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Degrees and Programs

Program Description

The political science curriculum helps students to acquire an organized body of knowledge about government and to think analytically about public policy, law, and politics. The political science degree prepares graduates to enter careers in government, public service, public administration, public policy analysis, legislative advocacy, business, international relations, and teaching. Many Cal State East Bay political science graduates continue their academic careers in law school, or in the pursuit of graduate degrees in political science or public policy analysis.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a B.A. in Political Science from Cal State East Bay will:

  1. know the techniques for skillfully reading and interpreting different types of writing, such as textbooks, scholarly books and journal articles, case law, newspaper articles, government documents (including those that employ statistics), and original philosophical texts;
  2. be able to assess information, including demonstrating the ability to distinguish between the central and peripheral aspects of a piece of writing, and between well-substantiated arguments and unsupported assertions;
  3. be able to write knowledgeably, correctly, clearly and logically.


For Advanced Placement course equivalencies, see Registration chapter.

Major Requirements (B.A.)

Please consult an advisor in your major department for clarification and interpretation of your major requirements. The regular major consists of 56 units; the Pre-Law option consists of 64 units; the Public Affairs and Administration option consists of 61 units. The B.A. degree requires a total of 180 units.

  1. Lower Division (8-16 units)

    1. POSC 1201 American Political Institutions (4)
    2. POSC 1202 Public Policy/California Politics (4)
    3. Students may take an additional 0-8 units of lower division political science courses.
  2. Upper Division (40-48 units)

    1. POSC 3030 The Study of Political Science (4)
    2. One course in each of the following five fields (20)
      1. American Government and Public Administration (includes courses listed under Public Policy and Administration)
      2. Public Law
      3. Comparative Government and Politics
      4. International Relations
      5. Political Theory
    3. POSC 4910 Political Science Seminar (4)
    4. Twelve (12) to twenty (20) additional units from upper division political science courses

Also see "Pre-Law Students" later in this chapter.

Students taking this option will focus their coursework in legal studies. Completion of this program will lead to a B.A. degree, major in Political Science with an option in Pre-Law. The total required for the major with Pre-Law option is 64 units. The total required for the B.A. degree is 180 units.

Two quarters before you expect to graduate, complete a major check sheet and inquire about other requirements for graduation. The following is an outline indicating specific courses and options necessary for completing the option in pre-law.

  1. Foundation Courses (24 units)

    • POSC 1201 American Political Institutions (4)
    • POSC 1202 Public Policy/California Politics (4)
    • POSC 3030 The Study of Political Science (4)
    • One lower or upper division course in International Relations (4)
    • One lower or upper division course in Comparative Government (4)
    • One upper division course in Political Theory (4)
  2. The Political and Policy Context of the Law (16 units)

    Choose 16 units from the following:
    • H SC 3350 Health Legislation and Government Programs (4)
    • MGMT 4500 Business, Government and Society (4)
    • any Political Science course listed under the headings "American Government and Politics" or "Public Policy and Administration."
  3. Public Law (20 units)

    Any 20 units recognized by the Department as a public law class. These include ACCT 2701 (Legal Environments of Business), POSC 3410 (Law and Society), 3417 (Survey of American Law), 3418 (Immigration Law), 3441 (Constitutional Law), 3442 (Constitutional Rights), 3460 (Environmental Law), 3470 (International Law), 3503 (Philosophy of Law), 4445 (Bureaucratic Politics); any business law class.

  4. Capstone (4 units)

    • POSC 4910 Political Science Seminar (4)

Students taking this option will concentrate their coursework in American political institutions, public policy, and administrative processes. Completion of this program will lead to a B.A. degree major in Political Science, with an option in Public Affairs and Administration.

Since several courses overlap (ECON 2301, 2302, ACCT 2251, MGMT 4500), the department encourages students who pursue this option to consider combining it with the Minor in Business Administration.

The major with this option consists of 61 units; the B.A. requires a total of 180 units. The course requirements for this option are as follows:

  1. Lower Division (21 units)

    • ECON 2301 (4)
    • ECON 2302 or POSC 1202 (4)
    • POSC 1201 (4)

    One course from each group (9 units)

    • Group I: STAT 1000 or STAT 2010
    • Group II: ACCT 2251
  2. Upper Division (40 units)

    1. Group I: Public Affairs and Administrative Process (at least 12 units)
      • ECON 3370
      • POSC 3800, 3870, 4445
      • PUAD 4800, 4830
    2. Group II: Political Institutions and Processes (at least 8 units)
      Any Political Science courses listed under the heading "American Government and Politics"
    3. Group III: Public Affairs and Public Policy (8 units)
      ECON 3375; HSC 3350; MGMT 4500; POSC 3505; and any Political Science course listed under the heading "Public Policy and Administration," if not used under Group I.
    4. Service Requirement (4 units)
      May be fulfilled by taking POSC 3113, 3898 or another service course approved by the department chair.
    5. Foundation Requirement (4 units)
      • POSC 3030 The Study of Political Science
    6. Capstone Course (4 units)
      • POSC 4910 Political Science Seminar

Pre-Law Students

The study of law is a postgraduate professional program, requiring three years of full-time study beyond the completion of the bachelor's degree. No specific pre-law undergraduate program is required for admission to law schools. However, students wishing to focus on legal studies at Cal State East Bay, may complete the Pre-Law option in the Political Science major.

Students intending to enter law school commonly complete undergraduate majors in political science, economics, business, or history. The pre-law student's undergraduate plan of study should include among its objectives a facility in the proper use of written and spoken English, a sampling of undergraduate law courses, one or more critical/logical thinking courses, and a basic understanding of government and economics. Some law schools recommend that students take a basic accounting course, particularly if they are interested in business or tax law.

Students planning to enter law school should consult a pre-law advisor. Dr. David Baggins of the Department of Political Science, who is an attorney, serves as the university pre-law advisor. Several other departments also have pre-law advisors.

Most accredited law schools require that applicants complete the Law School Admission Test. The LSAT is typically given in September, December, February, and June at one or more testing centers in the Bay Area. Pre-law students should obtain LSAT registration materials and law school applications early in their senior year. Students can access information at LSAT. The Political Science department library has a copy of the Law School Guidebook and many law school catalogs.

Other Degree Requirements

In addition to major requirements, every student must also complete the University requirements for graduation which are described in the Baccalaureate Degree Requirements chapter in the front of this catalog. These include the General Education-Breadth requirements; the second composition (ENGL 1002) requirement; the cultural groups/women requirement; the performing arts/activities requirement; the U.S. history, U.S. Constitution, and California state and local government requirement; the University Writing Skills Requirement; and the residence, unit, and grade point average requirements.

Minor Requirements

The minor consists of 24 units of Political Science courses of which at least 16 units must be in upper division. The purpose of the Minor in Political Science is to provide a general background in political science to complement majors in such areas as business administration, environmental studies, science, humanities, and the other social sciences. The student should consult with a Political Science department advisor or the chairperson in selecting courses.

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