Political Science

Major Requirements (SF State Bulletin: Degree Requirements)

Roadmap (SF State Bulletin: Roadmap)

GE Requirements (SF State Bulletin: General Education)

Major Department Website

Your major advisor answered a few questions to assist you with your first semester courses — see below.

General Information

What are some of the highlights and features to know about this major?

We have four subfields: American politics, political theory, comparative politics, and public law. Students must take upper-division courses in at least three of the four subfields. Students may also take classes in public administration and the International Relations department to help fulfill some major requirements. As part of their capstone, students may study abroad or take a senior seminar in one of our main subfields. 


[click here to find subfield]

When should I first meet with my major department? As soon as the semester begins. We also hold a department orientation for new students early in the semester, as well as advising open houses each semester.
How will I be assigned to a major advisor, and how do I contact them? Each semester students are assigned a major advisor. Assignments are done by last name. You will receive an email telling you which advisor you are assigned to, and you may also find this online and in our department offices.  The student can look up the advisor’s office hours and go see him or her during that time. If you cannot attend that advisor's hours you may meet with any other advisor during their office hours.
Where can I find information about major advising?
Many places! First, carefully review the program requirements spelled out on our web site,
http://politicalscience.sfsu.edu/major. You can also find these requirements posted on our department wall. Second, meet with your advisor. Third, attend our department orientation and one of our advising open houses.
What should I do if my major core and/or prerequisite courses are full? You can first try emailing the instructor to see if you can get into their class. Please be forewarned that some instructors are inundated with requests and will not respond. Don't take it personally! You can also try attending that class in the first week of class to see if some students don't show up, opening up seats. If you still cannot get in, prioritize those classes the next semester.
Is there anything else I need to know about starting in this major?
  • All core classes and the GWAR require a C- or above to count for graduation.
  • Only 3 units of lower-division classes can count towards the PLSI electives. 
  • Take PLSI 300 as soon as you can, since it is required for some other important courses that can help you develop important skills in empirical research. 
  • We have several internship courses, PLSI 603/604 for general political internships, and a judicial internship, PLSI 610/611. These offer important opportunities for work experience related to the major.
  • The department has some scholarships and awards. Apply for them!

Transfer Student Info

What upper division courses should I take in my first semester as a transfer student for this major?

Take PLSI 300 and a GWAR class. Other than that, work on breadth courses. A breadth is any upper-division class on our list of breadth courses. Once you take a breadth course in one of our subfields, another course in that same subfield counts as an elective.


Are there any prerequisites to these upper division courses for the major?

PLSI 300 is a prerequisite for some upper-division courses. PLSI 478 is a prerequisite for some upper-division (but not all) classes in public law. If you're interested in public law, take 478 as early as possible.

Are there any registration blocks or holds in the system for this major, and if so, what do I do/who do I contact to clear them? None.
Is there any pre-work that a student will need to complete with the department prior to orientation and registering for courses? No.
Is there an approved ADT (Associate Degree for Transfer) roadmap for the major?

Yes, Political Science (AA-T).

[ Click here for ADT roadmap ]

Freshmen Student Info

Are there any courses I should take first as a Freshman to get started in this major and/or are there any lower division GE course requirements that I can take that will also count toward this major? We suggest that students take the three core courses, PLSI 200 (Introduction to American Politics), PLSI 250 (Introduction to Comparative Politics) and PLSI 275 (Introduction to Political Theory) in their first or second year.
They might also want to consider taking the final core course, PLSI 300 Scientific Inquiry either at the end of their sophomore year or the beginning of their junior year.
Are there entry or prerequisite requirements for these Freshmen courses?


Can any of my AP or IB tests count toward requirements in this major?


AP U.S. Government will waive PLS 200 (please note: does not fulfill CA State/Local Government requirement).

AP Comparative Government will waive PLSI 250.

For additional information on AP test scores please click here: https://ueap.sfsu.edu/sites/default/files/assets/docs/artic_docs/AP_Credit_curr.pdf

College of Liberal & Creative Arts Advising Resource Center (ARC)

Services provided for: Undergraduate students pursuing a major, minor or certificate in the College of Liberal and Creative Arts.

Services offered: Academic planning, general education advising, academic probation advising, petition consultation, career prep and planning, major career exploration, graduation check (GE and graduation requirements), study abroad, connecting with communities and discovering campus resources.

Phone: (415) 338-1486
Website: advisinglca.sfsu.edu
Email: achieve@sfsu.edu
Location: HUM 112