Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
- At least 28 units for the major must be from upper division courses (300–699).
- Courses that fulfill the core and breadth requirements must be taken for a letter grade. CR/NC grading is not accepted for core and breadth courses.
- Students must earn a grade of C or better in the GWAR designated course, and in all other core and breadth courses.
- Students in the major or minor may take up to four units CR/NC only for courses that satisfy part of the elective requirement.
- At least one political science (PLSI) GWAR course must be taken. It also counts towards either the Breadth Requirement or electives in political science.
Note: Students must take the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) (composition) course in the major even if the student has taken a GWAR course in another department. The GWAR is satisfied by earning a C- in any upper division course with the suffix GW. The department offers a number of its courses with a GWAR and non-GWAR option. To satisfy the GWAR requirement, you must successfully complete a course that contains the GW suffix; e.g., PLSI 477GW “Congress and the Presidency - GWAR” WILL satisfy the requirement - PLSI 477 “Congress and the Presidency” will NOT satisfy GWAR.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Students demonstrate knowledge of basic facts about the American political system.
- Students demonstrate comparative knowledge of diverse political systems around the world.
- Students demonstrate knowledge of a variety of theoretical traditions from Europe, the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and other parts of the world.
- In their senior seminar, students demonstrate that they have mastered an integrative approach to the various subfields of political science.
- Students demonstrate proficiency in expressing complex ideas and arguments through writing as well as proficiency in political research and analysis.
- Students demonstrate an ability to conduct basic empirical analysis on political topics as well as an ability to do textual exegesis in their written work.
- Students demonstrate citizenship skills, including the ability to appreciate human diversity, communicate ideas effectively, and engage in community life.
- Students demonstrate the ability to link theory to practice by applying political science knowledge to actual problem-solving and community service.
Political Science (B.A.) — Minimum 40 units
Core Requirements (13 units)
|PLSI 200||American Politics||3|
|PLSI 250||Comparative Politics||3|
|PLSI 275||Introduction to Political Theory||3|
|PLSI 300||Scientific Inquiry in Political Science||4|
Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)
At least one upper-division writing-emphasis course in one of the breadth areas or as an elective. These are ordinary courses that emphasize writing skills, and are indicated with a GW suffix in the class schedule (e.g., the GWAR version of PLSI 418 is PLSI 418GW). A GWAR course counts as either a Breadth or Elective course.
Breadth Requirement (9-12 units)
Upper-division Political Science courses chosen to include at least one course in at least three of these four sub-fields:
1. American Politics
|PLSI 460||Topics in American Politics||4|
|PLSI 461||Voting Behavior, Campaigns, and Elections||4|
|PLSI 462||Applied Public Opinion Research||4|
|PLSI 463||The Politics of Immigration in the United States||4|
|PLSI 464||Race and American Politics||4|
|PLSI 465||Reason, Passion, and Political Behavior||4|
|PLSI 467||Politics and Community Organizing||4|
|PLSI 472||Civic and Political Engagement||4|
|PLSI 473||California Politics and Government||4|
|PLSI 475||San Francisco Political Issues||4|
|PLSI 477||Congress and the Presidency||4|
|PLSI 479||The United States Congress||4|
|PLSI 512||Urban Politics and Community Power||4|
2. Comparative Politics
|PLSI 328||Domestic and Foreign Policy: Post-Communist Regions||4|
|PLSI 403||Cases in Comparative Politics||4|
|PLSI 404||Politics of China||4|
|PLSI 406||Radical Right Politics: Far-Right Parties in Contemporary Europe||4|
|PLSI 407||Politics of Russia||4|
|PLSI 408||Mexican Politics and Society||3|
|PLSI 410||Middle East Politics||4|
|PLSI 411||East Asian Politics||4|
|PLSI 412||South Asian Politics||4|
|PLSI 415||Politics of India||4|
|PLSI 416||Ethnicity and Nationalism||4|
|PLSI 417||Gender, Equality, and Politics: A Comparative Perspective||4|
|PLSI 418||Political Transitions in East & Southeast Asia||4|
|PLSI 419||Comparative Political Economy||4|
|PLSI 420||State-Society Relations in the Middle East||4|
|PLSI 421||Social Movements in the Francophone World||3|
|PLSI 424||Social Movements||4|
|PLSI 425||Imagining Power in the Middle East||4|
|PLSI 431||Constructing Kurdistan||4|
|PLSI 435||Politics of Global Finance and Crisis||4|
3. Political Theory
|PLSI 351GW||Political Theory: The Classical Tradition - GWAR||4|
|PLSI 352||Political Theory: Reformation to Nineteenth Century||4|
|PLSI 353||Political Theory: The Twentieth Century||4|
|PLSI 354||Politics, the Environment and Social Change||4|
|PLSI 355||Politics and Ethics of the Consumer Society||3|
|PLSI 356||Political Theories of Neoliberalism||4|
|PLSI 357GW||Political Movements: Lessons from Freedom Summer - GWAR||4|
|PLSI 360||Development of American Political Thought||4|
|PLSI 371||Marxist Political Theory||4|
|PLSI 372||Critical Political Theory||4|
|PLSI 381||Political Theories of Sexuality||4|
|PLSI 382||Politics and Literature||4|
|PLSI 386||Introduction to Critical Social Thought||3|
|PLSI 387||Non Western Comparative Political Thought||4|
|PLSI 388||Politics and the Popular||4|
|PLSI 389||Latin American Revolutionary Societies||4|
|PLSI 392||Latin American Political Thought||4|
|PLSI 393||Anarchist Political Theory||4|
|PLSI 394||Political Theories of Work, Labor and Free Time||4|
|PLSI 396||Fascism and Communism in 20th Century Europe||4|
4. Public Law
|PLSI 478||Judicial Process||4|
|PLSI 552||Individual Rights and the Constitution||4|
|PLSI 553||Legal Issues||4|
|PLSI 555||Moot Court 1||4|
& PLSI 611
|Judicial and Legal Internship|
and Judicial and Legal Internship Seminar
Electives (8-11 units)
It is recommended that elective units be taken in Political Science. However, up to eight upper-division units may be selected from related departments with consent of a major advisor.
|PLSI 100||Understanding Politics||3|
|PLSI 105||Principles of Government and Politics||3|
|PLSI 106||Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy: Introduction to Political Economy||3|
|PLSI 150||Contemporary Moral/Political Issues||3|
|PLSI 276||Public Lecture Series in Politics||2|
|PLSI 320||Political Forum||2|
|PLSI 321||Development and Foreign Policy--Africa||4|
|PLSI 322||Latin American Policy Analysis||4|
|PLSI 325||Chinese Foreign Policy||4|
|PLSI 329||U.S.-Japan Politics||4|
|PLSI 342||Strategy and War||4|
|PLSI 362||Domestic & Transnational Sources of US Foreign Policy||4|
|PLSI 373||Essentials of California Politics||1|
|PLSI 395||Political Theories of Pedagogy and Community Activism||3|
|PLSI 430||Israeli Democracy: Politics, Institutions, and Society||3|
|PLSI 492||Research Methods||4|
|PLSI 493||Data Analysis||4|
|PLSI 500||Labor and Government||3|
|PLSI 544||Women in the World||4|
|PLSI 560||Urban Poverty and Policy||4|
|PLSI 570||Urban Health Policy||3|
|PLSI 580||Housing Policy and Planning||3|
|PLSI 660||The Roles of Nonprofit Organizations in Urban Life||3|
|PLSI 685||Projects in the Teaching of Political Science||1-4|
|PLSI 699||Independent Study||1-4|
Senior Seminar: Culminating Experience (3-4 units)
|PLSI 605||Senior Seminar: Student's Choice Empirical Research Project||4|
|PLSI 606||Senior Seminar in American Politics||3|
|PLSI 607||Senior Seminar in Comparative Politics||3|
|PLSI 608||Senior Seminar in Political Theory||3|
|PLSI 609||Senior Seminar in Public Law: Legal Issues||3|
|PLSI 612||Senior Seminar Study Abroad: At Beijing University 2||3|
Moot Court may be repeated once for credit, but only 4 units may be applied to the Breadth requirement.
Either a course that is taught by SF State political science faculty abroad or an equivalent study abroad course designated by an advisor.
Note: A minimum of 40 upper division units must be completed for the degree (including upper division units required for the major, general education, electives, etc.). A student can complete this major yet not attain the necessary number of upper division units required for graduation. In this case, additional upper division courses will be needed to reach the required total.
Twelve units of complementary studies are required of all candidates for the B.A. degree in Political Science. These units must come from courses bearing a prefix other than PLSI that are not cross-listed with Political Science. Students can satisfy this requirement by completing a related minor, a secondary major, or through an approved Study Abroad program.
Complementary Studies courses should have a direct bearing on the study of politics or deepen and enrich the study of politics. Such courses are typically found in departments like International Relations, Urban Studies and Planning, or Philosophy, and in the College of Ethnic Studies.
Eight of the twelve Complementary Studies units may count toward the major as elective units if approved in advance by a Political Science advisor. Students must consult with an advisor in the department to ensure that their choices fulfill the department’s requirements.
Courses from the following departments will be considered to be part of Complementary Studies for political science. Any minor automatically fulfills complementary studies and, depending on one’s emphasis, foreign languages can also fulfill complementary studies if they are associated with a focus on comparative politics and/or area studies.
American Indian Studies
Asian American Studies
Urban Studies and Planning
Women and Gender Studies
Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. Students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement in order to ensure degree completion within 60 units.
General Education Requirements
Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.
First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)
Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)
For students with an AA-T in Political Science. This roadmap opens in a new tab.
For students with an AA-T in Law, Public Policy and Society. This roadmap opens in a new tab.
This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Political Science
California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.
An ADT totals 60 units and includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.
Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.
Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.
A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:
- How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on award of a specific ADT;
- Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on award of a specific ADT;
- How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.
Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.
General Advising Information for Transfer Students
- Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
- The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
- a course in U.S. History
- a course in U.S. & California Government
- a 2nd-semester course in written English composition
For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit http://www.assist.org. Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:
- Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower division major requirements for this major, including 2nd-semester composition;
- Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government.
Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 units/90 quarters required for admission.
Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper division transfer (for example, if course was not passed on the first attempt, or was taken to earn a better grade).
Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.
Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.
Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division general education in areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. (This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.)
Transferring from institutions other than CCCs or CSUs
Review SF State's lower division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.
Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (GE A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit http://bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.
Identify and complete a 2nd-semester written English composition course before transfer. This is usually the next course after the typical “freshman comp” course, with a focus on writing, reading and critical analytical skills for academic purposes, and developing skills in composing, revising, and the use of rhetorical strategies.
Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.
All students must meet the transfer eligibility requirements outlined below for admission. For more information, visit the Undergraduate Admissions section.
- Complete 60 or more transferable semester units or 90 or more quarter units
- Earn a college grade point average of 2.00 or better in all transferable courses. Non-local area residents may be held to a higher GPA standard.
- Be in good standing at the last college or university attended
- Complete 30-semester units (45-quarter units) of general education, including four basic skills courses:
- One course in oral communication (same as CSU GE Area A1)
- One course in written composition (same as CSU GE Area A2)
- One course in critical thinking (same as CSU GE Area A3)
- One course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning (same as CSU GE Area B4)
- The four basic skills courses and a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90-quarter units) must be completed by the spring semester prior to fall admission, or by the fall semester prior to spring admission. Earn a "C-" or better grade in each basic skills course.