Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
- At least 28 units for the major must be from upper-division courses (300–699).
- Only three lower-division units may be counted towards the PLSI electives requirement. All other PLSI electives must be upper-division classes (300-level or above).
- For a course to count towards the Political Science major, students must earn a grade of C- or better in all core, breadth, and culminating experience courses.
- Political Science majors may take up to four units of political science coursework as credit no credit (CR/NC), as long as those units are part of their electives. All PLSI courses other than electives must be taken for a letter grade (i.e., A-, B, C+, etc.)
- The GWAR (writing-emphasis) course must be taken in the Political Science Department, even if a student has completed a GWAR course in another department.
- Students who want to do an independent study/special study must arrange it with faculty, submit a Petition for Course by Individual Study (PLSI 699) form, and have at least a 3.0 grade-point average. Independent Study units count only as electives.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Demonstrate knowledge of the American political system, comparative knowledge of diverse political systems and dynamics around the world, and of a variety of theoretical traditions from different cultures and societies.
- Demonstrate critical thinking skills and proficiency in expressing complex ideas and arguments through writing, proficiency in political research and analysis, an ability to conduct basic empirical analysis in political topics, and an ability to do textual exegesis in written work.
- In their senior culminating experience, students demonstrate an ability to develop thoughtful and persuasive research projects of their own in an area of political science.
- Demonstrate citizenship skills, including an ability to appreciate human diversity, communicate ideas effectively, engage in community life, and link theory to practice by applying political science knowledge to actual problem-solving and community service.
Political Science (B.A.) – 42 units
Core Requirements (19 units)
|PLSI 200||Introduction to American Politics||3|
|PLSI 250||Comparative Politics||3|
|PLSI 275||Introduction to Political Theory||3|
|PLSI 302GW||Writing for Political Science - GWAR||4|
|PLSI 303||Fundamentals of Political Science||2|
|PLSI 304||Scientific Inquiry in Political Science||4|
Breadth Requirement (10-12 units)
Upper-division Political Science courses selected to include at least one course in three of the four sub-fields:
1. American Politics
|PLSI 460||Topics in American Politics 1||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 468||Women and American Politics||4|
|PLSI 470||The Politics of Sex and Reproduction||4|
|PLSI 472||Civic and Political Engagement||4|
|PLSI 473||California Politics and Government||4|
|PLSI 475||San Francisco Political Issues||4|
|PLSI 476||The American Presidency||4|
|PLSI 477||Congress and the Presidency||4|
|PLSI 479||The United States Congress||4|
|PLSI 512||Urban Politics and Community Power||4|
& PLSI 604
|Public Service Internships|
and Internship Seminar
2. Comparative Politics
|PLSI 307||Qualitative Methods in Political Science and International Relations||4|
|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 409||Russia and World Order||4|
|PLSI 410||Middle East Politics||4|
|PLSI 411||East Asian Politics||4|
|PLSI 412||South Asian Politics||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 422||Law and Courts in Comparative Perspective||4|
|PLSI 424||Social Movements||4|
|PLSI 425||Imagining Power in the Middle East||4|
|PLSI 431||Constructing Kurdistan||4|
|PLSI 459||Refugees in Global Perspective||4|
3. Political Theory
|PLSI 309||Methods and Approaches in Political Theory||4|
|PLSI 351||Political Theory: The Classical Tradition||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 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 308||Research and Writing for Public Law||4|
|PLSI 478||Judicial Process||4|
|PLSI 481||Race and Public Law||4|
|PLSI 552||Individual Rights and the Constitution||4|
|PLSI 553||Legal Issues||4|
|PLSI 554||Separation of Powers and Federalism||4|
|PLSI 555||Moot Court 2||4|
|PLSI 556||Constitutional Law: First Amendment||4|
|PLSI 557||Constitutional Law: The Fourteenth Amendment||4|
& PLSI 611
|Judicial and Legal Internship|
and Judicial and Legal Internship Seminar
Electives (7-10 units)
Select enough to reach 42 units for the major. It is recommended that elective units be taken in Political Science. However, up to 4 upper-division units may be selected from closely related departments with the consent of a major advisor. Please note that only 3 units of electives can come from lower-division coursework.
|MEIS 300||Foundations in Middle East and Islamic Studies||3|
|GEOG/USP 433||Urban Transportation||4|
|GEOG/I R 445||Geopolitics and Globalization||3|
|GEOG/USP 658||Land-Use Planning||4|
|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/PHIL 150||Contemporary Moral/Political Issues||3|
|PLSI 216||The 2020 Presidential Election: Issues and Analysis||2|
|PLSI 318||Modern Citizenship: Pundits, Podcasts, and Political Know-How in the 21st Century||2|
|PLSI 320||Political Forum||2|
|PLSI/I R 321||Development and Foreign Policy: Africa||4|
|PLSI/I R 322||Latin American Policy Analysis||4|
|PLSI/I R 325||Chinese Foreign Policy||4|
|PLSI/I R 329||U.S.-Japan Politics||4|
|PLSI/I R 342||Strategy and War||4|
|PLSI/I R 362||Domestic & Transnational Sources of U.S. Foreign Policy||4|
|PLSI 373||Essentials of California Politics||1|
|PLSI 395||Political Theories of Pedagogy and Community Activism||3|
|PLSI/I R/JS 430||Israeli Democracy: Politics, Institutions, and Society||3|
|PLSI/USP 492||Research Methods||4|
|PLSI/USP 493||Data Analysis||4|
|PLSI/LABR 500||Labor and Government||3|
|PLSI/I R 544||Women in the World||4|
|PLSI/USP 560||Urban Poverty and Policy||4|
|PLSI/LABR/USP 570||Urban Health Policy||3|
|PLSI/USP 580||Housing Policy and Planning||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|
This course is a variable topic course and may be taken more than once for credit. If taken more than once, any additional semesters count towards the Political Science Electives.
Moot Court may be repeated once for credit, but only 4 units may be applied to the Breadth requirement.
Note: A minimum of 30 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. in Political Science. These units may come from any courses bearing a prefix other than PLSI that are not cross-listed with Political Science.
General Education Requirements
|Requirement||Course Level||Units||Area Designation|
|Written English Communication I||LD||3||A2|
|Arts or Humanities||LD||3||C1 or C2|
|Social Sciences: US History||LD||3||D2|
|Social Sciences: US & CA Government||LD||3||D3|
|Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD)||LD||3||E|
|Physical and/or Life Science||UD||3||UD-B|
|Arts and/or Humanities||UD||3||UD-C|
|SF State Studies|
|Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.|
|American Ethnic and Racial Minorities||LD or UD||3||AERM|
|Environmental Sustainability||LD or UD||3||ES|
|Global Perspectives||LD or UD||3||GP|
|Social Justice||LD or UD||3||SJ|
Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.
First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)
Find the correct roadmap (A, B, C, or D):
- Select the row that matches your English Course choice for A2.*
- Select the column that matches your QR Category (found at your student center under Math Alert).
- Click the Roadmap that lines up with your row and column.
For example, if you are taking ENG 104 as your first English course and your student center math alert says you are QR Category III, you should choose Roadmap D.
|Pathway||QR Cat I/II||QR Cat III/IV|
|ENG 114||Roadmap A||Roadmap C|
|ENG 104/ENG 105||Roadmap B||Roadmap D|
SF State Scholars
The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.
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 in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) 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 the award of a specific ADT;
- Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the 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
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;
- Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.
Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units 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 a 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 (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 bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.
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 2.0 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.