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Welcome to the Department of Politics and International Relations. This guide will answer most questions about the undergraduate program in Political Science. It is not a substitute for the FIU Catalog, which is the binding document on all requirements. Your first priority should be to learn all of your degree requirements. The following will help: · Read this guide and browse the Department web-site: · Review all relevant parts of the FIU Catalog: · Browse the Arts and Sciences Advising Center web-site: If after reading this guide you require an advising session, make an appointment through the office staff in DM 480, or by calling (305) 348-2226 or -2227. Many informational questions can also be e-mailed to the undergraduate advisor, Prof. Kathryn DePalo at [email protected] When e-mailing, clearly state what you need and provide your Panther ID number so that records can be accessed. Please honor advising appointments as you would all other professional commitments. Once you are familiar with the major and other requirements, you may register without seeing an advisor. However, at least prior to registering for your last semester and applying for graduation, you should see an advisor for a graduation check.

The Student Academic Support System (SASS) At FACTS.ORG

Use the SASS to track your progress toward graduation. Unless you are new to FIU, you should always bring a copy of your current SASS (not transcript) to advising sessions. To obtain your SASS, go to: (note: the ID # you will use is your panther ID preceded by 99). ·, "College Students" Under Advising Audits click "Graduation Check," and follow the instructions. If you are not a Political Science major, and wish to generate a Political Science SASS, go to: · "College Students," Under Advising Audits click "Program Graduation Requirements," and follow the instructions. You may obtain your FACTS PIN # through your panthersoft account at You can also obtain your unofficial transcript through the site. The SASS report organizes your most important degree requirements into separate boxes. To the left of each box you will see a "NO," an "OK," or an "IP." A "NO" means the requirement has not been met. An "OK" means it has been met. An "IP" means "In Progress," and that you are presently registered for courses which will meet the requirement.


For most students, the SASS system is very accurate, but it is not perfect. If you are a recent transfer to FIU, verify that your SASS is correct, and bring any discrepancy in transfer credit or unmet requirements to your advisor's attention. Your SASS should also reflect the requirements for the intended or declared major you have chosen (i.e., Political Science). If your SASS reflects a major different from what you have intended or declared, go to the Registrar's Office or Undergraduate Studies, and complete the necessary paperwork to correct it.


Although SASS is the most important source for information on your degree requirements, almost all other University functions (registration, reporting grades, relevant information relating to financial aid, etc.) is all performed through the PantherSoft system. It is essential that you educate yourself on the use of PantherSoft. Departmental advisors and faculty assist in providing information on degree requirements and curriculum. We are not able to assist in technology, software, or other related matters. Carefully review all relevant information related to PantherSoft at:

Declaring Or Changing Majors

To be accepted as a Political Science major and to be admitted to Upper Division in the College of Arts and Sciences, complete the Request for Change of Major/Request for Acceptance into Upper Division form, available at or from the Office of the Registrar. To qualify, students must: 1) Have at least 60 credits, 2) A minimum 2.0 GPA, and 3) Have either passed or been exempted from the CLAST (see CLAST portion of your SASS to verify completion). If you transferred with an AA, and declared Political Science as your major at that time, then you are already in upper division, and do not need to apply again. Students changing their major to Political Science from another degree program must also submit this form. Warning!! Important!! Failure to be accepted into Upper Division, or failure to pass the CLAST requirement by the time you reach 72 credits, will result in one or more administrative holds being placed on your registration. It's a hassle and will delay your registration. So do take care of the CLAST and apply to Upper Division as soon as you are able.

Minors, Double Majors, And Certificate Programs

Minors, second majors, and certificate programs are simply more structured ways of organizing some or all of your general elective credits. One is not required to have a minor, etc., and may instead choose to complete his or her own plan of elective coursework outside the major. Information on requirements for minors and other majors can be obtained through the FIU catalog. Students wishing to declare a minor or second major must complete the Request to Add a Second Major/Minor form


(, after they have been admitted to Upper Division status. Whereas minors are offered by academic departments (Economics, Psychology, Business Administration, etc.) Certificate Programs are interdisciplinary minors in a given subject area (National Security Studies, European Studies, Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Women's Studies, etc.). For further information on certificate programs, consult the FIU catalog.

The Department of Political Science "4+1" (Accelerated M.A.) Program The Department of Political Science now offers, to a small number of highly select students who have or will have completed 90 credits, an accelerated Master's degree opportunity (often called the FIU "4+1" program). In essence, for those who have applied for and have been formally accepted into it, the "4+1" program allows seniors to take three 5000-level courses (9 graduate credits) and count those courses not only toward their B.A. degree requirements, but also toward the 30 credits required for the M.A. degree. That is, seniors selected into the program and who choose the approved three 5000-level courses will finish their undergraduate degrees but simultaneously also find themselves nearly 1/3 of their way toward the M.A. in Political Science. This accelerated M.A. option thus allows the selected students to complete an M.A. at FIU in less time and at less cost than would otherwise be possible. For further information and an application form, please contact Professor Kathryn DePalo ([email protected]), the Undergraduate Advisor, or Professor Ron Cox ([email protected]), the Graduate Director.


(Review the checklist of requirements on the last page of this guide) Curriculum For Majors A minimum of 120 credits are needed for a B.A. degree in Political Science. Thirty-six of those credits (12 courses) make up the Political Science major. These 12 courses are arranged into three sets of requirements.

I) Common Prerequisites (2 courses / 6 credits) The Common Prerequisites are required introductory courses for the major and should be among the first Political Science courses taken. Although they are called "prerequisites," they need not be completed prior to enrolling in 3000/4000 level Political Science courses. Two Common Prerequisite courses are required. · POS 2042 American Government (or its equivalent) must be completed by all majors. · EITHER, CPO 2002 Introduction to Comparative Politics (or its equivalent), OR, INR 2001 Introduction to International Relations (or its equivalent) must be completed by all majors. Some transfer students will have already taken these or equivalent courses at other institutions, and should not repeat them at FIU. If you have a question regarding course equivalencies, contact the advisor.


II) The Breadth Requirement (4 courses / 12 credits) This is designed to acquaint all majors with the four general fields of Political Science. One three semester hour course must be taken in each of the following subfields, for a total of 12 semester hours. These courses may not include special topics courses, independent study, or internship.

1. 2. 3. 4.

American Politics: One course, 3000 level or above, with POS prefix. Comparative Politics: One course, 3000 level or above, with CPO prefix. International Relations: One course, 3000 level or above, with INR prefix. Political Theory: One course, 3000 level or above, with POT prefix.

III) The Political Science Electives Requirement (6 courses / 18 credits) The elective requirement consists of six upper division courses with POS, CPO, INR, or POT prefixes, for a total of 18 credits. No more than 6 credits in independent study and/or internship can be applied toward the Political Science Electives Requirement. These are elective courses taken within the Political Science major, selected from all 3000/4000 level Political Science classes. Electives within the major enable students to concentrate in preferred subfields (i.e., Political Theory, Comparative and International Politics, etc.), or to continue to take a broad selection of Political Science courses.

Please note the following policy regarding completion of the major: All courses meeting major requirements must be passed with a grade of "C" (not "C-") or better. Passing grades lower than "C" will provide credit for that course, and the class can count as a general elective, but will not satisfy major requirements.

Curriculum For Minors

A Political Science minor consists of six courses (18 credits), passed with a grade of C or better: Lower Division Requirement (3 credits) POS 2042 American Government (or its equivalent) Upper Division Requirement (15 credits) Five courses, 3000 level or above, from at least two of the department's prefixes (CPO, INR, POS, or POT) not including Independent Study or Internship courses. All courses for the minor must be passed with a `C' or better grade. A grade of `C-' in a course will not fulfill the requirements of the minor. Students should select specific courses in consultation with their major advisor and the Political Science undergraduate advisor. Students must apply for a minor by completing a Request for Minor Form and have it signed by their Major and Minor Advisors.


Independent Study

This course is designed only for students in exceptionally good academic standing who may wish to pursue an intellectual interest that is not covered by regular course offerings. It is not for students who have schedule conflicts, etc. Written permission of the instructor is required prior to registration, and arrangements for independent study need to be made during the preceding semester (not during registration). The student requesting an Independent Study should prepare a proposed research or readings topic and discuss the possibility of doing the work with the appropriate faculty member. A student should have taken at least one or two courses with an instructor prior to proposing an independent study. Each instructor has her or his own guidelines for independent study classes, and generally few are made available. Independent study is a much more personal form of coursework, and you should expect considerably more work and more exacting standards of evaluation for an Independent Study than for a regular course.

Public Affairs Internships

The Department is committed to providing opportunities for practical experiences in governmental and nongovernmental agencies. Four categories of internships are open to qualified students: 1. Judicial Internships (Prerequisites: POS 3283-Judicial Process or equivalent) 2. Legislative Internships (Prerequisites: POS 3424-Legislative Process or equivalent) 3. Campaign Internships (In election year). (Prerequisites: POS 3443-Political Parties, or POS 4233-Public Opinion) 4. Washington Center Internships (administered through the Washington Center, an organization providing opportunities for semester length programs of internship and coursework in Washington, D.C. See for further information). Standards for enrollment as an intern student include: · · · · Enrollment is by permission of the instructor only. A student wishing to enroll as a public affairs intern should consult with the appropriate faculty member early in the preceding semester and receive written permission to enroll. A 3.0 GPA is required. A Political Science major may count a maximum of six credit hours in internships toward his/her major. All public affairs internships in Political Science will be on a Pass/Fail basis. For further information on internships, contact the Political Science undergraduate advisor.

Political Science Honor Society and The Honors College

If you are a Political Science major in exceptionally good academic standing you will likely want to inquire about being inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society. For further information, see:, or contact the Pi Sigma Alpha faculty advisor, Dr. Lucas or FIU chapter president. Another opportunity for all FIU students (not just Political Science majors) who are in exceptionally good academic standing is the FIU Honors College. Even if you are a transfer


student, or already in to your work at FIU, participation in the Honors College may be an option for you. For further information, see:

PART III: THE REST OF THE STORY Evaluation Of Transfer Credit

The Registrar's Office will automatically accept up to 60 hours of eligible transfer credits, but under no circumstances will the University accept more than 60 lower division (1000/2000 level) transfer credits. In addition to 60 lower division credits, the Registrar will accept up to 30 additional upper division (3000/4000 level) credits from a 4 year college or university, for a maximum total of 90 transfer credits. However, the transfer of any credits above 60 must be on the recommendation of your major department and must be at the 3000/4000 level. FIU requires that all degreeseeking students complete their last 30 credits at FIU unless you have been granted permission by the Dean's Office and Registrar to do otherwise. Any transfer credits in Political Science courses must be approved by the advisor before they can be applied to fulfilling the requirements for a major or minor. A maximum of 15 upper division transfer credits in Political Science may be applied to the major, and a maximum of 6 upper division transfer credits may be applied to the minor. Political Science credits taken elsewhere, beyond those limitations, can usually be counted as general electives applying to your 120 credit total.

University Core Curriculum (UCC) Requirements:

Transfer Students with a Florida AA degree are exempt from FIU's University Core Curriculum requirements. All other students entering or transferring to FIU as of Summer B 2003, must meet the UCC. See checklist of UCC requirements:

General Electives

General Elective credits are what are left over after accounting for all Core, Major, and other University, College, or Departmental requirements. Depending on how one has gone about meeting other degree requirements, a student may have 24 to 30, or more General Elective credits which must be completed in order to reach the 120 credits required for a degree. General Electives are normally taken outside your major department, and are used to complete minors, certificates, second majors, or to just take some useful or interesting courses. For Political Science majors, these courses really can be chosen from just about any classes offered at the University (business, journalism, science, fine arts ­ anything) so long as the courses are appropriate to your academic background. In planning your General Elective courses, keep in mind that the College of Arts and Sciences requires you to take a minimum of 9 credits of upper division (3000/4000 level) general electives outside your major during your last 60 credit hours of work. So, while one could take further credits in Political Science to serve as General Electives, you do need at least 9 upper division


elective credits outside of Political Science. However, we encourage you to choose electives from outside the department, from a variety of possible fields and disciplines. Many will opt for additional coursework in other social science and humanities departments. However, electives in areas such as computer science, statistics, public administration, business, or other "applied" disciplines also provide useful skills. Courses in art, theater, and similar areas will provide their own benefits. Want to hone your public speaking skills? Study a foreign language in a serious way? Go for it. These credits are for you to use as you see fit. As a Political Science major, the only university courses that cannot be taken for general elective credit (or count toward graduation) are 1 credit physical education courses (i.e., judo, weight training, etc.).

The 48 Upper Division Credit Requirement

In planning out your elective credits, it is important to keep one other thing in mind. The College of Arts and Sciences requires that you have at least 48 credits of upper division (3000/4000 level) course work out of your minimum total of 120 credits (the idea here is to avoid a situation where someone has "loaded up" on Freshman and Sophomore level coursework). This 48 upper division credit requirement includes the 30 upper division credits needed for the Political Science major, and thus means that you must have an additional 18 upper division credits beyond that in general electives (and remember, at least 9 of those credits must be outside of Political Science). This requirement rarely poses a problem, and most meet it simply by completing their major, minor, and other electives. There is a separate box on your SASS report which will assist you in keeping track of your progress in meeting this requirement. This also means that even if you transferred to FIU with 60 lower division credits (which is the maximum lower division credits you may transfer in), once you are here, one could take up to 12 additional lower division credits (if needed to meet pre-requisite, foreign language, or other requirements), and still complete everything within the 120 credit minimum.

The Foreign Language Requirement

s (Yes ­ there are two).

One foreign language requirement applies to all undergraduates completing degrees in the Florida State University System (the FLENT/FLEX requirement), and the other applies to all FIU majors within the College of Arts and Sciences (including Political Science). The main difference between the two requirements is that the first (FLENT/FLEX) can be met through satisfactory completion of two years of work in one foreign language in high school, and the other (College of Arts and Sciences) cannot be satisfied through high school courses. As a Political Science major, you must satisfy the College of Arts & Sciences requirement. To do so, a student must demonstrate competency in a foreign language at or exceeding a second semester college level foreign language course passed with a "C" or better. Such competency is usually demonstrated in one of the following ways: · Complete the two semester introductory sequence in any foreign language (i.e., SPN 1130 and SPN 1131), with grades of C or better in both. · If your knowledge of the language is such that you would not need the first course, you may just take the second semester course by itself (i.e., SPN 1131), with a grade of C or better.


· Complete any ONE 2000, 3000, or 4000 level foreign language course, with a grade of C or better. · Attain a satisfactory score on the CLEP exam, SAT II, or demonstrate competency in some other accepted fashion (i.e., transcripts showing that you have completed high school or college courses taught in a language other than English, etc.). A few other points: · Students already fluent in a language may not take the introductory courses (but may test out of the requirement or take a more advanced course). · For questions regarding CLEP, contact the FIU Testing Office

· Passing the CLEP exam will always meet the foreign language requirement, but CLEP credits count as lower division transfer credits. Thus, if you have already transferred 60 lower division credits to FIU, or if you are in your last 30 credits of work toward your degree, you will not be able to count additional CLEP credits toward the 120 credits required for graduation. However, passing the CLEP will still meet the requirement and is often the simplest, most efficient way of doing so. If you have questions, or if you believe you have met one or both requirements, and there are still "NO's" on your SASS in those two boxes, see your advisor.

Academic Warning, Probation, and Dismissal

If your overall FIU GPA falls below a 2.0, you will be subject to Academic Warning, Probation, and Dismissal. Be sure you understand this policy. Once dismissed, the Department adheres to a strict policy of not recommending that students be readmitted prior to a calendar year (three terms) passing. See further information at:


Students planning to graduate must complete an Application for Graduation from the Graduation Office, and file it no later than the 2nd week of classes in the semester in which they intend to graduate. The graduation application may be obtained at: Graduation Check - Seniors should request a graduation check with the department's undergraduate advisor prior to registering for their last semester. It remains the student's responsibility, however, to ensure all requirements are fulfilled. Once you have registered for courses in your final semester, if you see any outstanding "NO's" on your SASS, see your advisor. Unless those "NO's" are cleared, you will not graduate. Avoiding Graduation Disasters - Review "The Top Ten Reasons Students Don't Graduate When They Think They Should," before you apply for graduation.'t%20grad.htm


PART IV: ODDS & ENDS Registration Holds:

There are literally dozens of holds that can be placed on a student's registration. The most common for Political Science majors are: · CLAST Holds ­ The CLAST hold is applied to all students who have more than 96 credits and have still not cleared the CLAST requirement. To remove this hold, download the appropriate form from and obtain advisor signature.

Q: AUGGHHH!! There's so much stuff to keep track of!! Where do I go for help?

· If the question is about a particular class, speak with your professor. If the issue cannot be resolved there, see the Department Chairperson. · If the question is about your academic work in general, career plans, etc., see any faculty member in the Department. · If the question has to do with Core Curriculum (lower division) requirements, see an advisor in Undergraduate Studies (PC 245). · If you have a question about Political Science requirements, your SASS, graduation requirements, etc., see the departmental advisor. · If you have transcript or transfer credit issues, see the Registrar's Office. · If you have complicated advising issues, we may refer you to the College of Arts and Sciences Advising Center in the Dean's Office: but see the departmental advisor first. · Sources For Other Frequently Requested University Information: · · · · Academic Misconduct: Registration and Class Schedule Information: Access to Panther Soft: CLAST, CLEP, and Other Testing Information: University Policies on Incomplete Grades, Dropping Courses, The Forgiveness Policy, etc.: Financial Aid: Student Evaluations of Faculty: Career Services Center: Personal Counseling Center: Learning Center (CLAST support, Writing Lab, all kinds of academic assistance and tutoring


· · · · ·


· The Department of Political Science offers the full range of graduate programs, leading to the Masters and Ph.D. For information, see the Department's Director of Graduate Studies, and


check the Department web-site: For information on graduate study in Political Science in general, and to learn about other programs at other schools, start with the web-site of the American Political Science Association:, and discuss your plans with any of the Political Science faculty with whom you have worked, or who specialize in your areas of interest. Also understand that if you wish to do graduate work in a field other than Political Science, many opportunities are open to you. You often do not have to have a Bachelor's degree in a field prior to doing graduate work. The Masters in Business Administration, for instance, was primarily designed for people with non-business majors as undergraduates. The Masters in Public Administration or graduate programs in various of the social sciences or humanities are also open to Political Science majors. Do some research before concluding that any paths might be closed to you because of your undergraduate degree.


The Department of Politics and International Relations recognizes the interests and needs of the undergraduate Political Science major who plans to attend law school. The basic skills important to such students include how to (1) think logically, (2) read critically, and (3) write and present clearly and correctly. These skills are developed in a number of disciplines. Beyond these basic skills, the department encourages interested majors to acquire a broad background in Political Science or International Relations rather than to select only courses that deal with public law. The department publishes a pre-law handbook that addresses general questions for majors interested in pre-law, and the department's pre-law advisor will counsel majors students on specific concerns. In selecting electives, Political Science and International Relations majors should remember that the LSAT, as well as law schools requires the ability to read with comprehension concepts and logic and to express oneself with clarity and precision. Whether or not a given major will benefit from a particular elective is a question best answered by the student in close consultation with an advisor. Courses in History, Philosophy, Economics, Sociology, Psychology, Math, and English will probably all give relevant skills to majors interested in pre-law. Breadth of preparation is important. Whether a particular course in logic, writing or another area is the best choice can only be answered on an individual basis. There are a few sources for information that we think provide a good starting point. However, we are not associated with, nor do we formally endorse any of the information provided, and there are innumerable other sources available in print and on-line. A good place to start is the web page for the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which administers the LSAT exam Here you may obtain materials on the LSAT, but also links to a wealth of information, including direct links to most law schools in the United States. LSAC also produces numerous publications on most every aspect of law school, and their publication, "The ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools, is a standard reference, available through most bookstores.


The American Bar Association is another logical source of information. They have an extensive web site with a good deal of information on legal education. See, and Another, quite exhaustive source is the Internet Legal Research Guide. You will find extensive pre-law information, links to several universities' pre-law advising guides, and further links to information on the application process, scholarships, law school rankings, the legal profession, international programs, etc.: FIU's College of Law maintains its own website, at: However, the FIU law school is there to respond to inquiries regarding their program, and not to provide generic prelaw advising. Pre-law advising workshops are offered throughout the Fall and Spring semesters to students who are Political Science majors and minors.

Political Science And Other Career Options

For most, the question is not, "What can I do with a Political Science degree?" The question is, "What do I want to do, and can studying Political Science be a part of my overall plan to pursue the professional or personal goals I set?" Unlike degrees in accounting, engineering, or architecture, which are geared to particular professions, Political Science is a traditional academic or "Liberal Arts" degree (like English, history, philosophy, etc.). However, studying Political Science does help one develop a number of practical and marketable skills. As discussed in the previous section, we emphasize the development of strong communication and analytical skills which have wide application in both the public and private sectors. FIU Political Science graduates have found employment in a wide variety of positions in business, government, journalism, education, and the not-for-profit sector. Political Science majors can also become certified to teach secondary level social studies (middle school and high school) in public and private schools. Graduate programs, not only in Political Science, but in business, public administration, or other areas, may provide a more specific career direction for Political Science majors. The key to making decisions about one's future profession or to conducting a job search is to be thoughtful and energetic in your consideration of what you wish to do professionally, and how you might best go about it. In the process, consult with FIU's Career Services office on either campus to assist you with career counseling, resume preparation, interviewing, etc. In developing a program of study, there are certain things which may complement your work in Political Science and further contribute to one's marketability. Among them: A) Mastery of written English. All organizations value people who write well. B) Develop basic competence in a somewhat more "technical" field, such as economics, statistics, business administration, computer science, etc., or combine a Political Science major with a minor or a selection of courses in more "applied" areas, such as journalism, education, business, science, environmental studies, public administration, criminal justice, etc. Some of the various certificate programs available at FIU may also be helpful in this regard (see catalog). C) Blend your interests in Political Science with other interests and activities (i.e., one of our majors combined her interests in government and the performing arts and obtained a position with the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; still another combined his interests in politics and professional sports and works as a lobbyist for sports teams).


D) Seek a concentration within the major in a career related sub-field, such as public policy, urban affairs, or area studies in specific regions such as Latin America, Europe, etc. E) Develop fluency in a foreign language.

Check the following links for further career and job information: FIU's Career Services Office: American Political Science Association Quick Links for Students: American Political Science Association Jobs Resources: Teacher certification in social studies education: USA Jobs- United States Office of Personnel Management: America's Job Bank (Labor Department): Miami Dade County: Broward County: MonsterTRAK (one of the major job search services for college students): (Govt. and Political Science job resources): Political Resources on the Net (Links to Organizations, Governments, Media and more from all around the world ­ sorted by region and country): Occupational Outlook Handbook: What Color Is Your Parachute:



(Use this checklist to keep track of your progress in completing the major)

I. Common Prerequisites: (6 credits/2 Courses) Transfer students may have taken these courses or their equivalents at another institution. See advisor with questions regarding course equivalencies. ____ POS 2042 American Government (required for all majors) ____ Either, CPO 2002 Introduction to Comparative Politics, OR INR 2001 Introduction to International Relations

II. Breadth Requirements: (4 courses/ 12 credits)­ one from each of the following four subfields) _________________ American Politics (POS prefix, 3000 level or higher) _________________ Comparative Politics (CPO prefix, 3000 level or higher) _________________ International Politics (INR prefix, 3000 level or higher) _________________ Political Theory (POT prefix, 3000 level or higher)

III. Political Science Elective Requirements: (6 courses/ 18 credits) Six additional courses, 3000 level or above, with any departmental prefix (CPO, INR, POS, or POT). A maximum of 6 credits can be Independent Study and/or Internship credit. 1. ___________________________________________________ 2. ___________________________________________________ 3. ___________________________________________________ 4. ___________________________________________________ 5. ___________________________________________________ 6. ___________________________________________________

All courses meeting major requirements must be passed with a grade of "C" (not "C-") or better.



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