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Political Science

Political Science, B.A. / B.S.

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Interested in American politics, global affairs, political theory, public administration or public policy? If you like to explore theories concerning the ideal government and how power and resources are allocated in society, consider studying political science. You will gain a versatile set of skills that can be applied in a wide range of careers in federal, state and local governments; law; business; international organizations; nonprofits; campaign management; journalism; and teaching. You can choose to receive either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree in political science. With a Bachelor of Arts, you will gain broad knowledge of the political science discipline, and your studies will emphasize communication skills and the humanities. If you have an aptitude for math or an interest in political economy, public administration, public policy or other fields that require advanced quantitative skills, the Bachelor of Science is the way to go.

  • Bachelor of Science Degree

    Political science majors enjoy many small classes that foster research, critical thinking, student participation and faculty-student interaction. With our Bachelor of Arts, you’ll have a strong focus on arts and humanities courses and will be required to choose a minor. In our Bachelor of Science you’ll choose one of our five concentration areas.

    American Politics Concentration (B.S.): Focus on national and subnational institutions at the state and local levels in the U.S. government, as well as political behavior such as interest groups, social movements, political parties and elections.

    Global Politics Concentration (B.S.): Gain an understanding of the politics and cultures of different countries, and acquire an in-depth understanding of the interactions among states and non-state actors.

    Political Economy Concentration (B.S.): Study the linkages between politics and the economy to learn the motivations of human interactions along with who gets what and how regarding power and resources in society.

    Public Policy Concentration (B.S.): Learn about the core theories and frameworks that explain the policy process at the national, state and local levels in American politics.

    Public Administration Concentration (B.S.): Study the core political roles of agencies, elected officials, bureaucrats and nonprofit organizations that carry out the administrative functions in public policy implementation, evaluation and service delivery for governments.

    American Politics Curriculum Global Politics Curriculum Political Economy Curriculum Public Policy Curriculum Public Administration Curriculum
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree

    Students in the B.A. degree are required to take a breadth of courses in both the general education and departmental requirements. B.A. students are also required to select a minor. In addition to their introductory courses in political science, B.A. majors are required to take at least one upper-level course in each of the core subfields of political science (American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory and public policy/public administration).

    Bachelor of Arts Curriculum

  • Political Science Minors

    The Department of Political Science offers several minor programs for those not majoring in political science. These minors include Political Science, Global Politics, Political and Legal Theory, Public Policy.

    Explore the curriculum for each political science minor.

    Political Science Minor Global Politics Minor Political and Legal Theory Minor Public Policy Minor

  • Experience Beyond The Classroom

    Political science majors get a chance to engage in real-world global and political issues, giving a voice to the next generation of leaders. You will get hands-on experience with your peers, learning more about democratic government, public policy and global issues through projects like Model U.N. and honor societies.

    Study Abroad Belgrade: Spend a month in Serbia and travel through Europe studying its troubled history and current developments and culture. Our students say it's one of the most intellectually and emotionally challenging experiences they have ever had.

    Honors: Pi Sigma Alpha, Clemson's political science honor society, stimulates scholarship and interest in political science, promotes extracurricular activities, and organizes seminars, conferences, discussion groups and publications.

    Participate: Each semester, students attend the fall and spring sessions of the S.C. Student Legislature. This organization aims to educate students about the functions of democratic government and encourages student debate on public policy issues.

    Model UN: Political science students can not only choose to participate as delegates in Model U.N., they often travel nationally and internationally to compete against other collegiate delegations. They can also lead a High School Model U.N. forum at Clemson.

  • Where Our Graduates Have Gone
    Recent Positions and Employers
    • Deputy Campaign Manager, Congressional Campaign
    • Assistant to the Governor, Office of the Governor, S.C.
    • Staff Assistant, U.S. Senate
    • City Planner, City of Sumter
    • Special Projects Manager for Technical Services, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
    Recent Postgraduate Studies
    • J.D., Duke University School of Law
    • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
    • Ph.D., The Ohio State University
    • J.D., Yale Law School
    • M.S. Politics and Communication, London School of Economics
    Common Career Areas
    • Government
    • Public Policy
    • Research
    • Regional Planning
    • City or Town Management
    • Intelligence
    • Foreign Service
    • Law Enforcement
    • Legislative, Executive or Judicial Services
    • Program Administration
    • Law
    • Politics
    • Elected or Appointed Leadership
    • Campaign Management
    • Staff Administration
    • Special Interest Advocacy
    • Nonprofit
    • Administration
    • Management
    • Public Relations
    • Fundraising
    • Business
    • Sales
    • Human Resources
    • Management
    • Advertising
    • Public Relations
    • Journalism
    • Education
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Who is my undergraduate advisor?
    Political science majors and minors with questions about the undergraduate program and their degree progress should contact one of the following advisers: 

    Freshmen and sophomore political science majors have an assigned academic advisor

    Junior and senior political science majors should contact Dr. Adam Warber, 230-G Brackett Hall,, 864-656-1828.

    You can also contact advisors within the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences Office of Academic Advising.

    Is there a formal advising process that the department offers each semester to assist students with the registration of classes?
    Pre-registration advising is required for freshmen and sophomore political science majors. Your academic advisor will send an email containing a link for sign-up times as well as drop-in hours approximately two weeks prior to the beginning of pre-registration advising. Pre-registration advising is optional for junior and senior political science majors. The dates and times of the optional advising sessions will be posted on the departmental bulletin board outside the main political science office (Brackett 232) and on Dr. Warber’s office door within several weeks before registration.

    Do I need to bring any materials with me to my advising session in the fall or spring before I register for classes?
    You should come prepared with a list of courses that you plan to register for in the upcoming semester. In addition, you should have reviewed your current online degree progress report in Degree Works.

    Where are my curriculum requirements listed?
    Your curriculum requirements are listed in the appropriate section of the Undergraduate Announcements academic catalog which is available online. Go to the Academic Catalog and select the appropriate year for your curriculum. You also can access your online degree progress report in Degree Works which contains the specific requirements that students must complete for the major, general education, and minor. Students can check their degree progress report in the iROAR system by clicking on the following tabs: Students-->Student Record-->Degree Works

    How will I know my curriculum year? Can I change my curriculum year?
    Your curriculum year is shown in the top section of your degree progress report (DPR) in Degree Works which is located in iROAR. You may choose any curriculum year you like as long as you were enrolled at Clemson (or another university, assuming you did not take time off from your college education) in that curriculum year.

    Do I need to declare a minor?
    You must declare a minor if you are pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. You also must declare a minor if you are pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree with either an American Politics or a Global Politics concentration. The only students who do not need to declare a minor are those pursuing a BS degree with the Political Economy, Public Administration, or Public Policy concentration.

    Do I need to declare a concentration?
    There are no concentrations to declare in the BA degree for political science, but you must declare a concentration if you are pursuing a BS. The five choices are: American Politics, Global Politics, Political Economy, Public Administration, and Public Policy.

    Do I need to take POSC 1990 and POSC 4990?
    All political science majors must take POSC 1990 and POSC 4990. These are one-hour online classes designed to supplement the core work of the political science major. POSC 1990 should be taken during the first or second semester of the freshman year for those entering Clemson as political science majors, or during the first semester as a political science major for those students changing majors to political science after entering Clemson. POSC 4990 should be taken during one of the semesters in the last year of coursework before graduation.

    If I am in ROTC, do I need to take additional coursework to fulfill my General Education “Oral Communication” requirement?
    In short, no. Your ROTC coursework takes care of this requirement.

    Can the same class ever fulfill more than one graduation requirement?
    In certain circumstances, yes, but these circumstances are rare. First, you “might” be able to double-dip the course that you take for the General Education “Science and Technology in Society” (STS) requirement in both the STS category and either General Education “Additional Math or Science” or General Education “Humanities (Non-Literature).” See this website for details: Second, sometimes a course you take for your minor “might” double-dip in a General Education category. A very important rule of thumb to keep in mind is that no course that you take in the political science department can double-dip anywhere under any circumstance.

    Can I get political science credit for doing an internship?
    Sometimes. Contact Dr. Bruce Ransom ( for details as well as for advice about internships in general.

    May I substitute a class into one of the five BA core areas for the political science major requirement?
    No. See your online degree progress report in Degree Works for a list of approved courses that satisfy the BA core requirements.

    Q. How many hours of “special” political science elective courses may I use toward my major? How about toward my overall degree?
    You may include no more than a combination of three hours from POSC 3050, 3100, 3110, 3120, 3130, 3820, 3830, 4090, and 4100 toward your major. You may include up to six hours from all of these course numbers toward your degree. (The extra three hours would go into the “general electives” category on your degree progress report.)

    How many hours of General Electives do I need to graduate?
    It depends. To graduate, you must accomplish five tasks related to your coursework:

      • Complete all General Education and Selected Departmental requirements.
      • Complete all requirements for the political science major.
      • Complete a minor (if applicable).
      • Earn the total required number of credits required by the University.
      • Maintain your GPA at or above 2.0.
      • If you have accomplished all five of these requirements, you will automatically have taken enough hours of General Electives.

    Can I take courses at another university and transfer the credit into Clemson?
    Yes, but only under certain circumstances:

      • You must complete a transient form before you take classes elsewhere.
      • You must earn a grade of C or better in the course.
      • You may not transfer more than six hours of credit into Clemson from other institutions once you are within 43 hours of graduation (this is referred to as Clemson’s 37/43 credit hour rule). A rough translation of this policy is that you cannot transfer in more than six hours of credit once you are into your final three semesters of coursework. A student who is considering enrolling in classes at another university/college to transfer back to Clemson should contact the Undergraduate Studies office in Martin Hall to verify the number of credit hours that he or she can transfer back to Clemson in order to comply with the 37/43 credit hour rule.
      • For a list of courses that are pre-approved for transfer from other universities into Clemson, visit the Clemson Course Transfer Information website.
Department of Political Science
Department of Political Science | 232 Brackett Hall