Political Science, B.A.


Department of Political Science

Melanie H. Ram, Chair
McKee Fisk Building, Room 244

Degrees and Programs Offered

BA in Political Science, B.A.
MN in Political Science, Minor
MN in Public Administration, Minor
MPA in Public Administration, M.P.A. - Continuing & Global Education
MPA in Public Administration, M.P.A.

Courses Offered

Courses and programs offered by the Department of Political Science are intended to help all students become more effective participants in a democratic society, as makers of public policy, and as individuals affected by those policies. Our programs prepare political science majors for a wide variety of careers.

Students may elect to concentrate within political science on American government and politics, international politics, legal studies, or public policy. Detailed course information on each track is available. For those who achieve a high measure of proficiency in their undergraduate programs, the department offers advanced work leading to the master’s degree in international relations and public administration. A Minor in Political Science is chosen by students as a means of obtaining skills and knowledge important to their primary area of interest.


Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements

Political Science Major

1. Major requirements (36 units)
(see Notes 1 and 2)

Lower-division core:
PLSI 1, 90 (6 units)
(to be completed prior to or concurrently with enrollment in the first 6 units of upper-division major courses)

Upper-division core:
PLSI 110 or 111, 120, 140, 150 (12 units)

Upper-division Political Science electives:
(PLSI exclude 102, 187) (18 units)

2. General Education requirements (49 units)

3. Other requirements (6 units)
Upper-division writing and Multicultural and International (MI)

4. Sufficient elective units to meet required total units (varies)
(See Degree Requirements); may be used toward a double major or minor

5. Total units (120)*

* G.E. and MI courses can be double-counted with major requirements. The writing requirement may be met by taking the upper-division writing exam. See advisor for details.

Advising Notes

  1. CR/NC grading is not permitted in the political science major.
  2. General Education and elective units may be used toward a double major or minor (in something other than political science; see Double Major or departmental minor). Consult the appropriate department chair, program coordinator, or faculty advisor for further information.
  3. Grading Requirement. Students majoring in political science must earn a grade of C or better in each of the six core courses in the major: PLSI 1, 90 (lower-division) and PLSI 110 or 111, 120, 140, and 150 (upper-division).


In most instances, the faculty in the department have had experience practicing what they teach. All bring to their classes extensive backgrounds that permit them to combine the theories of political science and public administration with the practical applications of those theories.

Most upper-division classes are small enough to allow extensive student-faculty interaction. The usual course involves a mixture of lecture and class discussion and encourages the expression of a variety of viewpoints about political issues. With smaller classes come greater opportunities for individualized instruction and assistance.

For faculty phone numbers and e-mail, see the campus directory.

For more on the faculty, see the faculty pages.
The faculty pages are updated by the department or program.


Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

A Roadmap identifies the specific set of courses students must complete in their major in sequential order. Information on corequisites or prerequisites is listed along with other pertinent information to assist students in completing courses towards the major.

Click here for roadmap.

Please note: Roadmaps are not a guarantee of course availability.

If you are looking for archived roadmaps, please click here.


careers tab placeholder

Political Science is the study of who has the power to make laws for society, the institutional structures that guide how this power is used, and the impact of public policies on society.  Students study voting, elections, the structures of government institutions, and how governments around the world differ and interact.  They also explore local, national, and global issues such as civil rights, education, the environment, terrorism, and globalization.

Our graduates have gone on to serve in Congress, in the state legislature, as city managers, as urban planners, as city council members, as lawyers and judges, as mayors, as union leaders, as business owners, as educators, as non-profit managers, as military officers, as civic organizers, and more. Numerous leaders in the San Joaquin Valley are our graduates. 

What You Can Do

  • Manage political campaigns
  • Pursue a career in public office or law
  • Advocate for policy change
  • Join the Peace Corps or Foreign Service

Interesting Classes You Might Take

  • Presidential Politics
  • Constitutional Law
  • Water Politics and Policy
  • International Law and Organization
  • American Foreign Affairs

What You Can Learn About

  • Political parties; citizen political advocacy; election of public officials; political institutions
  • Military and economic power; political violence; democratic peace; international organizations; globalization; nationalism; imperialism; environmental politics; foreign policies of specific nations
  • Freedom and individual rights, democracy, majority rule, equality, law and authority, power, constitutional foundation of American government, social class and structure, revolution

About the College

The College of Social Sciences studies the human experience, including the depth of the past and the breadth of the entire planet.

We place emphasis on learning practical skills to aid you in your career. Our students do internships, participate in archaeological digs, or do service-learning projects with a non-profit agency. Students can assist on research projects or organize a social change project.

Whatever the students' major, they enjoy our witty and talented faculty and our caring staff as they discover our social world.

College Contact Information

Phone: (559) 278-3013
FAX: (559) 278-7664

5340 N. Campus Drive MS/SS91
Fresno CA 93740-8019

Department Contact Information

Department of Political Science 
Phone: 559-278-2988 
Fax: 559-278-5230

Office Location:

McKee-Fisk Building 
2225 East San Ramon Avenue 
Mail Stop MF 19 
Fresno, California