Curriculum to suit your interest

You may pursue either the bachelor of arts (B.A.) or bachelor of science (B.S.) degree in Political Science or International Relations. You may also choose to earn an Online Political Science B.A. Earning a bachelor of arts educates students broadly in political systems and politics. Earning a bachelor of science provides extra training in quantitative research skills, which is especially helpful for you if you are planning to pursue advanced degrees in political science, public administration, or public policy. Both degrees open up a wide variety of career options. If you wish, you may choose a “track” within these majors to focus their education on the areas that interest you the most.

In addition to major degrees, we also offer a Minor in Political Science, Minor in International Relations, a Social Science Analytics Certificate, and a Political Risk Analysis Certificate.

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"You should come to Iowa–and the Political Science Department specifically–because we are The Writing University. Your writing and research skills will drastically improve, and those are things that will become important in whatever career you enter."

– Zach Springer, Political Science major


Political Science B.A. and B.S.

Political science examines the politics within nations, from national institutions such as Congress to local governments in cities and counties. The structure and administration of government is a focus, as is elections and public policy. Students gain a versatile set of skills that can be applied in a wide range of careers in the public and private sectors. Political science is also excellent preparation for advanced study in law, public policy, public administration, international service, and many other areas. Click on the links below for the curriculum requirements for a B.A. or B.S. in political science.

Political Science Emphasis Areas
You may complete one or two of the following emphasis areas while fulfilling the requirements for the B.A. or B.S. in political science. These “tracks” help you organize a cohesive set of courses in areas that interest them the most. To qualify for an emphasis area, you must take at least four of the courses listed for the specific emphasis area. However, courses cannot be counted twice for multiple emphasis areas. Full list of emphasis areas and courses available

Emphasis Area Application

Emphasis area selections must be made at least one month in advance of your anticipated graduation date. The department verifies your qualifying courses after final semester grades and notifies the Registrar for recognition of the emphasis area on your final transcript.

Online Political Science B.A.

The Department of Political Science online program enables students to earn a B.A. in political science from anywhere in the world without sacrificing a quality education. To apply, visit and create an undergraduate application within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

In addition to the standard University of Iowa CLAS undergraduate admissions requirements, to be eligible for admission to the online program:

  • Students must have completed a high-school degree at least three years before admission and have at least 24 semester hours of graded college-level transfer credit with a GPA of 2.00 or higher.


  • Students must have earned an Associate of Applied Science (AAS), Associate of Science (AS), or Associate of Arts (AA) with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above for all college-level transfer credit.

Program Features & Benefits

  • Bachelor of arts degree awarded by the University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS)
  • Online courses taught by on-campus faculty
  • Academic advising and instructor office hours via web meeting
  • Iowa resident and out-of-state students pay the same tuition
  • Flexible and self-paced options

Degree Requirements
Students in the online degree program are held to the same degree and major requirements as on-campus students. More information about the political science degree requirements can be found in the General Catalog.

International Relations B.A. and B.S.

International relations seeks to understand relationships among nations and other global actors, such the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Students gain a fundamental understanding of the world order and also develop focused expertise by completing requirements for one of the “tracks” in the field. International Relations provides outstanding preparation for work in the diplomatic service, multinational corporations, intelligence organizations, international associations, think tanks, global public health agencies, or transnational media organizations. Click on the links below for the curriculum requirements for a B.A. or B.S. in international relations:

International Relations Tracks
International relations majors may create a self-designed track or select one of the following tracks. Visit the links below for a list of courses and credit hours you will need for each track.


Minor in Political Science

The political science minor provides you with an understanding of domestic and international political processes. This minor is a relevant complement for several majors and provides a career advantage in pursuing jobs in finance, business, sustainability, and more. You may choose an emphasis area in the minor and request a letter from the Department of Political Science noting the completion of a specific emphasis area.

Minor in International Relations

The international relations minor gives you an understanding of foreign affairs and the option to specialize in a specific region or country. Gain essential preparation for careers in foreign affairs, international business, or the defense industry. This minor complements several majors and offers the opportunity to select relevant courses from Political Science, History, Economics, Business, Global Health Studies, Geography, Human Rights, Criminology, and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies.


Certificate in Social Science Analytics

The growth of big data and informatics means that many social science fields call for an increased understanding of the logic of data collection and analysis. The certificate focuses on the application side of data analysis. Students learn specific research methods and quantitative skills using data-driven methods necessary for understanding an increasingly complicated social-political world. Certificate coursework includes many opportunities for interdisciplinary training on how data can be used to address important questions in the social sciences.


Certificate in Political Risk Analysis

The certificate in risk analysis prepares students to work in a growing area of focus for many corporations and international organizations—political risk analysis or risk intelligence. Risk analysis focuses on the effect that country characteristics and events have on sovereign risk (the ability of a country to repay its debts), company security, supply chains, and the safety of individuals working or traveling in a country.