Political Science

Political Science examines the institutions that govern our societies and the policy decisions that affect every part of our lives. At RWU, you’ll sharpen your thinking, writing and debate skills in classes such as American politics, international relations, comparative politics, political theory and public administration. Combined with real-world internship experience -- locally and in Washington, D.C. -- you’ll be prepared for a career in law, business, public policy or education.

Degree Requirements

The Political Science Major

Click to Open

Majors pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in political science must satisfy University Core Curriculum requirements and the College speech requirement, COMM 210. In addition, majors must complete three political science foundation courses; nine advanced courses, with at least four each from the American National Politics/Political Theory category and the International Relations/Comparative Politics category; plus a two-course research sequence in political science; plus a sufficient number of general electives to total 120 credits. Majors are encouraged to apply electives toward a minor or second major.

The three courses listed below are required of all majors and are prerequisites for advanced courses in the relevant subfields.

POLSC100American Government and Politics
POLSC110The United States in World Affairs
POLSC120Comparative Politics

Nine other political science courses are also required. At least four must be completed from each of the following two categories.

American National Politics

POLSC200The Constitution and American Politics
POLSC202Congress and the Legislative Process
POLSC203The American Presidency
POLSC260Public Administration
POLSC301Campaigns and Elections
POLSC302Political Parties and Interest Groups
POLSC303Politics and the Media
POLSC304Public Opinion
POLSC305Judicial Politics
POLSC307Gender in American Politics
POLSC308Race and Ethnicity in American Politics
POLSC309Film and Politics
POLSC350Political Theory
POLSC361State and Local Government
POLSC362Urban Politics
POLSC375Health Policy
POLSC380Public Policy
POLSC383Global Environmental Politics
POLSC400Washington Internship
POLSC401Washington Public Policy Seminar
POLSC402Washington Independent Research Project
POLSC430Special Topics (American National Politics or Political Theory topic)
POLSC440Independent Research Project

International Relations/Comparative Politics/Political Theory

POLSC210International Relations
POLSC212Model United Nations
POLSC215Strategy and National Security Policy
POLSC221Comparative Politics in the Third World
POLSC309Film and Politics
POLSC321Politics and Ethnic Conflict
POLSC325Modern European Politics
POLSC326Post-Communist World
POLSC327Politics of the Middle East
POLSC328Politics of Latin America
POLSC330Revolution and Social Change
POLSC335International Negotiation
POLSC340International Political Economy
POLSC345Rich States, Poor States
POLSC346Foreign Policies of Russia and China
POLSC348Rogue States, Allies, and Regional Powers
POLSC350Political Theory
POLSC383Global Environmental Politics
POLSC386International Law and Organization
POLSC390Globalization and its Critics
POLSC428Mexican Politics
POLSC429Cultures in Contact: Mexico Today
POLSC430Special Topics (International Relations or Comparative Politics topic)
POLSC440Independent Research Project


a two course research sequence – examining in depth a topic chosen by the student – completes the major:

POLSC240Research Methods in Political Science
POLSC442Senior Research Seminar

The Political Science Minor

Click to Open
POLSC100American Government and Politics
One of the following:
POLSC110The United States in World Affairs
POLSC120Comparative Politics


Any four (4) upper-level courses provided that at least one of these is from the American National Politics category and one is from the International Relations/Comparative Politics category.

To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.

Internship Opportunities

(partial list)

  • Washington, D.C. – Various sites
  • Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut — State and Local Governments
  • Law Firms, Corporations, and Non-Profit Organizations

Research Projects

(partial list)

  • Plastic Bag Ban in Barrington, RI
  • Collaborative RI projects including Regional Competitiveness, Municipal Bankruptcy
  • Bristol and Warren Community Needs Assessment
  • Gender and Gubernatorial Appointments
  • Presidential Election Exit Polling
  • Model United Nations
  • Model Arab League


(partial list)

  • Accenture
  • City of Providence
  • City of Central Falls
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • US House and Senate (staff)
  • US Marine Corps
  • DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery
  • NASCAR Corporate
  • Northeastern University
  • Powell Tate Consulting

Graduate Study

(partial list)

  • American University
  • George Washington University
  • New York University
  • London School of Economics
  • Duke University School of Law
  • University of Virginia School of Law
  • University of Michigan School of Law
  • Roger Williams University School of Law
  • American University School of Law
A headshot of Sarah Wood

Choosing Her Own Path

Sarah Wood, RWU Class of 2019
Political Science

One of the things Sarah Wood, an Honors Program member who was also recently named to the National Political Science Honor Society, enjoys most about RWU is the flexibility and guidance the university provides to create her own path.

Read full story