Undergraduate Requirements

How to apply for admission

You may apply for admission to the Department of Political Science anytime during any quarter. It is to your advantage, however, to apply during the first three weeks of any quarter so that you will be listed in the student database as a political science major in time for next quarter's registration. As a political science major, you will have priority for registering for upper division major courses during Period 1 registration.

Political Science admission requirements include a 2.0 Cumulative G.P.A., sophomore standing, (45 or more credits completed at the time you apply) and completion of three introductory political science courses with a grade of 2.0 or better in each course. You need to have completed at least two introductory courses and be attending one other introductory course before you are eligible to apply to the department.

To apply to the department:
  1. Pick up an application from the Political Science Undergraduate Advising Office, located in Smith 215 OR Download and print the application from this site: PolSUgradMajorApp.pdf. Note: This option requires that you use Acrobat Reader.

  2. Make an appointment with an undergraduate advisor. During the admission appointment, an advisor will go over your application and evaluate your credits for departmental and university requirements.
  3. When you return for your appointment, bring your advising file and the completed application. If you are a premajor, you can find your advising file at the Undergraduate Advising Office, in Mary Gates Hall. If you have a major and are adding Political Science as a second major or are changing majors, your file will be in your current major's advising office. Your file should contain copies of all transcripts.

Political Science Major

A political science undergraduate degree requires a minimum of 50 credits of political science coursework. You will need to take 15 of the 50 credits in the following introductory courses (5 credits each):

  • POL S 101 Introduction to Politics
  • POL S 201 Political Theory
  • POL S 202 American Politics
  • POL S 203 International Relations
  • POL S 204 Comparative Politics
  • POL S 205 Political Science as a Social Science

Upper division courses in political science are numbered 210 and above. Upper division coursework is broken down into five subfields, and political science majors must take courses in at least three subfields. A minimum of 35 credits of upper division coursework must be completed for the degree. You can click on a subfield for more information:

  1. Political Theory
  2. Comparative Politics
  3. International Relations
  4. American Government and Politics
  5. Political Methodology

Your final four courses are upper division electives (20 or more units), from political science courses, but these electives cannot be internship or independent study credits. You may register for internship and independent study credits, however, in addition to the 50 credits of required coursework.

Minimum G.P.A

In addition to the above courses, minimum cumulative GPA of 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 you receive a 2.2 or lower in any of your political science courses, drop by the undergraduate advising office in Smith 215 to see an advisor to find out your cumulative GPA. If your cumulative political science GPA has dropped below 2.25, an advisor can tell you what 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.



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.