Political Science Major

Politics are pervasive and important, since all human societies make collective decisions. Consequently, the political science major is an excellent choice for a liberal arts education, because it helps students study how politics function in various contexts and helps them become informed citizens. Students interested in preparing for law school, graduate school, or a career in government or international affairs often major in political science. The political science major is excellent preparation for a full range of careers, including work in law, education, public policy, government or public service, and the private sector.

The political science major at the University of Richmond has an unusually distinctive array of choices. In addition to the usual advantages of a small university—close working relationships with faculty and an excellent liberal arts education—students can enroll in a 2-unit internship program at the General Assembly during spring semesters (which puts them on the floor of the Legislature, working directly with delegates); participate in an internship in Washington, D.C., organized by departmental faculty; double major or minor in leadership studies, international studies, or law and liberal arts; and even take courses taught by law school faculty.

The department's knowledgeable and dedicated faculty offer challenging coursework that covers the major subfields of political science (American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public law, public policy, and research methods) and supervise undergraduate research and internship or study abroad opportunities. Our geographic location—in the City of Richmond, the capital of Virginia and only a short drive from our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.—offers students opportunities beyond the classroom. To learn more about studying political science at the University of Richmond, contact us.

Major Requirements

Ten units in Political Science, at least six of which must be at the 300 or 400 level. The GPA of the coursework in Political Science comprising the major must be at least 2.00 with no course grade below C-. The specific requirements are:

PLSC 240: Introduction to Comparative Politics, or 
PLSC 250: Introduction to International Relations

PLSC 220: Introduction to American Government, or
PLSC 260: Introduction to Public Policy

PLSC 270: Social Science Inquiry

One unit of the following:

PLSC 311: Classical Political Thought, or
PLSC 312: Modern Political Theory, or
PLSC 315: American Political Theory

5 units of electives in PLSC

  • Four elective units at the 300 level.
  • The fifth elective may be taken at the 200 or 300 level.

PLSC 400: Senior Seminar, or
Honors sequence (PLSC 490, 491, and 492)


The major must include a minimum of six units of University of Richmond political science courses. No more than two units of credit toward the major can be given for courses, including cross-listed courses, offered by other departments or schools at the UniversityStudents may transfer credit for up to three courses to count toward the Political Science major including credit by exam (such as AP scores accepted for credit by the University) and courses given departmental approval (typically by the Chair) from study abroad or domestic universities. 

A&S policy stipulates that no more than 1.5 units of internship credit can be taken in the same department.  PLSC 395 The Virginia General Assembly Internship, does not count toward this limit.

*For students subject to 2021-22 catalog or earlier, see https://registrar.richmond.edu/_common/PDF/4_5%20Previous%20Catalogs/printedition_UGcatalog_2021-22.pdf