Undergraduate Requirements

Applying to the Major

Minimum Admission Requirements:

  • Three political science introductory courses (POL S 101, 201, 202, 203, 204 or 205 or approved equivalent), with completion of at least two courses and enrollment and attendance in the final course prior to applying to the major. If more than one course is in progress, consult with a Political Science adviser about when you are eligible to apply for the major.
  • Grades of at least 2.0 in each political science introductory course used towards admission.
  • 2.0 cumulative GPA or better.

    Students who are already in a major and have circumstances like satisfactory progress issues may have additional requirements and should meet with a Pol S adviser

    To Apply to the Major:

    Complete the online Political Science Major Application, due by the 2nd Friday of each quarter and available on the following dates:

       Spring 2015 Application: March 1 to April 10

       Summer 2015 Application: June 1 to July 3

       Autumn 2015 Application: August 1 to October 9

       Winter 2016 Application: December 1 to January 15

  • Applicants will be notified if they meet major entry requirements by the 4th week of the quarter of admission.

    To Complete Entry to the Major:

  • Required: Attend a New Majors Information Session, held in Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters from Week 5 to Week 7 (sign-up information will be emailed to all admitted students). After attending the session, students will be added to the major and will have registration priority for courses restricted to
    Pol S majors.
  • Recommended: After the information session, make an appointment to meet with a Political Science adviser to review remaining requirements for your degree and discuss your goals for your study of political science and your
    education at UW.

    Political Science Major

    Students must complete at least 50 credits, 15 introductory plus 35 upper-level credits as follows:

    Major Distribution Requirement: 3 Courses (15 Credits)

    Complete one course numbered Pol S 210 and above in three of the following four fields

    A. Political Theory

    B. Comparative Government and Politics

    C. International Relations

    D. American Government and Politics

    Major Elective Requirement: 4 Courses (20 credits)

    Complete four additional courses numbered Pol S 210 and above. No field restriction. Independent studies and internships (e.g., Pol S 496, 498, 499) do not count toward the major. 5 credits of Pol S 497 will count toward the major.

    Click here for our handout about the major, including resources and programs for political science majors, a worksheet with requirements for the major and the options, and a list of courses and how they count for the Field Distribution requirement.

    Minimum G.P.A

    In addition to the above courses, students need a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.25 in political science courses at graduation and a minimum grade of 2.0 required in each political science course taken to fulfill requirements for the major. If your cumulative political science GPA has dropped below 2.25, an advisor can tell you about your future grades need to be to bring it up to the minimum.

    Transfer Credit

    If you are a transfer student, at least 10 credits (2 courses) in political science need to be taken in residence at the University of Washington.

    See the Political Science Major Information handout for more information about departmental resources and programs, worksheets for major requirements, worksheets for the Political Economy and International Security Options, and the list of Pol S courses and their field distribution categories.

    Political Science Minor

    To apply, students must have the following:
    -a declared major
    -a minimum of 45 credits overall (sophomore standing)
    -a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher 

    Contact your major adviser to declare the Pol S minor. 

    Requirements for the Political Science minor (30 credits total)

    - 5 credits of an introductory Pol S course (Pol S 101, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205 or equivalent)
    - 25 credits of upper-division Pol S courses numbered 210 and above (Pol S 496, 497B, 498, and 499 do not count towards the minor.  Five credits of Pol S 497A will count towards the minor.)
    - 2.0 cumulative GPA in the minor
    - 15 credits of Pol S courses taken at UW

    For a description of political science courses, visit http://www.washington.edu/students/crscat/polisci.html.

    If you have any questions about the minor requirements, please contact us by email (polsadvc@uw.edu) or stop by our office in 215 Smith Hall.

    Phi Beta Kappa

    All undergraduate students in the University who have a distinguished scholastic record and who meet the requirements of a “liberal education” qualify for election as members of the Washington Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Requirements for election are: a 3.75 GPA, an upper division “liberal” course requirement of 8 credits (courses at the 300-level or above which are not closely related to the student’s major), and a University residency requirement. For complete and up-to-date information consult the chapter’s home page: http://depts.washington.edu/uwpbk/.

    How to apply for Graduation

    You may apply to graduate by signing up for an appointment with a political science adviser in the appointment book located reception area in the Advising Office in Smith 215.  You do not need to bring anything in to your appointment. Your adviser will fill out and sign the necessary paperwork with you during your appointment.

    Application Deadlines

    You should apply for graduation about three quarters before you hope to graduate. A rule of thumb is that when you have earned 135 credits, you should come by to apply for graduation. If you want Graduating Senior Priority (GSP) you must apply by the GSP deadline, which is posted in the Time Schedule for each quarter and is two working days before registration begins. By applying by the GSP deadline, you will receive two quarters of graduating senior priority for registration. Although not recommended, the last moment to apply for graduation is by the third week of the quarter in which you hope to graduate.

    Changing Your Graduation Date

    If you need to change your graduation date from the one listed on this application, visit the Advising Office and let an adviser know that you wish to change your graduation date. We will not change graduation dates over the telephone. Some of the consequences of forgetting to contact us to officially change your graduation date are:

    • If you meet the requirements for graduation, your degree will be posted on your transcript. Once a degree is posted, you cannot later add a second major or minor. Only under very special circumstances can you come back for a second bachelors degree, which requires a minimum of 45 additional credits. The University will not rescind your degree once it is posted, so that you can add a second major or minor.
    • If you do not meet the graduation requirements by the date on your graduation application no one will know when you hope to graduate. Even if you do finish the requirements, you will have no degree.
    Double Majors, Double Degrees, and Minors

    If you are pursuing a double major, double degree, or minor, you should let your adviser know during your graduation appointment. A double degree (225 credits) requires two separate graduation applications submitted by each department. A double major or a minor is noted on a single graduation application. If you are completing the requirements for a double major or minor but it is not noted on the application, you will likely graduate from the University of Washington without your double major or minor. If a second major or minor is noted on the application, then you decide not to complete it, the University will assume you just haven't completed the remaining requirements and you will be taken off the graduation list and will not graduate. Therefore it is very important that you keep your adviser informed of any changes in your major(s) or minor(s). If you initiate any changes after the graduation application has been submitted, your adviser will have to fill out and you will have to sign a change of major/minor form and you may also have to sign a new graduation application. All changes must be completed by the third week of the quarter in which you hope to graduate.

    The Graduation Ceremony

    Going through the graduation ceremony does not mean that you have graduated or have a degree in anything. Spring and Summer graduates must apply for graduation by the third week of Spring Quarter to participate in the ceremony. You may go through the ceremony if you are graduating in August, if you apply for graduation by this deadline and have 15 or fewer credits left to finish your degree. Otherwise, you will need to wait until the next year's ceremony. If you are an August graduate with credits to finish, your name will not be in the program, but will appear in the following year's program. Students graduating in August, December, March, June, and August (with 15 or fewer credits left) can all go through the ceremony. In April the Graduation Office will send you information on how to sign up for the ceremony and how to arrange for a cap and gown. Always be sure that your mailing address is correct in the University database so that you will receive this mailing and others. This information is also made available by the Commencement Office on their website: http://depts.washington.edu/commence.

    Your Diploma

    Your diploma will be sent to you about three months after your graduation date. Your degree will be posted on your transcript about three weeks after your last quarter's grades come in. If your last quarter's grades are delayed, you may not get your degree.