College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Electives/Upper-Division Coursework (24 Units)

The elective upper-division courses in political science allow a student to develop expertise in one particular area. Our department covers seven subfields and offers an introductory course in each subfield. For the elective upper-division courses, we combine two subfields to create three areas-of upper division credit:  A) American institutions and processes, B) legal and theoretical foundations, and C) international and comparative politics. 

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?

Students should aim to take 8 upper-division courses (24 units) in the department. Six of these courses (18 units) are required to come from the three areas: A) American institutions and processes, B) legal and theoretical foundations, and C) international and comparative politics. Students are required to take at least 2 courses in each of these three areas. For a list of courses in each area, consult the list below.

After completing upper-division work in the three areas (18 units), an additional 2 courses (6 units) are required. These elective units should be thought of as "free units". These units can come from any of these three areas in addition to a small list of upper-division elective courses that do not fit into these three areas.

Finally, in addition to the above mentioned 24 units, students are also expected to enroll in 6 additional units of the Senior Capstone Experience. In their last fall semester on campus, students have the option of completing a senior thesis project OR a senior internship. 

Should I take the upper-division courses in a specific order?

Freshman. You should plan on taking upper-division courses beginning in Year 3 and through Year 4. We recommend that before enrolling in an upper-division course, students complete the corresponding core/lower-division course. Consult the Road Map for more information about the order in which you should take these classes.

Transfer. You should plan on taking upper-division courses in your first year at Cal Poly Pomona. However, make sure that you finish all your lower-division coursework by the end of Year 1. Consult the Road Map for more information about the order in which you should take these classes.

Upper-Division Areas

A) American Institutions and Processes

This area, American Institutions and Processes, is comprised of two subfields, American Politics and Public Administration. Students are required to take at least two courses (6 units) in this area. If students wish, they can choose to take some of their additional 6 units of elective credits in this area. Although not required, students should finish the corresponding core course before enrolling in the upper-division course. 

American Politics

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

  • PLS 3250 - The American Congress (3)
  • PLS 3260 - The American Presidency (3)
  • PLS 3270 - The American Judiciary (3)
  • PLS 4205 - American Political Institutions & Behavior (3)
  • PLS 4211 - Voting & Elections in the United States (3)
  • PLS 4231 - Race and Ethnic Politics in the United States (3)
  • PLS 4245 - Public Opinion (3)
  • PLS 4250 - Women and Politics in America (3)
  • PLS 4265 - Political Communication and Media (3)
  • PLS 4811 - California Government (3)

Public Administration

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

  • PLS 3150 - Politics of Public Policy (3)
  • PLS 3165 - Urban Adminstration, Politics, and Policy (3)
  • PLS 3175 - NGOs and Social Service Outreach (3)
  • PLS 4160 - Public Organizations (3)
  • PLS 4170/A - Policy Analysis & Program Evaluation (2/1)

B) Legal and Theoretical Foundations

This area, Legal and Theoretical Foundations, is comprised of two subfields, Public Law and Political Theory. Students are required to take at least two courses (6 units) in this area. If students wish, they can choose to take some of their additional 6 units of elective credits in this area. Although not required, students should finish the corresponding core course before enrolling in the upper-division course. 

Public Law

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

  • PLS 3011 - Constitutional Law - Governmental Powers (3)
  • PLS 3021 - Constitutional Law - Rights and Liberties (3)
  • PLS 3031 - Constitutional Law - Criminal Justice (3)
  • PLS 3041 - The Criminal Justice System (3)
  • PLS 4050 - Jurisprudence (3)
  • PLS 4090 - Contemporary Issues in American Law (3)

Political Theory

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

  • PLS 3311 - Ancient & Medieval Political Thought (3)
  • PLS 3321 - Modern Political Thought (3)
  • PLS 3331 - American Political Thought (3)
  • PLS 4341 - Advanced American Political Thought (3)
  • PLS 4360 - Contemporary Political Theory (3)
  • PLS 4381 - Environmental Political Theory (3)

C) Comparative Politics and International Relations

This area, Comparative Politics and International Relations, is comprised of those two subfields. Students are required to take at least two courses (6 units) in this area. If students wish, they can choose to take some of their additional 6 units of elective credits in this area. Although not required, students should finish the corresponding core course before enrolling in the upper-division course. 

Comparative Politics

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

  • PLS 3420 - Politics of Developing Areas (3)
  • PLS 3431 - Ethnic Conflict (3)
  • PLS 4430 - European Government & Politics (3)
  • PLS 4440 - Latin American Government & Politics (3)
  • PLS 4450 - Sub-Saharan African Governments and Politics (3)
  • PLS 4460 - Middle Eastern Government & Politics (3)
  • PLS 4470 - Government and Politics of the Russian Federation (3)
  • PLS 4480 - East Asian Government & Politics (3)
  • PLS 4490 - Southeast Asian Government & Politics (3)

International Relations

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

  • PLS 3515 - International Relations Theory (3)
  • PLS 3521 - US Foreign Policy (3)
  • PLS 3541 - International Political Economy (3)
  • PLS 3551 - International Conflict, War & Peace (3)
  • PLS 3561 - International Law (3)
  • PLS 4531 - Terrorism (3)
  • PLS 4541 - Transnational Crime (3)
  • PLS 4551 - International Human Rights (3)
  • PLS 4561 - International Environmental Policy (3)

D) Other Political Science Courses

This area, called "other", is a list of additional classes that do not fit in the above three areas. After taking two courses in each of the above three areas (18 units), students are required to take an additional two courses (6 units) in any other upper-division political science course they have not yet taken. That includes all classes listed above, but also these courses: 

  • PLS 3080/A - Mock Trial (2/1)
  • PLS 3821 - Politics, Policy, & Pop Culture (3)
  • PLS 4221/A - Political Campaign Management (2/1)
  • PLS 4800 - Policies of Need and Greed (3)
  • PLS 4421/A - Political Science Internship (2/1)
  • CLS 4410/A - Judicial Internship (2/1)
  • PLS 3XXX - Any other upper division political science course (3)
  • PLS 4XXX - Any other upper division political science course (3)