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Political Science

Political Science is the social scientific study of political institutions and political behavior. The study of political institutions includes topics such as the effect of the design of electoral systems on the quality of representation in government, the formal and informal elements of the legislative process and their implications for the making of law, and the impact of domestic political institutions on the incidence of international conflict. Under the rubric of political behavior, political scientists study how and why people choose to participate in politics, the determinants of vote choice, and the nature and origins of public opinion. Students studying political science at UC Merced develop a strong substantive understanding of both political institutions and behavior. Students also learn the theories that help us better understand the political world and the methods by which these theories are tested and refined.

Political Science majors choose courses from three subfields of the discipline: American Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. The study of institutions and behavior is central to all three of these subfields, although the substantive emphasis differs. Courses in American Politics focus on domestic politics in the U.S., while courses in Comparative Politics examine government and politics in other nations. International Relations classes address issues in foreign policy, international conflict, and the institutions intended to govern the interactions between nations. Students focus on one of these three subfields, although they also are required to take courses in one or both subfields outside of their focus.

The knowledge and skills acquired with the Political Science Major should provide a strong foundation for graduate training in law, political science or other social sciences. Students graduating with a degree in political science can also pursue a wide variety of other careers, such as public administration, campaign management or consultation, grassroots political organization, corporate governmental affairs, Foreign Service, journalism, lobbying or teaching.

For additional information on the Political Science major at UC Merced, please visit the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts website, or the Political Science website.

IMPORTANT Information Regarding POLI 010

In the 2021-2022 academic year, POLI 010 will only be offered in Spring 2022. If you plan to graduate before Spring 2022, you must enroll in POLI 010 in Spring 2021. Please contact your advisor if you have any questions.

Political Science Four Year Major Plans

Below, please find four year plans for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Students should choose the plan that corresponds to the catalog year in which they matriculated to UC Merced. For more information on catalog rights, please click here.

Political Science Major Planning Guides

Below you will find planning guides for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. Students should choose the planning guide that corresponds to the catalog year in which they matriculated to UC Merced. For more information on catalog rights, please click here.




See 3 Year Sample Plans here.

Political Science Major Subfields

Political Science majors choose courses from the following subfields of the discipline.  See the general catalog or MyAudit for information about which courses satisfy the subfields below:

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Pre-Law (Only available to students who entered UC Merced 2014 and later)

Political Science-Related Course Requirement (Catalog years prior to 2011)

For catalog years prior to 2011, students are required to complete two Political Science-ralated courses from a specified list. The following courses meet the requirement for "Interdisciplinary Thematic Courses" for the Political Science major at UC Merced.

  • ANTH 110: Migration & Transnational Belonging
  • ANTH 112: Political Anthropology
  • COGS 121: Cognitive Psychology
  • COGS 130: Cognitive Neuroscience
  • COGS 153: Judgment and Decision Making
  • COGS 172: Thinking & Reasoning
  • ECON 100: Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
  • ECON 101: Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory
  • ECON 111: American Economic History
  • ECON 121: The Economics of Money, Banking, and Financial Institutions
  • ECON 130: Econometrics
  • ECON 140: Labor Economics
  • ECON 151: Public Economics
  • ECON 152: Law and Economics
  • ECON 153: Judgment & Decision Making
  • ECON 155: Political Economics
  • ECON 156: Urban & Regional Economics
  • ECON 170: Game Theory
  • HIST 120: Essence of Decision
  • HIST 128: U.S. and the Vietnam War
  • HIST 130: The Cold War, 1941-1991
  • HIST 132: Intelligence & National Security
  • HIST 137: Topics in European History (Fall 2006 Only)
  • HIST 139: Topics in United States History (Fall 2008 & Summer 2011 Only)
  • HIST 170: Law & Society in England (1066-1800)
  • MGMT 100: Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
  • MGMT 101: Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory
  • MGMT 121: The Economics of Money, Banking, and Financial Institutions
  • MGMT 130: Econometrics
  • MGMT 135: Business Law
  • MGMT 152: Law and Economics
  • MGMT 153: Judgment & Decision Making
  • MGMT 155: Political Economics
  • MGMT 191: Topics in Management: Public Policy
  • MGMT 191: Executive Leadership (Summer 2013 and Summer 2014 Only)
  • PH 105: Introduction to US Health Care System
  • PHIL 107: Philosophy of Religion
  • PHIL 108: Political Philosophy
  • PSY 131: Social Psychology
  • PSY 160: Cognitive Psychology
  • PUBP 110: Poverty and Social Policy
  • PUBP 120: Health Care Policy
  • PUBP 130: Environmental Policy
  • PUBP 140: Immigration and Public Policy
  • PUBP 150: Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy
  • SOC 110: Social Movements, Protest and Collective Action
  • SOC 115: Political Sociology
  • SOC 131: Urban Inequality
  • SOC 180: Advanced Issues in Race and Ethnicity