FAQs on Studying Political Science at Bucknell
What are the basic requirements for the major?
You need a minimum of 8 courses, though no more than 12, in Political Science, or courses cross-listed with Political Science. (Cross-listings will appear under Political Science in the course listings for each semester; you don't need to go looking for them.)
The requirements are broken down as follows:
- 4 core courses, one in each of Political Science's traditional subfields
- 1 Political Science seminar or other seminar listed as carrying POLS credit, preferably in the senior year
- 3 additional POLS courses, minimum, in any subfield; there is no requirement or expectation that you concentrate in any of the subfields
Can AP credit substitute for a core course, or otherwise count toward the major?
No. AP grades of 4 or 5 in Politics count as electives and toward overall distribution requirements, but don't count toward the major. Any AP credit will appear as an elective in your degree progress report. (If you are missing a credit you've earned, see the Registrar's Office.)
I'm thinking of doing independent study in Political Science. How do I go about this?
Independent study is intended for those who want to develop their own program of advanced study on a topic in which they already have an interest. If there is a topic you would like to spend a semester working on, consult with the faculty member who is most likely to be able to guide you through that research. You should be able to present him or her with a rough outline of what you hope to do and hope to accomplish. If the instructor agrees to work with you on this, the next stage is to put together a proposal for the project, which should spell out what you plan to read and what you plan to write in some detail. This requires departmental approval, and the proposal must be submitted for approval at least two weeks before registration. Please note that you must have already taken the core course/courses relevant to your topic, as well as any other specialized courses offered that would prepare you for your project.
I'm thinking of doing Honors in Political Science. How do I go about this?
The basic process is largely the same as for independent study, but you must satisfy University requirements for eligibility for Honors, and must follow the procedures and schedule established by the University Honors Program. Also, this is usually a two-semester project, and we strongly recommend that you start thinking and consulting an adviser about this during the spring of the junior year, so that you will be able to turn in a formal proposal to the Honors Council in early October. See the Honors Program web site for more information, including the calendar:
If I do an Honors project, do I still have to take a seminar?
Yes. Doing Honors can be a wonderful, rewarding experience, but it does not replace the experience of doing advanced work in a seminar setting—one that we want all of our majors to share.
Can a capstone count as my seminar?
It can, but rarely does. Only capstones specifically designated as carrying POLS credit, and cross-listed with Political Science, count—though when they do, they satisfy both requirements at once.
Can I meet major requirements with courses taken off campus?
Yes, though no more than two courses can transfer as major credits, and both will need to be approved by the department chair. If, however, the courses were taken at one of the "Bucknell-in" programs (in London, Grenada, Tours, Barbados, or Northern Ireland), they count as regular Bucknell credits, and do not count against the two-course limit. For those studying abroad, it is strongly recommended that the core courses be completed before leaving campus. These courses cannot be taken as part of the study-abroad program.
How do I minor in Political Science?
There are five minor programs in Political Science, outlined in the catalog: a general minor, and four others built around each of the four subfields. Each requires five courses. You declare the minor AFTER you have taken the courses. When you are ready, fill out the necessary form, available at the office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, and have the form signed by the department chair. Details on the five minors in political science are available.