Major Requirements


The study of political science aims to understand the way in which policy for a society is formulated and executed and the moral standards by which policy is or ought to be set. For teaching purposes, the study of political science has been divided by the department into the following fields: (1) American politics, (2) comparative politics, (3) political theory, and (4) international politics. Introductory courses in these fields provide broad and flexible approaches to studying political life.

The major in politics and international affairs consists of thirty-one hours, of which, in all but exceptional cases, at least twenty-one hours must be completed at Wake Forest. Where students take political science courses abroad, they have to be in Wake Forest approved programs and/or must have been certified by the department chair. The required courses for the major include the following:

  1. at least one non-seminar course in each of the four fields of politics listed above;
  2. the department’s methodology requirement. Except in exceptional circumstances, the requirement should be completed prior to the end of the junior year and before the senior seminar.  All students must take POL 291 “Research Design and Qualitative Analysis. Students must also complete POL 292 “Quantitative Analysis.” Students who have received a C or above in Math 109 are exempt from POL 292. It will remain the responsibility of such students to meet the full number of credit hours required for the Political Science major.                                                              Please note: For majors declaring in Spring 2015 and beyond the methodology requirement will be as follows: POL 280 will take the place of Pol 291 and 292. POL 280 provides an overview of the qualitative and quantitative methods prominent in studying political science. In addition, majors are required to take Math 109, which must be completed prior to or in concurrence with POL 280. The methods course is a prerequisite for the senior seminar and students are expected to take the methods course prior to the end of the junior year and, in any case, prior to the senior seminar.
  3. One political science seminar course (POL 300) normally taken in the senior year. The senior seminar provides an opportunity for majors to experience something comparable to a graduate seminar. As such, it is conducted more by discussion than by lecture and enables students to read and reflect upon advanced scholarly material. The seminar also offers students the opportunity in their final year to create a research paper of greater length and sophistication than is customary and to develop the research and writing skills appropriate to the task.  Due to its relatively heavy workload, the senior seminar is a four-hour credit class.

No more than six hours may be taken toward the major from introductory courses (100-level courses). Majors may not take the introductory courses during their senior year. Highly motivated students who would like to further expand or apply their study beyond the normal course of offerings can undertake internships, individual studies, or directed readings if they fulfill the minimum GPA requirements of 3.0. No more than three hours for any one or any combination of the following courses may be counted toward the major: Political Science 287, 288, or 289. Up to 3 hours may be counted toward the major by taking POL 286: Topics in Political Science. Transfer hours toward the major are awarded on an individual case-by-case basis at the discretion of the department chair. A minimum grade point average of 2.0 in all courses completed in political science at Wake Forest is required for graduation with the major.

Registration for seminars takes place in the spring semester of the junior year (both for the fall and spring semester):
(1)   Seminar descriptions will be posted outside of the departmental office prior to registration. An email with the seminar registration form will be sent to students prior to registration. The email will contain further information regarding deadlines and procedures.
(2)   Students need to schedule their advising appointment with your major adviser during the first week of advising.
(3)  Students rank order their choices and turn it in to the department office.
(4)   Using a computer process to randomize names, the department enrolls students in a seminar, moving to second or later choices only if your first choice is full.

Latin-American Studies BA/MA

Majors in politics and international affairs who minor in Latin-American studies also have the opportunity to pursue a five-year cooperative BA/MA degree program at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. For further information please contact Dr. Peter Siavelis.