Social Science BA
Political Science Track, Social Science BA

About this program

Why political science?

Political science is an ideal field of study for students interested in: • Social Justice: Building a more equitable world. • Rule of Law: Ensuring that no one is above the law and laws are applied equally to all. • Understanding Institutions: Identifying points of access and how power can be applied to change outcomes. • Systems of Inequality: Understanding how opportunities and benefits in society are unequally distributed among groups, privileging some while subordinating others.

What will I do in the major?

Political Science is a track within the Social Science Major. Students in the Political Science Track will choose between courses in three general areas:

  • US Political Institutions: These classes focus on the ways in which political institutions structure power in the United States, paying attention to issues of access, representation, and unequal outcomes.
  • Global Politics: These classes focus on international politics, globalization, and political problems that transcend international boundaries.
  • Political Action and Community Leadership: These classes focus on the development of concrete political skills related to community organizing and effective political advocacy.

The Political Science Track at Metropolitan State University combines both the academic study of politics with real-world political experience. Upper-division students in the political science track complete an internship and conduct their own research to complete their degrees.

What can I do with the degree?

Completing the Political Science Track can be the first step toward careers in a variety of fields, including:

  • Law
  • Local, State, and Federal Government
  • Advocacy
  • Elections and Campaign Management
  • Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations

Students who complete the Political Science Track are also well-prepared for graduate study in political science and related fields.

Student outcomes

The learning outcomes for this major provide the knowledge, skills, and abilities to enter the 21st-century workplace to:

  • know and understand the essential concepts of social science;
  • comprehend the historical foundations, theoretical paradigms, and research methods of social science;
  • develop higher order thinking skills by analyzing and interpreting social science literature;
  • write analytically in a style that is informed, well-reasoned, and literate;
  • recognize and understand differences of gender and sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, religion, and social class;
  • understand and utilize a global perspective
  • develop civic skills by participating in community-based learning and internships
  • become advocates and leaders in their communities, our nation, and the globe.

Related minors

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Course requirements

Requirements (120 credits)

Core Courses (40 credits)

At least half of the credits required for the major must be completed at Metropolitan State University. Students must earn a grade of C- or above in all major courses. Student should select lower division electives and upper division electives in consultation with an advisor. Transfer courses may be applicable to major requirements. The university's degree audit will specify transfer courses that are directly equivalent to major requirements. Other transfer courses must be approved by a faculty advisor in the department. Sequencing: SSCI 300, SSCI 311, SSCI 501 and SSCI 451 or SSCI 452 must be taken in four separate semesters in the order listed above. SSCI 300 and SSCI 311 may be taken concurrently with departmental approval. All social science majors must complete the following courses.

SSCI 365 Leadership in Organizations and Public Life

3-4 credits

Students gain experience in applied social science while working as an intern in a non-profit or community-based organization, the public sector, or a social action group. Prior to registering, students meet with the instructor to select their specific internship project. Students supplement their specific field experience with participation in the group internship seminar which meets five times during the semester. Through this combination of extensive community-based experience and guided reading, writing and analysis, students develop their ability to integrate social science theory with community-based experience.

Full course description for Leadership in Organizations and Public Life

SSCI 300 Seeing Like a Social Scientist

4 credits

Most of us are only dimly aware of how politics, culture, and society influence, and often coerce, our daily lives. The calling of a social scientist is to help us make these invisible social structures visible. In this course, students develop the skills and tools to discover, analyze, and interpret these obscure social processes. Ideally, this knowledge will have a liberating effect on their individual lives. Students will also perceive how their civic and ethical participation can change politics, culture, and society, as well as themselves.

Full course description for Seeing Like a Social Scientist

SSCI 311 Research Methods in Social Science

4 credits

This course provides an introduction to the basic concepts of social science research. Students learn and implement a variety of research methods, and critically reflect on the relationship of these methods to philosophical traditions within social science. The courses examines two approaches to social science research, quantitative and qualitative, and the unique contribution of each approach for understanding social life. Experiential activities enhance classroom learning.

Full course description for Research Methods in Social Science

SSCI 501 Great Ideas: Classics of Social Science

4 credits

The social sciences have been shaping views of the human condition for more than 150 years. This seminar explores those ideas that continue to engage and perplex thoughtful observers of social life. Students become acquainted with writing by major thinkers like Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, Sigmund Freud, Ruth Benedict, Frantz Fanon and Hannah Arendt. The course addresses the social and historical roots of the great ideas as well as the moral aspirations and creative impulses of these social scientists.

Full course description for Great Ideas: Classics of Social Science

Choose one

SSCI 451 Empirical Research Capstone

4 credits

Social scientists investigate the patterns of human interactions and then seek to interpret, explain and communicate human behavior. This seminar is designed to provide a final, integrating experience for students with a social science major. Seminar participants complete a senior project that demonstrates an ability to design a study, collect new or existing data, analyze those findings and communicate the results.

Full course description for Empirical Research Capstone

SSCI 452 Conceptual Research Capstone

4 credits

The social sciences have been shaping our understanding of the human condition for 175 years. Students will be comparing and evaluating ideas that continue to engage and perplex thoughtful public intellectuals. The capstone project involves researching an idea that remains disputable. The goal of a student's thesis is an independent interpretation of a specific concept.

Full course description for Conceptual Research Capstone

Lower-division electives (up to 9 credits)
Survey (4 credits, select one course)

POL 301 Citizenship in a Global Context

4 credits

This course investigates the theory and practice of citizenship in local communities, the United States and the world. Students draw on core concepts from political science to explore contrasting ideas about citizenship and the political, economic and cultural dimensions of critical issues facing the global community. Classroom inquiry is supplemented by field experiences and investigation.

Full course description for Citizenship in a Global Context

POL 321 World Politics

4 credits

This course examines critical global issues and the organizations and institutions that are attempting to address them. Drawing on concepts from political science and international relations, students explore such issues as human rights, the global environment, violence within and between nations, and the gap between "have" and "have not" nations. The course investigates the response of the United States to these issues as well as the effectiveness of formal international organizations like the United Nations and emerging transnational citizen organization. Classroom inquiry is supplemented by field experience and investigation.

Full course description for World Politics

Upper division electives (to reach 40 credits)

Select 300-level courses in political science. Students may also take:

SSCI 401 Social Science Seminar: Contending Perspectives

4 credits

This course provides students with the opportunity to understand, integrate, and apply the core themes and contending perspectives that underline the social studies disciplines. Through guided readings, research and discussion, seminar participants further develop the capacity to analyze selected issues through multiple lenses. Students apply these multiple perspectives to teaching middle and secondary social studies.

Full course description for Social Science Seminar: Contending Perspectives