelong friendships with other students and faculty and was able to...
  • Political Science and International Affairs Majors
    When she first arrived at UNH, Abrita Kuthumi thought she would study medicine. But, after studying abroad and a Washington, D.C., internship, she switched her major to political science and ...
    Political Science and International Affairs Majors
    When she first arrived at UNH, Abrita Kuthumi thought she would study medicine. But, after studying abroad and a Washington, D.C., internship, she switched her major to political science and ...
  • Political Science and International Affairs Majors
    Political Science and International Affairs Majors
  • Political Science and International Affairs Majors
    Hometown: Gorham, Maine What made you choose UNH?
    Political Science and International Affairs Majors
    Hometown: Gorham, Maine What made you choose UNH?
  • Philosophy and Political Science Majors
    Hometown: Colebrook, Conn. What made you choose UNH? I attended a summer camp at UNH for several years during high school called the Future Leaders Institute. The camp was led by the amazing professors Nick Smith of philosophy and Scott Smith of classics and focused on the philosophic and classical...
    Philosophy and Political Science Majors
    Hometown: Colebrook, Conn. What made you choose UNH? I attended a summer camp at UNH for several years during high school called the Future Leaders Institute. The camp was led by the amazing professors Nick Smith of philosophy and Scott Smith of classics and focused on the philosophic and classical...

Curriculum & Requirements

The study of government and politics, to which the courses and seminars of the Department of Political Science are devoted, includes the development of knowledge of political behavior by individuals and groups as well as knowledge about governments: their nature and functions, their problems and behavior, and their interactions—at the national and international levels and at the local, state and regional levels.

Much of the learning offered by the Department of Political Science also can be regarded as essential for good citizenship, since political knowledge helps to explain the formal and informal institutions by which we are governed and the forces that lead to policy decisions, and also seeks to clarify the issues and principles that encourage people toward political involvement. It contributes to the store of knowledge necessary for informed citizenship. In addition, such learning is especially valuable to students planning to enter local or national government or other public service, including the Foreign Service, and it will be of great help to those who intend to study law and enter the legal profession. For teaching, particularly at the college level, and for many types of government service, graduate work may be indispensable. An undergraduate major in political science will provide a helpful foundation for any further study of politics and related fields in the social sciences and humanities. Such an emphasis also will be valuable for students seeking careers in journalism, international organizations, and the public affairs and administrative aspects of labor, financial and business organizations.

The major program in political science consists of at least 10 courses (40 credits) and not more than 12 courses (48 credits). The minimum grade requirement is C- per course. Any grade lower will not count toward major. The required minimum overall GPA for major coursework is 2.0.

Major Program Requirements 1
POLT 401Politics and Society4
POLT 402American Politics and Government4
POLT 403United States in World Affairs4
Six 500-level courses (select at least one from each of the four subfields listed below)24
Subfield: American Politics
POLT 500
American Public Policy
POLT 502
State and Local Government
POLT 504
American Presidency
POLT 505
American Congress
POLT 506
Parties, Interest Groups, and Voters
POLT 507
Politics of Crime and Justice
POLT 508
Supreme Court and the Constitution
POLT 509
Managing Bureaucracy in America
POLT 510
Media and Politics
POLT 512
Public Opinion in American Politics
POLT 513
Civil Rights and Liberties
POLT 580
Selected Topics Am Politics
POLT 584
Selected Topics in Political Thought
Subfield: Political Thought
POLT 520
Politics, Justice, and Morality
POLT 521
Rights and the Political Community
POLT 523
American Political Thought
POLT 524
Politics and Literature
POLT 524W
Politics and Literature
Subfield: Comparative Politics
POLT 544
Of Dictators and Democrats
POLT 545
People and Politics in Asia
POLT 546
Wealth and Politics in Asia
POLT 548
Drug Wars
POLT 549
The Politics of Markets
POLT 550
Comparative Government and Society
POLT 552
Contemporary European Politics
POLT #554
Revolution and Protest in Latin America
POLT 556
Politics in China
POLT #558
Government and Politics of Canada
POLT 559
Comparative Politics of the Middle East
POLT 588
Selected Topics in Comparative Politics
Subfield: International Politics
POLT 560
World Politics
POLT #561
Introduction to International Political Economy
POLT 562
Strategy and National Security Policy
POLT 563
The Global Information Grid's Disruptive Impact on Government, Politics, and Society
POLT 565
United States Policy in Latin America
POLT 568
International Security
POLT 569
The Rise of China
POLT 570
Counterterrorism: Nation states' responses to terrorist activity
POLT 592
Selected Topics in International Politics
Elective 2
Elective 2
Discovery Program Capstone4
Select one 700-level POLT course
Total Credits40

Candidates for a degree must satisfy all of the University Discovery Program requirements in addition to satisfying the requirements of each individual major program. Bachelor of arts candidates must also satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement.

Political Science majors may use one major-required course to satisfy one Discovery category requirement.

  • Knowledge base: a proficient knowledge base of four subfields of Political Science including American Government, Political Theory, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. Areas of strength include the study of public opinion, comparative politics and international relations, political economy, environmental politics, Latin American politics, Middle Eastern politics, and Asian politics. In this regard, the program fosters the development of a strong empirical foundation through multiple levels of courses. Majors are required to complete each of the following: POLT 401 Politics and Society, POLT 402 American Politics and Government and POLT 403 United States in World Affairs.
  • Research Skills: A second goal is to advance the students’ abilities to understand and use basic political science research skills. These include computer literacy, knowledge of credible sources of information, basic statistical applications, and support for foreign language proficiency. We also strive to help students identify interesting and important research questions clearly and concisely, gather and assess various types of information, and come to well-reasoned conclusions.
  • Critical Thinking: The third objective involves enhancement of student cognitive abilities, and critical thinking. We hone the ability to analyze, assess, and reconstruct findings in written, oral, and graphical form. We strive to promote students who are self-disciplined thinkers who understand the rigorous standards of research, are intelligent consumers of political information, and are able to understand multiple perspectives and interpretations.
  • Communication Skills: Another aim is to enhance the written and oral communication skills of our students. We support the goals of the writing intensive requirement and expose students to different genres and conventions in academic writing. Most 500 and 700-level courses emphasize cultivating strong writing and reading skills, while at the 700-level, student engagement in sustained discussion becomes the centerpiece of instruction in many seminars. Writing instruction includes emphasis not only on research papers but on short analytical essays, précis, and reviews that ask students to synthesize complex information, develop arguments, and delve more deeply into interpretation. In some courses, part of this work includes iterated practice of grammar and stylistic choices through revision and proposal assignments.
  • Professional Socialization and Support for Post-Graduate Training and Placement: The sixth aim of the program is to give students the requisite skills, preparation and knowledge base to become capable and responsible political actors in their chosen professional careers and future goals. We expect our students to be exposed to the ethics and organizational culture of political science specifically and the social sciences generally. We aim to provide a foundation of professionalism for students who enter both the private and public sectors upon graduation and for those who continue their studies beyond the B.A.
  • Inspire Curiosity and Enthusiasm for Inquiry: A final goal is to foster a spirit of inquiry. Faculty in the Department hope to stimulate curiosity about the political world and inspire life-long learners who are engaged in the political process at the local, national and global levels.

Explore Program Details

The Accelerated Master’s Program offers a unique opportunity for students to receive a BA and MA in 5 years.  For complete details, including eligibility requirements and application instructions, please visit:  POLitical science Accelerated Master's Degree

 

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