Political Science


Political Science Students

The Political Science faculty have developed a Political Science Department Statement on Advising. This document specifies the roles and responsibilities of the faculty advisor and the student advisee. Please review this statement prior to your academic advising appointment each semester in order to be prepared for your advising appointments.

Pre-Graduate School Advising

Undergraduate study in Political Science is excellent preparation for advanced study in a variety of fields. Political Science is one of the few departments on campus that has a faculty member dedicated to advising students interested in pursuing graduate study.

Political Science is excellent preparation for advanced study in the fields of International Affairs, International Relations, Political Science, Public Administration, Public Affairs, Public Policy and Urban Planning, among other fields. 

Dr. Michael Lipscomb is available to assist students in identifying graduate programs appropriate for the student's career goals, preparing application materials, and preparing for the graduate record examination (GRE).

LeeAnn Pounds is the Director of Winthrop University's Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. She can help students identify national and international scholarship opportunities that can provide financial assistance for graduate study.

Winthrop University is home to the McNair Program, an intensive program for qualified undergraduates to prepare them for graduate study. In addition, Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) each year. The RBSI targets undergraduates of underrepresented minority groups and provides a five-week intensive study in Political Science in preparation to enter Ph.D. programs. Winthrop University has an excellent record of placing students in both the McNair and Ralph Bunche programs. 

Undeclared Majors and Students Changing Majors

The BA in Political Science is a very flexible program that enables students to change to, or add, a Political Science major as late as the first semester of the third year, and still be able to graduate in four years.

The Political Science major program does not prescribe particular courses to meet General Education Program requirements. Thus, courses students have already taken can apply to the Political Science major program.

The Political Science program is flexible by design, which allows students to pursue their own interests within the general structure of the major. Advanced courses have few prerequisites attached to them.
While students are required to take courses in subfields across the discipline, the program has only three required courses in its "major core:" American Government (PLSC 201), Scope and Methods of Political Science (PLSC 350) and Political Science Capstone (PLSC 490).

Several Political Science courses also be used to meet General Education Program requirements.


All students earning a BA degree at Winthrop University must earn a minor. Students majoring in Political Science choose minors in a variety of subjects. Common choices are History, Sociology and Social Sciences; however students can meet this degree requirement with any minor program offered at Winthrop University.

Because the Political Science major is flexible, many Political Science students earn more than one minor during their careers at Winthrop University, without adding any semesters or credit hours to their degree programs.

Honors Program Degree

Students interested in earning an Honors Program degree will find that the Political Science department works hard to ensure students can meet the Honors program requirements easily. The department offers honors sections of several courses and often offers interdisciplinary seminars with faculty in other departments. Students can complete the thesis requirement through the Capstone course or through independent study with a faculty member.

Students can complete an Honors Program Degree in the Political Science major without adding additional semesters or credit hours to the program.

Study Abroad, National Student Exchange and the Washington Semester Program

The Political Science department encourages its students to take advantage of these opportunities to study off campus, and works hard to ensure courses taken through them will be applied to degree requirements. We advise students considering these opportunities to limit themselves to 12 hours of Political Science credit earned off campus. We especially encourage students also to study foreign language, history, art history and literature, and to take courses applicable to a minor program, while engaging in these opportunities.  Read more about Study Abroad, National Student Exchange, and the Washington Semester Program.

Political Science as a Second Major

Approximately 25 percent of Political Science majors earn a second major (or "double major") in another liberal arts discipline. Political Science faculty encourage interested students to consider a second major if it suits their interests and career and academic goals.

A second major with Political Science is possible when students are meeting the major requirements in the context of another Bachelor of Arts degree. Students can complete the two majors in the 120 credit hours required by the University, and the second major replaces the minor requirement in the BA program.

BA degrees are found most frequently in the Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts disciplines.  Common pairings are History and Sociology; however recent Political Science graduates have earned double majors in Philosophy and Religion, Economics, Theatre and foreign language.  Read more about Double Majors/ Dual Degrees.

Students adding a Political Science major to a BA program offered in another college (i.e. Economics in the College of Business or Theatre in the College of Visual and Performing Arts) need to be aware that the College of Arts and Sciences two semesters of foreign language for students in all BA programs.

Students interested in combining Political Science with a major that is only available in a Bachelor of Science program (Biology or Business Administration, for example) will need to earn a dual degree. This degree requires 154 credit hours.