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, Quantitative Fluency);
  3. Articulate diverse perspective surrounding a political issue (Critical Thinking, Information Literacy);
  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.

Specific to this program:

  • Experiential learning component is required for this degree. Please see your advisor for details specific to your plan of study.

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

Must receive a grade of “C” or better and must be completed by the time the student has 60 semester hours.


One course must include a lab.

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

Essential Learning Capstone must be taken after completion of the Essential Learning English and Mathematics requirements, and when a student has earned between 45 and 75 hours.

Foundation Courses

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

Two consecutive classes in the same foreign language6
Total Semester Credit Hours6

Program Specific Degree Requirements

(48-49 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 Inquiry2
POLS 236State and Local Government3
POLS 261Comparative Politics-GTSS13
POLS 270World Politics3
POLS 324United States Congress 13
or POLS 325 The American Presidency
POLS 342Public Administration 23
or POLS 462 Public Policy: Theory and Practice
POLS 351Public and Elite Political Behavior3
POLS 452Political Theory: Classical and Medieval 33
or POLS 453 Political Theory: Modern
POLS 471International Organizations and Law 43
or POLS 482 International Relations Theory
POLS 493Senior Capstone1
Political Science Electives
Select four of the following (for a total of 12 credits, 9 credits must be upper-division):12
United States Congress 1
The American Presidency 1
The American Court System
Rural Politics and Civic Engagement 5
Public Administration 2
Politics of Human and Natural Resources
Religion and Politics
Political Geography
Indigenous Politics
Government and Politics of Asia
Peace and Conflict Studies
Global Politics of Women and Gender
Independent Study
Constitutional Law
Political Theory: Classical and Medieval 3
Political Theory: Modern 3
Public Policy: Theory and Practice 2
International Organizations and Law 4
International Political Economy
American Foreign and National Security Policy
International Relations Theory 4
Environmental Political Theory
Environmental Politics and Policy
Independent Study
Public Management
Ethics in Public Administration
Public Budgeting
Introduction to Emergency Management
Hazard Preparedness and Mitigation
Disaster Response and Recovery
Introduction to International Studies
Career Preparation
Select one of the following:3-4
Statistics for Social and Behavioral Sciences
Argumentation and Debate
Study Away: Off-Campus Learning Experience 5
Internship 5,6
Internship 5,6
Experiential Learning
Must complete one of the following courses or non-course options. If choosing a non-course option, it must be approved by your faculty advisor.
ASG Leadership
Capital Conference
Non-Credit Internship
Semester Study Abroad
Volunteer Community Service with Portfolio Documentation
Rural Politics and Civic Engagement 5
Study Away: Off-Campus Learning Experience
Internship 5,6
Internship 5,6
Total Semester Credit Hours48-49

Student takes either POLS 324 or POLS 325 as their core class.  The one not selected as a core class can be taken as a political science elective.


Student takes either POLS 342 or POLS 462 as their core class.  The one not selected as a core class can be taken as a political science elective.


Student takes either POLS 452 or POLS 453 as their core class.  The one not selected as a core class can be taken as a political science elective.


Student takes either POLS 471 or POLS 482 as their core class.  The one not selected as a core class can be taken as a political science elective.


Course fulfills the experiential learning requirement.


Must total a minimum of 3 credits.

General Electives

All college level courses appearing on your final transcript, not listed above that will bring your total semester hours to 120 hours, including 40 hours of upper division credits. 28-29 semester hours, including 9-15 semester hours of upper division may be needed.

Select electives28-29
Total Semester Credit Hours28-29

While the sequencing below culminates in at a 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
MATH 110 Mathematical Investigations-GTMA1 3
Essential Learning - History 3
Essential Learning - Natural Science 3
POLS 101 American Government-GTSS1 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
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
 Semester Credit Hours15
Second Year
Fall Semester
Essential Learning - Fine Arts 3
Essential Learning - Natural Science with Lab 4
Foundation Course - Foreign Language 3
KINE 100 Health and Wellness 1
POLS 201 Introduction to Political Inquiry 2
POLS 236 State and Local Government 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
Essential Learning - Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Foundation Course - Foreign Language 3
ESSL 290 Maverick Milestone 3
ESSL 200 Essential Speech 1
POLS 261 Comparative Politics-GTSS1 3
General Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Third Year
Fall Semester
KINA Activity 1
POLS 324
United States Congress 1
or The American Presidency
POLS 452
Political Theory: Classical and Medieval
or Political Theory: Modern
Political Science Elective 3
Career Preparation Course 3-4
General Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours16-17
Spring Semester
POLS 351 Public and Elite Political Behavior 3
POLS 342
Public Administration
or Public Policy: Theory and Practice
POLS 471
International Organizations and Law
or International Relations Theory
General Elective 3
General Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
POLS 493 Senior Capstone 1
Political Science Elective 3
Political Science Elective 3
General Elective 3
General Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours13
Spring Semester
Political Science Elective 3
General Elective 3
General Elective 3
General Elective 3
General Elective 1
 Semester Credit Hours13
 Total Semester Credit Hours119-120

POLS 324 is offered in the Spring Semester. See your major advisor to adjust your suggested course sequencing.

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.