Frequently Asked Questions
In an effort to answer some of the more frequently asked questions in advance of the advising season, the Department of Political Science has devised this page to help students find what they need beforehand. The professors have compiled these questions over the past few years of advising students in the Political Science major. Some of the questions are specific to the major components and some are University standards. Please contact your advisor if you have a concern that is not addressed here and please notify the Department's Program Assistant if you have a question that should be added to the list.
What do I need to do to prepare for my advising appointment?
Political Science faculty take their roles as faculty advisors very seriously. To this end, the department has developed a Political Science Department Statement on Advising. This statement specifies the student’s responsibility in the advising relationship.
What can I expect from my advisor during our advising meeting?
The Political Science Department Statement on Advising clear states the faculty advisor’s responsibility in the advising relationship.
How many electives do I need to graduate?
Unfortunately, there is not a standard answer to this question. Students must refer to their Undergraduate Catalog for the number of required elective hours. The catalogs are specific by the first year in which the student enrolled at Winthrop University. This catalog is basically the student's contract with the school. Whatever the course requirements are in that catalog are the ones that the student needs to fulfill for the degree. Despite any changes made in the following years of the students enrollment, he/she must only complete what is in the catalog for the year they entered (the exception to this rule is for College of Education majors). For example, on page 72 of the Undergraduate Catalog for 2005-2006, a student must complete 15 hours of PLSC electives and 15-38 hours of general electives for a regular Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. The number for general electives varies because of the variance in the hours a student might/might not have to fulfill the Touchstone Program requirements. Students that are Secondary Education minors or applying for a Public Administration Concentration have a different number of required electives as well.
What does the "X" symbolize in front of the class name in the Course Catalog?
If a course name and/or description has the letter "X" next to it in the course catalog, it designates that course as being experimental. This just means that this is the first time that the course has been offered and it is being done so on a trial basis. This lets students know that the course set-up and method may be a little different than the "norm." It is also to warn students that the course may never be offered again if a student may wish to repeat it later for a better grade, or wait to take it at a later date.
What does the "H" symbolize after the course number in the Course Catalog?
If a course name and/or description has the letter "H" next to it in the course catalog, it designates that course as being an honors level course. This means that only students that have been identified by the Honors Program may enroll in these course sections. For incoming freshmen, the honors program requirements are a minimum 1200 SAT or 27 ACT and a 3.5 GPA from high school. For currently enrolled students, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.30 is required to enroll in honors courses. For any additional questions about the honors program, thesis, degree, etc., please visit the Honors Program page.
Can I receive credit for both PLSC 317: African American Politics and Policy and PLSC 551: African American Political Thought?
Yes. They are two completely separate classes. PLSC 317 counts in the Public Policy requirement and PLSC 551 counts as a theory course.
Can the same class be used to fulfill more than one area of the Touchstone Program requirements?
The answer to this question is usually not. The classes that fulfill the Touchstone Program requirements can only be applied to one area. For example, ARTH 175 is on both the Global Perspectives and Historical Perspectives list as an approved course. Once you have taken that course, you must decide which requirement it will fulfill; Global or Historical Perspectives. The one exception is CSCI 101, which can fulfill both the Technology requirement and the Logic, Language, and Semiotics requirement.
Does PLSC 510 count as a theory course?
Maybe yes, maybe no, but DO NOT COUNT ON IT. PLSC 510 is our "topics" course; this number is used for any course that professors wish to offer only periodically, or use to try out a new course. PLSC 510 could count in any of the four major subfields of the discipline (advanced American Government, International Politics/Comparative Politics, Political Theory, or Public Administration/Public Policy), depending upon who is teaching the course and the content of the course. Best bet is to check with your advisor to determine the subject being taught and whether it would fulfill the Theory subfield.
How many PLSC courses can I take?
A major requires 30-36 hours (10-12 three hour courses); but the student also faces an upper limit of 42 hours (14 three hour courses) from any one designator. An exception is in place for students majoring in Political Science or History and minoring in International Studies. Students who are eligible to take Honors courses (GPA of 3.3 or better) may take some Political Science courses under the HONR designator. A political science course may also be offered as an interdisciplinary seminar and listed until another designator. For example, PLSC 510H: Marxism, for Spring semester 2005 was cross listed as INAS 425H. Some of the department's other courses are cross listed in African American Studies, Women's Studies, and International Studies.