Major and Minor

Major in Political Science

Political Science major requirements changed in Fall 2014. Students who entered Northwestern in September 2014 or later must follow the new requirements. Students who entered Northwestern prior to Fall 2014 can choose whether to graduate under the old requirements or the new ones. When you file your Graduation Petition, it is very important that you indicate which set of requirements you have chosen to follow. You must choose one set of requirements or the other; you can't choose parts from each.

Overview of New Requirements

Political Science major requirements changed in two ways:

  1. The major no longer has a “Related Courses” requirement.
  2. The major now requires one additional 300-level Political Science course (making for 7 electives in total).

Everything else stayed the same.

New Major Requirements: effective Fall 2014

Department courses (12 units)

  • 3 gateway courses chosen from 201, 220, 221, 230, 240, 
250. Since the gateway courses expose students to a variety of subfields, students may take no more than 2 from the American Politics courses (220, 221, and 230) to fulfill this requirement.
  • 1 methodology course in Political Science chosen from 310, 311, 312, 315
  • 395
  • 7 additional 300-level courses in Political Science (note that CFS 
391, 394, 396, or 397 may 
substitute for at most 1 of these courses)

Notes:

  • At most 2 political science courses taken abroad may count toward the major, and may not replace any of the 200-level gateway courses.
  • Receiving a 5 on an AP exam (either American Government or Comparative Politics) can place students out of the equivalent 200-level course, but does not reduce the total number of courses (12) required to complete the major. Thus, instead of taking 220 or 250, the student must take an additional 300-level course. Students wishing to use their AP credit in this fashion must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and place the request.

Old Major Requirements: only an option for students who entered Northwestern prior to Fall 2014:

Department courses (11 units)

  • 3 gateway courses chosen from 201, 220, 221, 230, 240, 
250. Since the gateway courses expose students to a variety of subfields, students may take no more than 2 from the American Politics courses (220, 221, and 230) to fulfill this requirement.
  • 1 methodology course in Political Science chosen from 310, 311, 312, 315
  • 395
  • 6 additional 300-level courses in Political Science (note that CFS 
391, 394, 396, or 397 may 
substitute for at most 1 of these courses)

Related courses (5 units)

  • At least 3 must be at the 300 level.
  • No more than 1 may be at the 100 level.
  • At most 3 taken abroad may be counted.
  • Courses may be chosen from African American studies, 
American studies, anthropology, Asian American studies, Chicago Field Studies, economics, environmental policy and culture, gender and sexuality studies, global health, history, international studies, Latin American and Caribbean studies, legal studies, philosophy, psychology, and sociology.

Notes:

  • At most 2 political science courses taken abroad may 
count toward the major, and may not replace any of the 200-level gateway courses.
  • Receiving a 5 on an AP exam (either American Government or Comparative Politics) can place students out of the equivalent 200-level course, but does not reduce the total number of courses (12) required to complete the major. Thus, instead of taking 220 or 250, the student must take an additional 300-level course. Students wishing to use their AP credit in this fashion must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to place the request.

Minor in Political Science 


The minor offers a student the opportunity to complete an abbreviated yet coherent plan of study in Political Science. It is also designed to enable a student to enrich his or her studies in various ways, especially by (1) complementing a major in another field (for example, philosophy, economics, history, sociology, math, art, or language) by adding a Political Science perspective on key subjects, and (2) preparing for certain careers (for example, law, public service, business, or teaching) by taking courses in Political Science that address relevant topics. The minor is structured to permit students to explore a variety of courses across subfields in political science or to concentrate their studies in one of them. Prospective minors are encouraged to consult with an undergraduate advisor to develop a program of study tailored to their needs.

Minor requirements:

Department courses (6 units):

  • 
At least 2 200-level courses chosen from 201, 220, 221, 230, 240, 250
  • 4 additional political science courses, including at least 3 at the 300 level

Note:

  • At most one (1) course from study abroad may count toward the minor.
  • Receiving a 5 on an AP exam (either American Government or Comparative Politics) can place students out of the equivalent 200-level course, but does not reduce the total number of courses (6) required to complete the minor. Thus, instead of taking 220 or 250, the student must take an additional 300-level course. Students wishing to use their AP credit in this fashion must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to place the request.