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Course, Double and Special Majors

Course Major.  To graduate with a major in political science, a student must complete 8.5 credits in the department - at least eight courses in the department plus the 0.5 credit requirement for completing the senior comprehensive exercise. At least five of these eight courses must be taken at Swarthmore, including all of the distribution requirements and two introductory level courses (POLS 002, 003, 004, 010) must be completed at Swarthmore before acceptance as a major. Introductory level courses will count as distribution requirements.

Course prerequisites. Students must have completed two introductory courses at Swarthmore by the end of their first semester of sophomore year. This is the prerequisite for further work in the department and acceptance into the major. Majors will be deferred from acceptance into the department until both intros are completed. Only one intro can be a first-year seminar.

Grade requirements: We consider student applications to join the department individually, taking into account each student's background and college performance to date. Normally the following expectations apply:

For acceptance as a course major, the department expects performance at the 2.33 level in all college courses and at the 2.67 level in courses in political science, including courses graded credit/no credit.

For acceptance as a double major, the department expects performance at the 3.0 level in all college courses and at the 3.33 level in courses in political science, including courses graded credit/no credit.

The senior comprehensive requirement.  To graduate from Swarthmore, all majors and special majors in the Course Program need to fulfill the senior comprehensive requirement in the Political Science Department. This can be done in one of two ways. The preferred option is POLS 092 which is a 0.5 credit graded exercise. Working with a faculty advisor, students will produce a short paper in the spring semester of their senior year which tackles a major puzzle in political science.  Students will then present their work at a department conference. Option two, POLS 095, is a one credit graded written thesis which may be chosen by students who meet the eligibility requirements and get the approval of a faculty advisor and chair. All junior and senior course majors (unless abroad) are required to attend the department conference in March.

Double Major. To be accepted as a double major in the department, students must have completed two introductory courses at Swarthmore (POLS 002, 003, 004, 010) by the end of their first semester of sophomore year. This is the prerequisite for further work in the department and acceptance as a double major. Majors will be deferred from acceptance into the department until both intros are completed. Only one intro can be a first-year seminar. The political theory requirement for special majors can only be met by completing one of the following: POLS 011, POLS 012, POLS 100 or POLS 101.

Grade requirements. We consider student applications to join the department individually, taking into account each student's background and college performance to date. For acceptance as a double major, the department expects performance at the 3.0 level in all college courses and at the 3.33 level in courses in political science, including courses graded credit/no credit.

To graduate with a double major in political science, a student must complete 6.5 credits in the department - at least six courses in the department plus the 0.5 credit requirement for completing the senior comprehensive exercise (see details above). All distribution requirements within the department must be taken at Swarthmore.

Special Major. All special majors must have a designated faculty advisor and consult with the chair to receive approval for the proposed program. Within that approved program, 5.5 credits must be taken in the department, including one introductory course (POLS 002, 003, 004; a first year seminar does not count), and the distribution requirements must be met (see Distribution of Courses within the department section) by course work at Swarthmore. The political theory requirement for special majors can only be met by completing one of the following: POLS 011, POLS 012, POLS 100 or POLS 101.  All special course majors are required to participate in the department's Senior Comprehensive Exercise (see fuller description under Course Major) for .5 credit in the Spring semester of their senior year.