Political Science


Bachelors of Arts in Political Science

The Bachelors (BA) Degree in Political Science will develop knowledge of American political institutions, world politics, political theory, public administration, and policy.  Our students learn to analyze, interpret, and explain political phenomena through the lens, and with the methods, of a political scientist.  Our integrated curriculum challenges students to develop their critical thinking, communication, and research skills, preparing our graduates for citizenship and leadership, post-graduate study and diverse employment possibilities.  Political Science is an excellent background for students preparing for degrees in government, politics, civil society, the law, and the private sector.

As a Political Science major, you will construct an individualized course of study drawing on our rich curriculum, internship program, complimentary majors and minors, and study abroad opportunities. Students will take a lower division foundation block of five courses that introduces them to the sub-fields of Political Science and their modes of inquiry.  After completion of the five-class foundation block, students individualize their course of study while fulfilling their upper division coursework requirements and a research design class.  

Requirements for a degree in Political Science include:

  1. Completion of five Political Science lower division foundation courses;
  2. Completion of seven Political Science upper division courses;
  3. Completion of PSCI 390R-Research Methods in Political Science your Junior year;
  4. Completion of MSU general graduation requirements of 120 credits, including 42 upper division credits, and the MSU core.

*All Major requirements must be completed with a grade of "C" or better


Before a Political Science Major may enroll in any upper division course, the student is expected to have achieved a grade of “C” or better in the five Political Science foundation courses.

First: Take all of the following lower division foundation courses:

PSCI 201-Scope and Methods of Political Science-Fall Only 
PSCI 210IS-Introduction to American Government
PSCI 230D-Introduction to International Relations
PSCI 240-Introduction to Public Administration-Spring Only
PSCI 250-Introduction to Political Theory-Fall Only 

Second: Take seven of the following upper division courses:

PSCI 302-Media and Politics
PSCI 306-Legislative Process
PSCI 323-Modern Political Thought
PSCI 331-International Relations Theory
PSCI 337-Model United Nations
PSCI 338-Comparative Politics
PSCI 341-Political Parties and Elections
PSCI 346-American Presidency
PSCI 353-British Politics
PSCI 354-Contemporary Issues in Political Theory
PSCI 356-Classical Political Thought
PSCI 362-Natural Resource Policy
PSCI 407-Public Policy Analysis
PSCI 418-The Politics of War and Peace
PSCI 423-The Politics of Developing Countries
PSCI 434-International Law
PSCI 436-The Politics of Food and Hunger
PSCI 437-International Political Economy
PSCI 439-International Human Rights
PSCI 444-Congressional Campaigns
PSCI 451-State and Local Government
PSCI 454-Cinema and Political Thought
PSCI 455-Politics and Virtue
PSCI 461-Administrative Law
PSCI 465-Public Administration and Policy
PSCI 471-American Constitutional Law
PSCI 491-National Security Policy

Third: Take your Senior Research Methods class

PSCI 390R-Research Methods in Political Science

Political Science Non-Teaching Minor

To earn a Political Science Non-Teaching Minor, a minimum of 21 credit hours are required, with 9 credits from upper division classes, 300-level and above.

PSCI 201Scope and Methods of Political Science3
PSCI 210ISIntroduction to American Government3
PSCI 230DIntroduction to International Relations3
PSCI 240Introduction to Public Administration3
PSCI 250Introduction to Political Theory3
3 upper division Political Science classes 300- or 400- level (Internships not included)
Total Credits21

For previous catalog years and curriculum's, please click here.  Please reach out to the department at either politicalscience@montana.edu or (406) 994-4141 for more information or questions.

Undergraduate Curriculum in Political Science

Freshman YearCredits
PSCI 201 - Scope and Methods of Political Science3
PSCI 210IS - Introduction to American Government3
PSCI 230D - Introduction to International Relations3
PSCI 240 - Introduction to Public Administration3
PSCI 250 - Introduction to Political Theory3
WRIT 101W - College Writing I3
CLS 101US - Knowledge and Community
or US 101US - First Year Seminar
M 105Q - Contemporary Mathematics (formerly M 145Q, Math for Liberal Arts)
or M 121Q - College Algebra
University Core6
Year Total: 30
Sophomore YearCredits
Remaining PSCI Foundation and/or University CORE12
Three PSCI Upper Division Courses9
PSCI 498-Internship and/or remaining electives, minor, double major requirements9
Year Total: 30
Junior YearCredits
Four PSCI Upper Division Courses12
PSCI 390R - Research Methods3
Remaining PSCI Electives and/or University CORE9
PSCI 498-Internship and/or remaining electives, minor, double major requirements6
Year Total: 30
Senior YearCredits
PSCI 498-Internship and/or remaining electives, minor, double major requirements30
Year Total: 30
Total Program Credits: 120

A minimum of 120 credits is required for graduation; 42 of these credits must be in courses numbered 300 and above. No political science course may be counted in more than one upper division sub-field requirement.  Political science majors must fulfill Social Science Inquiry (IS) and Diversity (D) University Core requirements outside of the PSCI rubric. Before a political science major may enroll in any upper division political science course, the student must have achieved a grade of "C" or better in all lower division courses required for the political science major. To be credited toward graduation, a student must earn a "C" or better in any upper division political science course required for the major.

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree is a professional degree designed to prepare both pre- and mid-career professionals and administrators for supervisory, analytical support and policy-making positions in public sector agencies, and non-profit organizations, at local, state and federal levels. The program stresses sound preparation in wide range of administrative competencies. MPA coursework includes studies in public administration theory, human resource management, public budgeting, leadership, ethics, organization dynamics, and research methods for public administrators. Information on this program can be found at the MPA Graduate Program page.