College of Liberal Arts students study four different subfields when earning their bachelor of science in Political Science degree. Alternatively, you can minor in political science or earn a political economy certificate. Standout students are eligible for the political science honors program and distinction, the Temple University Honors Program, the Honors Scholar Track and honors funding and support.
Learn Diverse Theoretical and Methodological Approaches to Studying Political Science
College of Liberal Arts students can pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science, a minor that can be paired with any other program of study and/or a certificate in political economy. Political science faculty conduct research in these areas and offer classes related to their research specialties and current issues and controversies. The political science BA program gives students a broad education in politics and government institutions. Our courses sharpen analytical thinking skills and challenge you to critically evaluate the rights and responsibilities of citizens living in a democracy.
The political science discipline has four distinct subfields:
American Politics focuses on studying of the American political system, including institutions (e.g., Legislative, Executive, Courts, and Bureaucracy) and mass political behavior (e.g., elections, public opinion, and the media).
Comparative Politics focuses on studying foreign governments outside of the United States, with an eye to comparing how different political systems affect political outcomes. Topics include the study of political and economic institutions as well as mass political behavior across different contexts.
International Relations explores how nation states interact in the global system. Topics include the study of international conflict and the role that international institutions play in shaping nation states’ behavior.
Political Theory theoretically evaluates how individuals behave and ought to behave in a collective polity. Political theorists bring precision to fundamental - yet contested - key political concepts, such as freedom, equality, democracy and justice.
Learn More about the BA in Political Science.
Minor in Political Science
Want to pair political science with another program of study? Our political science minor is ideal for you.
Learn More about the Minor in Political Science.
Certificate in Political Economy
Temple’s undergraduate Certificate in Political Economy is for students interested in an in-depth study of the relationship between politics and economics.
Learn More about the Certificate in Political Economy.
Political Science Honors Program and Distinction in the Major
Distinction in Major, also known as the Political Science Honors program, allow exceptional undergraduates to pursue the most rigorous classes and research opportunities. Distinction in Major is separate from the University Honors program, and officially appears on the Temple transcript.
The program is open to majors who have completed their sophomore year with a minimum 3.5 GPA overall and 3.6 GPA in political science coursework. Students must take two honors seminars emphasizing research and writing skills – the junior honors capstone (POLS 3996) and senior honors capstone (POLS 4996). They must pass both with a minimum grade of B+ of which at least one must be A- or better. Note that POLS 3996 counts as an upper-level elective and writing-intensive course, and POLS 4996 counts as the senior capstone requirement. In special circumstances, honors students may take, in place of one (but no more) of these honors capstones, a regular capstone (POLS 4896) using an approved “honors contract” signed with the instructor.
Eligible students will be contacted via e-mail in the early weeks of the fall and spring semesters to apply to this honors program. Students who believe they are eligible but who were not notified should contact the Undergraduate Chair for more information.
Learn More about the Political Science Distinction in Major Honors Program
University Honors Program
Students accepted into the University Honors Scholar Program may select political science as their field of concentration to join the political science honors program. University honors students interested in earning distinction in the major should take the junior and senior honors capstone course, as described above. University honors students who do not wish to pursue distinction in the major should, nonetheless, sign up for POLI 4996 as their capstone.
University Honors Scholar Track
The thesis proposal is submitted to the university honors program, preferably by the beginning of the second semester of your junior year. All proposals are due by the end of junior year and are reviewed by the honors director and the student’s faculty advisor. Thesis topics may emerge from coursework (e.g., the capstone), an independent study or curiosity about some other facet of political study. The completed thesis must be at least 8,000 words exclusive of footnotes and bibliography. The thesis can serve as the core of a student’s dossier as she or he applies for graduate school.
The university honors program maintains a set of minimal progress standards that every honors student must satisfy in order to continue in the program. Students failing to make satisfactory progress are placed on probation and may ultimately be dismissed from the program. To learn more about joining the program, contact the university honors director, Ruth Ost at email@example.com.
Honors Funding and Support
Funds are available in the Diamond Research Scholars program. Honors students are also encouraged to submit their completed thesis to the Library Prize for Undergraduate Research.