Courses and Curriculum

Your academic experience at Northeastern includes coursework in the Department of Political Science as well as courses in other departments in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities or other colleges at the university. Additionally, experiential education, whether through cooperative education, study abroad, or a designated political science course, is an important part of your undergraduate studies.  This page of our website includes the following information that should help you, as an undergraduate student, in planning your course work at Northeastern.

Political Science Courses

The undergraduate curriculum in political science includes a challenging and comprehensive program of academic coursework and experiential learning. As a Political Science major, you establish a foundation of knowledge in the discipline through six core courses in American government, comparative politics, international relations, political thought, research methods, and statistics.

Building upon these courses, you select a number of elective courses offered each semester by Political Science faculty. You may choose any electives within the department, or you may focus four of your electives in one of three sub-fields to complete a concentration:

  • International relations and comparative politics
  • Law and legal issues
  • Public policy and administration

Finally, your coursework in the department concludes with a capstone course as a final opportunity to bring together classroom learning and experiential activities.

The numbering for undergraduate courses in the department begins with the departmental prefix of POLS, then a four-digit number for the specific course. POLS 1150, for example, is the designation for Introduction to American Government. Courses are numbered using the university’s convention of 1000- 2000 for introductory courses, 3000 for intermediate courses, and 4000 for advanced courses. Internships and directed studies are numbered at the 4900 level.

See the website of the Office of the University Registrar for a complete list of Political Science undergraduate courses and their descriptions. Course offerings in Political Science for the current and recent academic terms can be viewed online

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science Options

In designing your undergraduate program, you have two different degree options: Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS). In comparing the two degrees, the BA includes a smaller number of Political Science electives – six instead of eight – but a larger number of courses, including a foreign language requirement, in the Northeastern University Core. You are encouraged to talk to an advisor about which degree best fits your academic goals.

A more detailed description of the BA and BS requirements is available in the Northeastern Catalog on the website of the Office of the University Registrar. See our Advising Worksheet for a one-page overview of the curriculum. In addition, to help track your progress in meeting degree requirements, you are encouraged to review your academic report in the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS). This system is accessible through

Combined Majors in Political Science

The Department of Political Science offers three combined majors (formerly called dual majors) in cooperation with other departments and programs on campus. Unlike a double major, in which a student completes all of the requirements of two majors, a combined major involves a shorter set of course requirements agreed upon by two different departments or programs. The three combined majors are:

  • Political Science and Business Administration
  • Political Science and Communications
  • Political Science and Economics
  • Political Science and International Affairs
  • Political Science and Earth and Environmental Sciences

Political Science Minor

Minors in Political Science must complete two of the following courses – American Government; Comparative Politics, or International Relations – as well as three electives in the department.

Other Courses in the College and University

Beyond the Political Science department, your undergraduate program also includes coursework in other departments in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities as well as general electives. Students also must complete NU core courses  from various options across the university. These will enable you to develop basic writing and mathematical skills, and expose you to the breadth of academic fields in the liberal arts. Finally, some students use their elective courses to complete a minor in another department or even a second major.

Experiential Education

Experiential education is an important part of your undergraduate studies. Whether through cooperative education, study abroad, or a designated Political Science course, experiential education integrates classroom learning with in-the-field activities or simulations to provide a broader and more enriched academic experience. Please visit the Experiential Opportunities section of this website for more detailed information on this requirement.

Note to Students

The material on our site is for information purposes only, official university policy is maintained in the catalog which takes precedence.