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Department of Political Science

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Major in Political Science

Effective Fall 2015, Vanderbilt University has introduced a new course catalog numbering scheme. For assistance with the translation between old and new numbers, please consult the Course Renumbering Lookup Tool.

Students majoring in Political Science are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of work, distributed as follows (see the Undergraduate Catalog for course descriptions):

Areas of Concentration Hours Required
Political Science Core
1100, 1101, 1102, 1103, or 1150
6 hours
American Government and Politics
2240, 2243, 2245, 2251, 2255, 2256, 2259, 2262, 2265, 2266, 2267, 2270, 3241, 3244, 3247, 3249, 3250, 3252, 3253, 3254, 3260, 3893
3 hours
Comparative Politics
2210, 2213, 2215, 2216, 2219, 2230, 2236, 2237, 2270, 3211, 3217, 3228, 3235, 3272W, 3894, 4238
3 hours
International Politics
2220, 2221, 2222, 2223, 2225, 2226, 2236, 2237, 2270, 2273, 2274, 3211, 3228, 3229, 3272W, 3275, 3895, 4277
3 hours
Political Theory
2202, 2203, 2205, 2207, 2207W, 2208, 2209, 2263, 2270, 3253, 3258, 3264W, 3271, 3896, 4257
3 hours
Any 2000 or 3000 level course listed above; 3897, 3898; one additional 1000-level course, including 1111; up to six hours of 3882, 3883, 3851, 3852, 3841, 3842, 4998, 4999 combined
12 hours
In meeting the above requirements, students must develop a specialty within one of the four subfields of Political Theory, Comparative Politics, International Politics, or American Government, by taking the introductory, 1000-level course in that subfield, and at least three 2000- or 3000-level courses in that subfield. It is also recommended that one of the subfield’s upper-level courses should be a seminar.

To Declare Your Major in Political Science

Obtain two major declaration forms online, or in person at the Political Science Department office. You will request an adviser and obtain the advisor’s signature on each form. You will submit one completed form to the department and take one to the A&S Academic Services office in Kirkland 311. If you have questions about this process or anything else related to declaring your major, please don't hesitate to ask.
Note: If you are double majoring, you will need 3 forms. The final form is for the department office of your second major.

  • Director of Undergraduate Studies      Carrie Russell, Commons Center 359
  • Chair of the Department                         David Lewis, Commons Center 333
  • Undergraduate Coordinator                  Tina Bembry, Commons Center 355
  • All of the above can be reached at       (615) 322-6222
The University reserves the right, through its established procedures, to modify the requirements for admission and graduation and to change other rules, regulations, and provisions, including those stated in this electronic document and other publications, and to refuse admission to any student, or to require the withdrawal of a student if it is determined to be in the interest of the student or the University. All students, full- or part-time, who are enrolled in Vanderbilt courses are subject to the same policies.

Exit Exams for Graduating Political Science Majors

The current Undergraduate Catalog says the following (regarding the requirements for Political Science majors):

"In order to graduate with a political science major, students must take a brief exam within the subfield in which they are most interested during their senior year.  Students are to take this exam in the fall of their senior year (students who are on leave or are studying abroad should schedule the exam upon their return to campus). The exam is not graded, and no grade will appear on the student's transcript.  The purpose of the exam is to ascertain the extent to which political science majors are retaining core aspects of the political science curriculum."

This required exam for graduating political science majors is scheduled at several times for students to choose which works best with their schedules. The Spring 2016 Comprehensive Exam dates are listed below. They are held in Commons classroom 320. The department will email all graduating seniors so they can sign up. Students should bring their Commodore ID number and a pencil with an eraser to the exam. Sign up for an exam time here. Spring exit exam dates are announced the end of January/beginning of February, and Fall exit exam dates are announced in September.

  • Tuesday, February 16, 12:30 - 1pm
  • Thursday, February 18, 12:30 - 1pm
  • Wednesday, February 24, 2 - 2:30pm

Questions about the exam can be directed to Carrie Russell, Director of Undergraduate Studies.



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