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Political Science

The Department of Political Science offers programs of study that lead to the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Master of Arts (M.A.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

Students wishing to enter the Major or Honours programs must make an online application to the Department prior to registering for their third year. See Admission and Promotion.

The Department also collaborates with Canadian Studies, Economics, International Relations, Latin American Studies, Modern European Studies, Urban Studies, US Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies.

For information on advanced degrees, see graduate Political Science.

Visit the Department for details on current offerings.

Admission and Promotion

Admission to the Major or a combined major or the Honours program in Political Science requires that a student will have completed at least 54 credits applicable to the Bachelor of Arts.

Admission is not automatic to either the Major program or the Honours program in Political Science. Due to a limited number of spaces, some applicants who satisfy the minimum prerequisites may not be admitted.

Students contemplating a Major or Honours program in Political Science are encouraged to seek information and advice from the Department at the end of their first year. Students considering a major should be familiar with the Department’s curriculum guide available on the Department website.

Students must apply online at the end of the academic year in which they accumulate 54 credits. The online application will be available after February 1 from the Department website. Applications are due by May 15 prior to registering for the third year. Applicants should arrange for transcripts from all post-secondary institutions they have attended, other than UBC, to be sent to the Department office as promptly as possible.

Major in Political Science

Selection for admission to the Major program will be based on the average grade for all post-secondary work attempted to date toward the Bachelor of Arts, with the exception of 12 credits which may be excluded from the calculation. The average will be calculated on at least 48 credits, including all courses taken in Political Science. Depending upon the number of applicants in a given year, an average of approximately 70% will be required for admission into the Major. Students applying to the major should be aware that success in all upper-level courses in Political Science requires clear expression in written English.

Promotion to the fourth year of the Major program will be automatic for students in the third year of the program whose work meets university standards for continuing. For students not in the third year of the program, admission to the fourth year will be allowed for transfers from colleges or other universities, or students at UBC who have performed well in Political Science courses in their third year, but are not in the Political Science Major program. Selection of applicants from these categories will be based on overall standing (average) of the best 72 credits earned to date toward the Bachelor of Arts. These 72 credits must include all Political Science courses and the first component of the Writing and Research Requirement.

To satisfy the Arts research requirement, students may take any 400-level POLI course.

Major students must take at least 42 credits but not more than 60 credits of Political Science in their overall 120 credits for the B.A. At least 30 of these Political Science credits must be in courses numbered 300 or above.

First 60 Credits

Prospective Major students should be familiar with the department curriculum guide which provides more guidance to students than these formal requirements.

Students must complete 12 credits of political science prior to admission to the major. These must include:

  • POLI 100
  • POLI 110
  • At least 6 credits from the 200 level

Students should be aware that they will be required to complete POLI 201 or POLI 101, POLI 240 or POLI 340, and POLI 380 for graduation with a Major in Political Science. For students enrolled in first and second year at UBC, POLI 110 is a prerequisite for POLI 380.

60-120 Credits and Graduation Requirements

Major students are required to complete POLI 380. Students will not get credit for both POLI 380 and any of the courses on the Science Credit Exclusion Lists in counting up the required 120 credits needed to graduate. Students who have not completed POLI 240 may substitute POLI 340 for POLI 240 (though they are still required to complete a total of 12 credits at the 100- and 200-level). In addition to these courses, they may take any Political Science course for which they have the prerequisites, provided that:

  • they take at least 42 but not more than 60 credits of Political Science; and
  • at least 30 of their Political Science credits are from courses numbered 300 or higher.

Combined Major in Political Science and Economics

Please see Vancouver School of Economics.

Combined Major in Political Science and Philosophy

Please see Philosophy.

Honours Programs in Political Science

Students with a grade of 80% or above in at least one Political Science course and an overall GPA of at least 80% are encouraged to discuss the Honours program with a Political Science advisor and to consider applying. Although only a limited number of students can be accepted into the Honours program, all applications will be given serious consideration.

Promotion to the fourth year of the Honours program requires an 80% grade in at least one Political Science course during the third year, a minimum grade of 75% in POLI 390, and a 75% average overall in the third year.

Occasionally outstanding students from the third-year Major program may be admitted directly to fourth-year Honours.

Graduation in the Honours program normally requires an 80% grade in at least one Political Science course during the fourth year, a minimum grade of 75% in POLI 492, and a 75% overall average in the final two years.

Students not meeting these standards but nevertheless satisfying all other university requirements for graduation will be awarded a B.A. in the Major program.

Honours students must complete at least 60, but not more than 72 credits of Political Science in their 120 credits for the B.A. At least 48 of these credits must be in courses numbered 300 or above.

First 60 Credits

As for Major students.

60-120 Credits

Honours students are required to complete POLI 340, 380, one semester of 390 (6 credits), 492 (12 credits), plus at least 6 additional credits of Political Science seminars at the 400-level. Otherwise, they are free to take any Political Science courses for which they have the prerequisites, so long as they take at least 60 but not more than 72 credits of Political Science, and at least 48 of their Political Science credits are from courses numbered 300 or above.

Honours in Political Science with International Relations

See Admission and Promotion and Honours Programs in Political Science. A student in this program completes all the requirements for an Honours degree in Political Science, plus most of the requirements of the International Relations Major. This program leaves minimal room for electives. It is administered by the Department of Political Science (not by the International Relations Program), and students must apply directly to the Department of Political Science for admission. Because of the extensive requirements of this program, students may wish to consider the alternative of Honours in Political Science with a Minor in International Relations.

First 60 Credits

Students take the following courses:

  • POLI 100, POLI 110, and POLI 260, plus one other 200-level Political Science course
  • ECON 101 and 102
  • HIST 102 or 103
  • 12 credits of a language other than English, in addition to the Faculty of Arts language requirement. The language may be the one used to satisfy the Faculty of Arts requirement carried to a higher level, or it may be an additional language. This requirement may be completed in the third and/or fourth year.

60-120 Credits

Students take the following courses:

  • POLI 340, 380, 390, 492
  • 12 credits from: POLI 360-373, 460-466, of which at least 3 must be from 460-464, 466
  • ECON 355
  • HIST 425 or 432

Minor in Political Science

A Minor consists of at least 30 credits, but not more than 42 credits of Political Science courses, of which at least 18 must be numbered 300 or above. POLI 101 must be included among the courses taken. Departmental permission is not required to undertake a Minor in Political Science.

Courses by Field

The Department posts detailed information online concerning courses for the upcoming year, beginning in late May.

  • Political Theory: POLI 240, 305, 340-348, 440-442, 444-446, 448, 521-523, 540
  • Public Policy: POLI 302, 350-352, 404, 450, 531-533
  • Canadian Government: POLI 101, 301, 303-310, 401-406, 501-504
  • International Relations: POLI 260, 360-370, 373-375, 460-466, 561-564
  • Political Behaviour: POLI 380, 381, 385, 551-553, 571, 572
  • Comparative Government: POLI 220, 320-337, 420-427, 429, 511-516
  • General Courses: POLI 390, 492, 549, 580, 649

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