College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Lower-Division Coursework (33 Units)

By the time our students graduate from our program, they are expected to become well-immersed in the subfields of political science. We encourage and recommend students to begin the work in the major by enrolling the introductory course to the major (PLS 1011) in their first semester at Cal Poly Pomona. Freshmen should aim to complete most of these lower-division courses by the end of Year 2. Transfers should aim to complete most of these lower-division courses by the end of Year 1.

Should you have additional questions, please consult the 2018-2019 Catalog, the 2018-2019 Political Science Curriculum Sheet, the 2018-2019 Road Maps (Freshman) (Transfer), or contact your advisor in the department. 

What classes do I need to take?

To complete your lower-division courses, also called your core courses, you need to enroll in 9 classes. They are:

  • PLS 1011: Introduction to Political Science
  • PLS 2010: Introduction to American Government
  • PLS 2020: Introduction to Comparative Government
  • PLS 2030: Introduction to International Relations
  • PLS 2040: Introduction to Political Thought
  • PLS 2051: Introduction to Research Methods
  • PLS 2060: Introduction to Public Administration
  • PLS 2070: Introduction to Public Law
  • PLS 3055/A: Advanced Research Methods

Should I take lower-division courses in a specific order?

Freshmen. We recommend that freshmen students (with no prior college coursework) enroll in PLS 1011: Introduction to Political Science in their first semester at Cal Poly Pomona. This course also counts for the GE Area E requirement. You should plan on taking PLS 2051/A: Introduction to Research Methods in your second year at Cal Poly Pomona. PLS 3055/A: Advanced Research Methods should be taken in Year 3. Otherwise, all other lower-division courses should be finished by the end of Year 2, albiet in whatever order your prefer to take the courses. 

Transfer. If you have taken American Government, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, Public Administration, and/or Public Law at a community college, make sure those units transfer to cover credit for those courses. In your first semester, enroll in PLS 1011: Introduction to Political Science and PLS 2051/A: Introduction to Research Methods. In your second semester, enroll in PLS 3055/A: Advanced Research Methods. Otherwise, all other lower-division courses should be accounted for by the end of Year 1.

Class Descriptions & Faculty

PLS 1011: Introduction to the major

A course for political science majors designed to introduce them to the resources available for the study of, and careers in, political science, including the development and practice of research skills, presentation skills, and career strategies.

Core Course: PLS 1011 - Resources in Political Science (3)

PLS 2010: American Government

Faculty and students examine the United States constitutional and political philosophies, intergovernmental relations, political institutions and processes, and the rights and obligations of citizens.

Core Course: PLS 2010 - Introduction to American Politics (3)
Faculty: Dr. Neil Chaturvedi, Dr. Mario Guerrero

PLS 2020: Comparative Politics

Faculty and students in Comparative Politics analyze both Western and non-Western politics and government. Relevance of such concepts as political culture, political socialization, and political ideologies to the understanding of political systems.

Core Course: PLS 2020 - Introduction to Comparative Politics (3)
Faculty: Dr. Robert Nyenhuis, Dr. Marc Scarcelli

PLS 2030: International Relations

Faculty and students study contemporary international affairs, with an emphasis on politics among states. This core area examines national foreign policies, the organizational, legal and economic dimensions of the state system, the causes of war, and the future of the global order.

Core Course: PLS 2030 - Introduction to International Relations (3)
Faculty: Dr. Robert Nyenhuis, Dr. Marc Scarcelli

PLS 2040: Political Thought

Faculty and students examine the writings of selected philosophers on central questions of political life such as political order, governance, freedom and liberty, equality, justice, rights, the public interest, power. This area studies the conceptions and principles of normative political theory.

Core Course: PLS 2040 - Introduction to Political Thought (3)
Faculty: Dr. Jill Hargis, Dr. David Speak

PLS 2051 & 3055: Research Methods

Faculty and students examine the methods of the social sciences as applied to the study of politics. This area questions how social scientists  attempt to answer empirical questions about politics. This subfield is the only that require two courses, they should be taken in sequence. 

Core Course: PLS 2051 - Introduction to Research Methods (3) & PLS 3055/A - Advanced Research Methods (2/1)
Faculty: Dr. Neil Chaturvedi, Dr. Sandra Emerson, Dr. Mario Guerrero

PLS 2060: Public Administration

Faculty and students study the structures, functions, principles, and processes of American governmental administration. This area pays particular attention to the importance and growth of government administration and to the principles and processes of establishing, directing, and evaluating governmental programs.

Core Course: PLS 2060 - Introduction to Public Administration (3)
Faculty: Dr. Brady Collins, Dr. Sandra Emerson, Dr. Renford Reese, Dr. David Speak

PLS 2070: Public Law

Students and faculty examine public law’s theoretical and historical foundation, and its functioning within legislative, judicial and administrative institutions of government.

Core Course: PLS 2070 - Introduction to Public Law (3)
Faculty: Dr. Jill Hargis, Dr. David Speak

Note: In addition to these core courses listed above, seniors are required to enroll in our senior capstone program (PLS 4610/4620 - Senior Thesis in Political Science (3/3) OR PLS 4411/4412 - Senior Internship in Political Science (3/3))