Degree Program

Major Requirements

(As of April 1st, 2014)

To major in Political Science, students must complete at least 30 credits in POLS courses with a grade of "C" or better. At least 24 of these credits must be POLS 399 or lower, including:

  • One 3 credit introductory course at the 100- or 200-level
  • 12 credit hours (4 classes) from the following: POLS 335; either POLS 301 or POLS 302; either POLS 305 or POLS 315; and either POLS 375, POLS 376, or POLS 385
  • 3 credit POLS 390 (Methodology) course
  • 9 credit hours (3 classes) from any other 300-level or higher course (not including courses listed in the second bullet)
  • at least 3 credit hours from a CAPSTONE 400-level course (POLS 401–406) or a Graduate-level course with instructor permission

For more information, please contact the Department Office, Saunders 640.


Majors must take one CAPSTONE course (POLS 401–406) in his or her senior year. You may take more than one if you choose. Options include the following:

The research experience will enable you to write a scholarly paper of potentially publishable quality.

  • Senior Seminar (POLS 406). Advanced inquiry into a selected question or area in Political Science. Each semester's class will reflect the instructor's area of specialization. Students will write a major research paper.
  • Senior Thesis (POLS 404). Students will work with an advisor of their choice in designing and carrying out an individual research project. Can be completed within the Honors Program.
  • Graduate Seminar. Students who take a graduate seminar in Political Science will complete 3 credits and fulfill their capstone requirements.

Teaching (POLS 401–Teaching Political Science):
The teaching experience will enable you to offer a college–level course to fellow students.

  1. The student must have the permission of the instructor to work with them on the course. Dr. Richard Chadwick offers a section of POLS 401: Teaching International Relations (IR) annually. Other faculty should be approached individually regarding their interest in mentoring a student through the process.
  2. A student must have taken the course for which they will TA or a commensurate course as determined by the faculty involved.
  3. The student must have received an A in the course.
  4. The instructor and student will devise a set of expectations regarding the work that will be required for the course. This MAY include:
    • Grading tests and quizzes
    • Facilitating Discussion
    • Doing a guest lecture
    • Supporting study sessions and advising
    • Other
  5. The student should attend all classes along with the instructor.
  6. The student WILL NOT be the sole teacher in the course but instead will be mentored by the faculty instructor

Community Action/Field Work:
The community experience will enable you to develop significant leadership and organizational skills and to participate in an important political organization in your community.

  • Legislative Internship (POLS 402). Students will be placed with a State Legislator and will work full–time in her/his office to gain an understanding of Hawaiʻi state politics and to develop skills in policy analysis, organizational practices, and community leaderships. Offered each spring. (Students receive 15 credits for this full–time internship.)
  • Community Internship (POLS 403). Students spend 8–10 hours per week working with a community organization or agency to gain an understanding of local political practices and community activities. (Students normally receive 3 credits for this internship.)

Major Requirements Checklist

To ensure that you are on the right track, please see and complete our Program Sheet & Academic Plan.

If you need help filling out our checklist, please go to STAR Degree Check.

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Minor Requirements

To minor in Political Science, students must complete:

  • 3 credit introductory course at the 100- or 200-level
  • 15 credit hours from 300-level or above, including one course from POLS 305, POLS 315, POLS 335, POLS 375, or POLS 385.
  • Students should choose one of the 100- or 200-level Political Science courses as part of their General Education Cores in social sciences, since a 100- or 200-level course is a prerequisite for 300-level courses.
  • Note: Any full-time faculty can sign off on all forms/golden rod.

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