University Bulletin 2022-23

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Minor in Political Science

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If a minor is required in your degree program, at least 9 (lower and/or upper-division) hours of courses in the minor must be completed at the University.

Requirements For A Minor In Political Science

For a minor in political science a student must take a minimum of 18 semester hours in political science, of which 6 hours are required including PSC 130, and either PSC 250 or PSC 270, and 12 hours of 300/400 level PSC electives.  PSC 130 is a prerequisite to most upper-level PSC courses, and a minimum grade of C is required in PSC 130 for the PSC minor.

Political Science Minor Credit Hours
Requirements   18
PSC 130 3 hrs  
PSC 250 or PSC 270 3 hrs  
300/400 level PSC electives 12 hrs  

Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice website

Undergraduate Studies

The courses offered in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice are designed to achieve three important objectives:

  1. To provide a broad and comprehensive education with exceptional social science training---promoting critical thinking, analytic, oral communication, and writing skills.  
  2. To help students advance toward professional careers in a diversity of fields including law enforcement; education; government; law; corrections; public policy; business; journalism; NGOs and non-profits; and more.
  3. To prepare students to be leaders in their communities and to seize meaningful opportunities to effect positive changes locally, nationally, and globally.

Criminal Justice

The curriculum in Criminal Justice provides students interested in law enforcement, criminal law, corrections, and the criminal court system with a broad educational background emphasizing social science and the University's general education skills of critical thinking, writing, communication, and analysis. Students in the department acquire knowledge of the criminal justice field. The program addresses issues relating to the entire criminal justice system, from the nature of crime and delinquency to society's varied responses to crime. Such a focus includes the organization and operation of each of the components in the field.

Political Science

Political Science is a broad discipline that includes  studies of governments, politics, and policies. Political scientists may focus on political behavior, decision making, processes, institutions, and public policies. Inquiry in political science addresses the domestic and international policies of the United States and all other countries and regions. Political scientists study the political values, attachments, and activities of people, individually and in groups. Political science examines both what preferences people share and how they differ according to their personal attributes and positions in the economy and society. Political science also studies how people regard and trust each other as well as their leaders and governments. 

First Year Experience Requirement

All first-time freshmen must successfully complete CAS 100: First Year Experience as a degree requirement. Students must enroll during their first term at USA, except for summer-entry students who must enroll in the fall semester following entry.

Technological Competency Requirement

Research Methods (PSC 310 (W)/CJ 310 (W)) will satisfy the technology competency requirement for both political science and criminal justice majors.  Enrollment in PSC 310 (W) or CJ 310 (W) is required for both political science and criminal justice majors.

Departmental Honors

The Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice offers an opportunity for students in Political Science or Criminal Justice who are not in the University's Honors College to graduate with departmental honors. In order to graduate with departmental honors, the student needs to have at least a 3.50 grade point average (overall and in the major) and maintain that average upon graduation. In addition, the student must complete a two-semester departmental honors thesis project with a faculty mentor and a committee.

Graduate Studies in Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration degree (MPA) curriculum in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is a professional degree program designed principally for present and future administrators, officers in government, other public related organizations, not for profit agencies, and agencies that interact with governmental institutions and funding. It is a broad discipline, open to qualified students after completion of their undergraduate degree. 

Students entering the program come from varied academic and vocational backgrounds. Accordingly, no specific undergraduate major is required for admission to the MPA Program. However, certain course prerequisites must be satisfied prior to enrollment in any of the required core courses of the curriculum.

Requirements For Admission to the MPA Program

Students are admitted each semester. The following criteria supplement the Graduate School criteria (see Categories of Admission).

Regular Admission to the MPA Program

  1. Students must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 on all undergraduate work (on a 4-point scale) or a GPA of 2.75 over the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.
  2. Students must have taken PSC 130, Introduction to US Government, or its equivalent, with a minimum grade of C; or have received a score of 50 or higher in the “American Government” exam through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). Students must satisfy this requirement no later than the end of their third semester in the program, including summer semesters. Failure to complete the requirement of PSC 130/its equivalent/satisfactory CLEP credit by the end of the third semester will prohibit registration for remaining core curriculum MPA courses. 
  3. Students are encouraged to apply in the fall semester, but are admitted each semester.