Political Science and International Relations


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The Political Science major consists of three parts: 1) the “core,” which includes a required, introductory course in each of four sub-fields (American government, international politics, comparative politics and political theory), a course on the scope and methods of the discipline, and a senior-level writing-intensive seminar; 2) a “concentration” of four electives from one of five sub-fields in the discipline (the four already listed, with law as a fifth sub-field); and 3) two electives from outside of the concentration sub-field (i.e., courses from any of the four sub-fields not selected as the concentration).

In addition to the formal course work, students are encouraged to seek out opportunities for practical experience. The department offers the highly regarded State Legislative Internship Program in Albany each spring semester. Other internship opportunities are available in local and federal government agencies, with law firms, in the offices of local politicians or with relevant private, non-profit agencies and organizations. Finally, in cooperation with the departments of Business and Communications, the department facilitates an internship opportunity with the Legislative Gazette, a weekly newspaper published in Albany by New Paltz students as the paper of record for the New York State Legislature. Graduates of internship programs have found positions in state government, industry, media relations, public policy, and communications and print journalism.

Political Science Major Requirements

I. Core (24 credits)

  • POL216 American Government & Politics
  • POL220 Athens & Jerusalem or POL323 Sovereigns & Subjects
  • POL227 Intro. to International Politics
  • POL229 Intro. to Comparative Politics
  • POL300 Polical Science Research Methods
  • POLxxx Senior Seminar

II. Electives (18 credits)

A. Twelve credits in one of the five subject areas offered by the Department: American Government and Politics, International Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, or Law.

B. Six credits are selected from among courses in the remaining four areas. (Six of the nine credits of the Albany Internship Program count as American Government and three as Law courses.)


Starting in Fall 2000, all majors are required to take a senior seminar in Political Science. All senior seminars require Research Methods as a prerequisite and are writing intensive, requiring a major research paper. No course earning a grade of less than C- will be counted in any Political Science major or minor. Courses used to meet the requirements of any other major or minor may not be used to meet the requirements of this major.

You can find a printable version of Political Science major plan here.


The International Relations major is interdisciplinary. The core disciplines are Political Science, Economics and History, with courses drawn from Geography, Anthropology, Black Studies, and Sociology. This major, which has been offered at New Paltz for more than 20 years, is the first of its kind in SUNY and one of the very few such majors at the undergraduate level in the Northeast. The program reflects New Paltz's strong commitment to the study of international issues going back many years. Students work with a diverse and highly qualified faculty, virtually all of whom have lived and worked overseas. The program benefits from the College's proximity to New York City which affords access to the United Nations, the United States Mission to the U.N., multinational organizations, non-governmental organizations and private non-profit agencies active in the international arena.

United Nations Semester Program: In 1997, the Department re-established its unique United Nations Semester Program, a six-credit course that combines weekly trips to the United Nations (to meet with diplomats, policy makers, United Nations personnel and people from the private sector) with traditional study of international organizations. This one-of-a-kind program introduces students to the practical side of international politics and gives them an opportunity to meet with men and women who grapple with these issues on a daily basis.

Harvard Model United Nations: Every year the Department sends a delegation to the Harvard Model United Nations. Students earn three credits and gain an opportunity to simulate international diplomacy while coming in contact with hundreds of other students from both private and public universities from across the Northeast.

Study Missions: In recent years the Department has sponsored student study missions to Israel, China, Russia and to the European Community. Students travel in the regions they are studying, and meet with government officials, politicians and private citizens who are living and dealing with the issues students read about in the classroom.

International Relations Major Requirements

I. Core (21 credits)

  • POL227 Intro. to International Relations
  • ANT214 Cultural Anthropology or ANT404 Political Anthropology or GEO Human Geography
  • ECO309 Economic Development of Latin America or ECO310 Economic Development of Asia-Pacific or ECO401 International Trade and Finance or ECO418 Economics of Development *
  • POL366 Contemporary American Foreign Policy or POL353 International Relations of the Americas or POL363 Chinese Foreign Policy and the US
  • POL300 Political Science Research Methods **
  • POLxxx Senior Seminar

*Either Microeconomics or Macroeconomics (ECO206 or ECO207) is a prerequisite to the international economics course.
** Political Science Research Methods is the prerequisite to the Senior Seminar. Students must complete Research Methods before they take the Seminar. The Seminar is offered each Spring; Research Methods is offered every semester. No substitute for the seminar will be accepted.

II. Elective Courses (18 credits)

  1. Twelve credits by advisement selected from among those courses accepted for credit in the International Relations Program (see list below) . No more than three credits are to be at the 200 level.
  2. Six Credits focusing on a single world area (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East) selected from among those courses accepted for credit in the International Relations Program.
  3. Nine of the 21 elective credits must be taken in classes offered in the Department of Political Science and International Relations.



ANT 214 Cultural Anthropology
ANT 305 Cultures of South America
ANT 378 Cultures of South Asia
ANT 380 Cultures of Africa
ANT 383 Culture of China
ANT 404 Political Anthropology
ANT 421 Gender and Anthropology


BLK 200 Introduction to Africa
BLK 302 Survey of Contemp. Africa: 19th Century to Present
BLK 309 Introduction to Afro-Brazilian History
BLK 311 Blacks in the Caribbean: 1492 to Present
BLK 347 History of South Africa
BLK 450 The Portuguese in Africa


ECO 206 Principles of Microeconomics or ECO 207 Principles of Macroeconomics
ECO 302 Comparative Economic Systems
ECO 401 International Trade and Finance
ECO 418 Economics of Development


GEO 252 Economic Geography
GEO 260 Understanding China
GEO 274 Environment and Culture
GEO 307 Understanding Latin America
GEO 405 Political Geography
GEO 506 Contemporary China


SOC 310 Comparative Political Economy
SOC 380 Social and Economic Development


Selected Topics courses appearing in the Schedule of Classes (293, 393, 493 courses) listed under International Relations will count as electives in the Major or Minor. Any course not on this list but included in the courses listed under International Relations in the Schedule of Classes will count for credit in the Major or Minor.


HIS 214 Modern Europe: 1500 to Present
HIS 216 Modern China
HIS 311 Modern Germany
HIS 315 Traditional China
HIS 317 World War II
HIS 332 Imperial Russia
HIS 333 Soviet Union
HIS 334 Traditional Japan
HIS 335 Modern Japan
HIS 340 Iran
HIS 343 History of Islam and Middle East
HIS 353 Twentieth-Century Europe
HIS 373 The Holocaust
HIS 467 The U.S. in Vietnam
HIS 469 U.S. Foreign Policy Since 1900
HIS 550 America and Vietnam


POL 220 Athens & Jerusalem: Political Thought in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds
POL 227 Introduction to International Politics
POL 229 Introduction to Comparative Politics
POL 300 Political Science Research Methods
POL 323 Sovereigns, Subject, and the State: Modern Political Thought
POL 324 International Relations Theory
POL 336 Middle Eastern Political Institutions
POL 339 Model United Nations
POL 341 Revolution and Counterrevolution
POL 342 Politics of Developing Areas
POL 344 Politics of International Economic Organizations
POL 345 War and International Politics
POL 346 International Political Economy
POL 347 Politics of Environment and Development
POL 353 International Relations of the Americas
POL 354 European Politics
POL 357 International Law
POL 363 Chinese Foreign Policy and the U.S.
POL 364 Nationalism in World Politics
POL 365 International Politics of Asia-Pacific
POL 366 Contemporary American Foreign Policy
POL 368 Defense Issues in American Foreign Policy
POL 369 Government and Politics of China and Japan
POL 370 United Nations Semester (6 credits)
POL 371 Latin American Politics
POL 372 International Relations of Middle East
POL 373 Russian Politics
POL 374 Politics of the European Union
POL 379 Women in Politics
POL 404 Seminar in International Relations


Courses used to meet the requirements of any other major or minor may not be used to meet the requirements of this major. No student earning a grade of less than C- will be able to count the course for credit in any International Relations major or minor.

Courses that may be used to meet the international economics requirement of the major in International Relations. Courses not listed here must be approved for international economics credit by the Chair.

You can find a printable version of the International Relations major plan here.