Government and Politics Major

Director of Undergraduate Studies: David Cunningham, Ph.D.

Government and Politics is one of the largest majors on campus with over 1,000 students taking courses in American politics, international relations (formal concentration available), comparative politics, political theory, political methodology and formal theory, public law, and environmental policy. Its large and diverse group of students are mentored by faculty through a variety of in and out of classroom experiences and have been extremely successful in garnering campus and national awards, acceptance to competitive law and graduate programs, and exciting careers in all levels of government and the private sector. Courses offered by this department may be found under the acronym GVPT.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

The Department of Government and Politics offers programs for the general student as well as for students who are interested in careers in government, the public sector, foreign service, teaching, a variety of graduate programs, and law schools. In addition to the Government and Politics general curriculum, the department offers a formal concentration in International Relations as well as combined bachelor's/master's programs with the Master of Arts in International Relations and the Master of Science in Applied Political Analytics.

The study of politics is both an ancient discipline and a modern social science. The origin of the discipline can be traced back to the earliest times when philosophers, statesmen, and citizens studied the nature of government, justice, responsibility, and the consequences of political action. More recently, the study of politics has also emphasized scientific analysis and methods of observations about politics. Today, the discipline reflects a broad effort to collect data about politics and governments utilizing relatively new techniques developed by all of the social sciences.

The Department of Government and Politics combines philosophical and scientific concerns in its overall program as well as in specific courses. It emphasizes such broad areas as political institutions, political development, policy analysis, social justice, political economy, conflict, and human rights. These broad conceptual areas are integral components of study in the discipline. The areas are commonly referred to as American government and politics; comparative politics; international relations; political theory; political methodology, and public law.

Students may choose between two curriculums, one leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree (formal concentration in International Relations available) and the other to a Bachelor of Science. The Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics prepares students to understand and interpret political science research. The Bachelor of Science in Government and Politics is designed to provide students with the tools to produce political science research through advanced training in political methodology and data analysis.

Program Learning Outcomes

Having completed the degree program, students should have acquired the following knowledge and skills:

  1. Understand basic political science concepts including power, institutions, political systems, the state, political conflict, sovereignty, citizenship, authority, and justice.
  2. Identify causes of systemic bias and discrimination against underrepresented groups, including racism against Black people and African Americans, and critically evaluate theories and evidence in this area.
  3. Use political science concepts, modes of inquiry, and analytic skills to address contemporary problems, understand the politics of diversity, and encourage civic engagement.
  4. B.A. track: Demonstrate familiarity with the methods, approaches, and theories used to interpret information applicable to the discipline of political science.
  5. B.S. track: Understand, interpret, and produce empirical political science research using sophisticated quantitative methodology.
  6. B.A. track: Communicate key arguments and ideas in political science effectively in writing and speaking.
  7. B.S. track: Communicate key arguments and the results of empirical analyses effectively in writing and speaking.

In addition to the University's general education requirements, students must earn a minimum of 36 credit hours within GVPT (and no more than 42 credit hours) total within the major. At least 18 of the 36 credits must be in upper-level courses. Students who have completed or are in the process of completing 42 credits must get permission to take additional GVPT credits. A course used to fulfill one requirement for the major may not count towards any other GVPT major requirement. A minimum grade of "C-" is required in all major requirements.

Benchmark Requirements

In accordance with the University's policies, the Department of Government and Politics expects students to make timely progress toward graduation. To help measure progress during the early stages of a student's studies in government and politics, students must complete all coursework designated as benchmarks within a specified number of semesters in order to continue in the major.

Bachelor of Arts

Benchmark 1
Students must complete the following four courses within two semesters of entering the major:

  • GVPT170 with a grade of C- or higher

  • One 200-level GVPT course with a grade of C- or higher (may not be experiential learning)

  • One of STAT100, MATH107, MATH120, MATH135, MATH136, or MATH140 with a grade of C- or higher

  • Academic Writing with a grade of C- or higher

Note: At least one of the GVPT courses must not be from AP/IB/CLEP credit.

Bachelor of Science

Benchmark 1
​Students must complete the following four courses within two semesters of entering the major:

  • GVPT170 with a grade of C- or higher

  • GVPT201 with a grade of C- or higher

  • One of STAT100, MATH107, MATH120, MATH135, MATH136, or MATH140 with a grade of C- or higher

  • Academic Writing with a grade of C- or higher

Benchmark 2
​Students must complete the following course within one semester of completing Benchmark 1:

  • GVPT320 with a grade of C- or higher


Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts

Course Title Credits
College Requirements
Required Courses
GVPT170American Government3
Select one of the following:3-4
Elementary Statistics and Probability
Introduction to Math Modeling and Probability
Elementary Calculus I
Discrete Mathematics for Life Sciences
Calculus for Life Sciences
Calculus I
GVPT Theory Requirement
GVPT241The Study of Political Philosophy: Ancient and Modern3
GVPT Methods Requirement
GVPT201Scope and Methods for Political Science Research3
GVPT Courses of Choice
GVPT Courses of Choice (any level)9
GVPT Courses of Choice 300-400 level18
Skills Requirement
ECON200Principles of Microeconomics3
Completion of a foreign language through the entire elementary level 14-12
Quantitative Skills course 23
Additional Skills course (Intermediate-level foreign language course or additional quantitative course from approved list 1,23-6
Total Credits52-64
1

See GVPT website for approved foreign language course list, https://gvpt.umd.edu/undergraduate/major-requirements. Students may be eligible for exemption from the foreign language requirement(s) based on demonstrated language proficiency, see GVPT website for details.

2

See GVPT website for approved Quantitative Skills course list, https://gvpt.umd.edu/undergraduate/major-requirements


Requirements for the International Relations Concentration

(International Relations Concentration available with Bachelor of Arts only)

Course Title Credits
College Requirements
Required Courses
GVPT170American Government3
Select one of the following:3-4
Elementary Statistics and Probability
Introduction to Math Modeling and Probability
Elementary Calculus I
Discrete Mathematics for Life Sciences
Calculus for Life Sciences
Calculus I
GVPT Theory Requirement
GVPT241The Study of Political Philosophy: Ancient and Modern3
GVPT Methods Requirement
GVPT201Scope and Methods for Political Science Research3
GVPT International Relations Foundational Courses
GVPT200International Political Relations3
GVPT280The Study of Comparative Politics3
or GVPT282 Politics and the Developing World
GVPT Courses of Choice
GVPT Course of Choice (any level)3
GVPT Course of Choice 300-400 level (any subfield)3
GVPT IR/Comparative Courses of Choice 300-400 level 115
Skills Requirements
ECON200Principles of Microeconomics3
Completion of a foreign language through the entire elementary level 24-12
Quantitative Skills course 33
Intermediate-level foreign language course 23-6
Total Credits52-64
1

See GVPT website for approved IR/Comparative course list, https://gvpt.umd.edu/undergraduate/major-requirements

2

See GVPT website for approved foreign language course list, https://gvpt.umd.edu/undergraduate/major-requirements. Students may be eligible for exemption from the foreign language requirement(s) based on demonstrated language proficiency, see GVPT website for details.

3

See GVPT website for approved Quantitative Skills course list, https://gvpt.umd.edu/undergraduate/major-requirements


Requirements for the Bachelor of Science

Course Title Credits
College Requirements
Required Courses
GVPT170American Government3
Select one of the following:3-4
Elementary Statistics and Probability
Introduction to Math Modeling and Probability
Elementary Calculus I
Discrete Mathematics for Life Sciences
Calculus for Life Sciences
Calculus I
GVPT201Scope and Methods for Political Science Research3
GVPT320Advanced Empirical Research3
GVPT Methods Requirements
GVPT Methods Course 300-400 level 13
GVPT Quantitative Methods Courses 300-400 level 16
GVPT Foundational Courses
Select one of the following:3
International Political Relations
The Study of Comparative Politics
Politics and the Developing World
GVPT Courses of Choice
GVPT Courses of Choice (any level)6
GVPT Courses of Choice 300-400 level9
Skills Requirements
ECON200Principles of Microeconomics3
Completion of a foreign language through the entire elementary level 24-12
Quantitative Skills courses 36
  
1

See GVPT website for approved GVPT Methods and Quantitative Methods course options, https://gvpt.umd.edu/undergraduate/major-requirements.

2

See GVPT website for approved foreign language course list, https://gvpt.umd.edu/undergraduate/major-requirements. Students may be eligible for exemption from the foreign language requirement(s) based on demonstrated language proficiency, see GVPT website for details.

3

See GVPT website for approved Quantitative Skills course list, https://gvpt.umd.edu/undergraduate/major-requirements

Click here for roadmaps for four-year plans in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Additional information on developing a four-year academic plan can be found on the following pages: