Political Science (BA)

Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Major: Political Science
Program Code: 3718

About This Major . . .

The Political Science program provides students with a working knowledge of the concepts, theories and approaches to the discipline of Political Science and their practical application to political and governmental systems within the state, national and international arenas.  Students majoring in Political Science are prepared for careers in government, law, criminal justice, and non-governmental organizations.  Many graduates are currently employed as Congressional Staff members, Gubernatorial Staff, state agency officials, hold elective office or have successfully graduated from law school.

One attractive aspect of the program is the opportunity to intern in a variety of settings in Washington, D.C., Denver and Grand Junction. These internships allow students a chance to acquire practical experience while increasing the opportunity to network. Many of our student interns are now working in jobs they obtained directly as a result of their intern experience. CMU political science graduates have also been successful in gaining entrance to graduate and law schools. The Political Science program supports a Political Science Club and a local chapter of the national honor society Pi Sigma Alpha.

For more information on what you can do with this major, visit Career Services’ What to Do with a Major? resource.

All CMU baccalaureate graduates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in specialized knowledge/applied learning, quantitative fluency, communication fluency, critical thinking, personal and social responsibility, and information literacy. In addition to these campus-wide student learning outcomes, graduates of this major will be able to:

  1. Critically analyze the theories and concepts relevant to political science (Specialized Knowledge);
  2. Defend a political argument using established methods (empirical and normative) in the field of political science (Intellectual Skills, Communication Fluency);
  3. Articulate diverse perspective surrounding a political issue (Critical Thinking);
  4. Devise a strategy to promote civic involvement within the broader community for themselves and others (Civic Engagement)

Each section below contains details about the requirements for this program. Select a header to expand the information/requirements for that particular section of the program's requirements. 

To print or save an overview of this program's information, including the program description, learning outcomes, requirements, suggested course sequencing (if applicable), and advising and graduation information, scroll to the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu and select "Print Options." This will give you the options to either "Send Page to Printer" or "Download PDF of This Page." The "Download PDF of This Page" option prepares a much more concise presentation of all program information. The PDF is also printable and may be preferable due to its brevity. 

Institutional Degree Requirements

The following institutional degree requirements apply to all CMU baccalaureate degrees. Specific programs may have different requirements that must be met in addition to institutional requirements.

  • 120 semester hours minimum.
  • Students must complete a minimum of 30 of the last 60 hours of credit at CMU, with at least 15 semester hours in major discipline courses numbered 300 or higher.
  • 40 upper-division credits (an alternative credit limit applies to the Bachelor of Applied Science degree).
  • 2.00 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU coursework.
  • A course may only be used to fulfill one requirement for each degree/certificate.
  • No more than six semester hours of independent study courses can be used toward the degree.
  • Non-traditional credit, such as advanced placement, credit by examination, credit for prior learning, cooperative education and internships, cannot exceed 30 semester credit hours for a baccalaureate degree. A maximum of 15 of the 30 credits may be for cooperative education, internships, and practica.
  • Pre-collegiate courses (usually numbered below 100) cannot be used for graduation.
  • Capstone exit assessment/projects (e.g., Major Field Achievement Test) requirements are identified under Program-Specific Degree Requirements.
  • The Catalog Year determines which program sheet and degree requirements a student must fulfill in order to graduate. Visit with your advisor or academic department to determine which catalog year and program requirements you should follow.
  • See “Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees and Certificates” in the catalog for a complete list of graduation requirements.

Essential Learning Requirements

(31 semester hours)

See the current catalog for a list of courses that fulfill the requirements below. If a course is an Essential Learning option and a requirement for your major, you must use it to fulfill the major requirement and make a different selection for the Essential Learning requirement.

English 1
ENGL 111English Composition I-GTCO13
ENGL 112English Composition II-GTCO23
Mathematics 1
MATH 110Mathematical Investigations-GTMA13
Select one History course3
Select one Humanities course3
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select one Social and Behavioral Sciences course3
Select one Social and Behavioral Sciences course3
Fine Arts
Select one Fine Arts course3
Natural Sciences 2
Select one Natural Sciences course3
Select one Natural Sciences course with a lab4
Total Semester Credit Hours31

Other Lower Division Requirements

Wellness Requirement
KINE 100Health and Wellness1
Select one Activity course1
Essential Learning Capstone 1
ESSL 290Maverick Milestone3
ESSL 200Essential Speech1
Total Semester Credit Hours6

Foundation Courses

(6 semester hours, must pass all courses with a grade of “C” or higher)

Two consecutive classes in the same foreign language 16
Total Semester Credit Hours6

Program Specific Degree Requirements

(60 semester hours, must pass all courses with a grade of “C” or higher and maintain a 2.00 cumulative GPA or higher in coursework in this area.)

Political Science Core
POLS 101American Government-GTSS13
POLS 151Introduction to Political Ideas3
POLS 201Introduction to Political Inquiry3
POLS 236State and Local Government3
POLS 261Comparative Politics-GTSS13
POLS 270World Politics3
POLS 351Public and Elite Political Behavior3
POLS 490Senior Seminar for Political Science3
Political Science Electives
Political Theory
Select one of the following:3
Political Theory: Classical and Medieval
Political Theory: Modern
International Relations Theory
American Politics
Select one of the following:3
The Legislative Process
The American Presidency
The American Court System
Constitutional Law
Global Politics
Select one of the following:3
Government and Politics of Asia
Peace and Conflict Studies
Global Politics of Women and Gender
Politics of Global Governance
International Political Economy
American Foreign and National Security Policy
Political Issues
Select one of the following:3
Religion and Politics
Politics of Human and Natural Resources
Political Geography
Indigenous Politics
Public Policy: Theory and Practice
Environmental Politics and Policy
Public Administration
Select one of the following:3
Public Management
Ethics in Public Administration
Public Budgeting
Public Personnel Management
Public Administration
Introduction to Emergency Management
Political Science Specialization
Select four additional courses from Political Theory, American Politics, Global Politics, Political Issues and/or Public Administration12
Career Preparation
Select one of the following:3
Statistics for Social and Behavioral Sciences
Communication and Conflict
Communication: Culture, Diversity and Gender
Communication and Leadership
Argumentation and Debate
Pre-Law in Practice
Independent Study
Independent Study
Total Semester Credit Hours54
Restricted Electives
Select 2 of the following Political Science related courses:6
Criminal Law
Trial, Evidence and Legal Advocacy
Hazard Preparedness and Mitigation
Disaster Response and Recovery
History of Modern Germany
American Indian History
The American West
The International History of the Cold War
The Early American Republic
The United States in the 1950's and 1960's
Global America: 1970-2000
20th Century United States Women's History
The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
East Asia and the Modern World
History of the African Continent
Environmental History of the United States
History of Sexuality
Social Psychology
Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies
Death, Dying & Bereavement
Political Sociology
Environmental Sociology
Sociology of Religion
Social Movements and Political Activism
Social Inequality
Race and Ethnic Relations
Total Semester Credit Hours6

General Electives

All college level courses appearing on your final transcript, not listed above that will bring your total semester hours to 120 hours. 16 semester hours; 7 hours of upper division may be needed

Select electives16
Total Semester Credit Hours16

While the sequencing below culminates in at total of 119-120 semester credit hours, students must complete a minimum of 120 semester credit hours as required for completion of the degree, including satisfactory completion of all required courses. The number of General Electives hours taken by a student can be adjusted to meet this minimum.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterSemester Credit Hours
ENGL 111 English Composition I-GTCO1 3
Essential Learning - History 3
MATH 110 Mathematical Investigations-GTMA1 3
Essential Learning - Natural Science 3
POLS 101 American Government-GTSS1 3
KINE 100 Health and Wellness 1
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
ENGL 112 English Composition II-GTCO2 3
Essential Learning - Humanities 3
Essential Learning - Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
POLS 151 Introduction to Political Ideas 3
POLS 270 World Politics 3
KINA Activity 1
 Semester Credit Hours16
Second Year
Fall Semester
Essential Learning - Fine Arts 3
Essential Learning - Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Foundation Course - Foreign Language 3
POLS 201 Introduction to Political Inquiry 3
POLS 236 State and Local Government 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
Essential Learning - Natural Science with Lab 4
POLS 261 Comparative Politics-GTSS1 3
Foundation Course - Foreign Language 3
ESSL 290 Maverick Milestone 3
ESSL 200 Essential Speech 1
 Semester Credit Hours14
Third Year
Fall Semester
Political Theory Elective 3
American Politics Elective 3
Global Politics Elective 3
Restricted Elective 3
Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
Occupational Preparation Course 3-4
POLS 351 Public and Elite Political Behavior 3
Political Issues Elective 3
Public Administration Elective 3
General Electives (1-2 courses) 4
 Semester Credit Hours16-17
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
POLS 490 Senior Seminar for Political Science 3
Political Science Specialization (2 courses) 6
Restricted Elective 3
General Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
Political Science Specialization (2 courses) 6
General Electives (2 courses) 6
 Semester Credit Hours12
 Total Semester Credit Hours119-120

Advising Process and DegreeWorks

Documentation on the pages related to this program is intended for informational purposes to help determine what courses and associated requirements are needed to earn a degree. The suggested course sequencing outlines how students could finish degree requirements. Some courses are critical to complete in specific semesters, while others may be moved around. Meeting with an academic advisor is essential in planning courses and altering the suggested course sequencing. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand and fulfill the requirements for her/his intended degree(s).

DegreeWorks is an online degree audit tool available in MAVzone. It is the official record used by the Registrar’s Office to evaluate progress towards a degree and determine eligibility for graduation. Students are responsible for reviewing their DegreeWorks audit on a regular basis and should discuss questions or concerns with their advisor or academic department head. Discrepancies in requirements should be reported to the Registrar’s Office.

Graduation Process

Students must complete the following in the first two months of the semester prior to completing their degree requirements:

  • Review their DegreeWorks audit and create a plan that outlines how unmet requirements will be met in the final semester.
  • Meet with their advisor and modify their plan as needed. The advisor must approve the final plan.
  • Submit the “Intent to Graduate” form to the Registrar’s Office to officially declare the intended graduation date and commencement ceremony plans.
  • Register for all needed courses and complete all requirements for each degree sought.

Submission deadlines and commencement details can be found at http://www.coloradomesa.edu/registrar/graduation.html.

If a student’s petition for graduation is denied, it will be her/his responsibility to consult the Registrar’s Office regarding next steps.