Major in Politics and International Affairs

The major in politics and international affairs entails taking classes in American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. No more than one class in each of the four subfields is required.

First and Second-Year Students: If you are interested in majoring in politics and international affairs, we encourage you to enroll in one or two introductory classes in the fields listed above during your first and second year in College. In addition, majors need to to take STA 111 (previously MTH 109) as partial fulfillment of the methodology requirement Thus, in choosing your Division V requirements, you should be sure to take this class during your first two years in College.

In the spring semester of your sophomore year, you will declare your major. Once you have done so, you can register for classes in our department.

Honors Program

Students will be awarded Honors in Politics and International Affairs if their GPA in the major at the time of graduation is 3.8 or higher.

Overview of Major Requirements

The study of political science aims to understand the way in which policy for a society is formulated and executed and the moral standards by which policy is or ought to be set. For teaching purposes, the study of political science has been divided by the department into the following fields: (1) American politics, (2) comparative politics, (3) political theory, and (4) international politics. Introductory courses in these fields provide broad and flexible approaches to studying political life.

The major in politics and international affairs consists of thirty-one hours, of which, in all but exceptional cases, at least twenty-one hours must be completed at Wake Forest. When students take political science courses abroad, they have to be in Wake Forest approved programs and/or must have been certified by the department chair.

No more than six credit hours may be taken toward the major from introductory courses (100-level courses). Majors may not enroll in introductory courses during their senior year. Highly motivated students who would like to further expand or apply their study beyond the normal course of offerings can undertake internships, individual studies, or directed readings if they fulfill the minimum GPA requirements of 3.0. No more than three hours for any one or any combination of the following courses may be counted toward the major: Political Science 387, 388, or 389. Up to 3 credit hours may be counted toward the major by taking POL 286: Topics in Political Science.

Transfer hours toward the major are awarded on an individual case-by-case basis at the discretion of the department’s associate chairperson.

A minimum grade point average of 2.0 in all courses completed in Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest is required for graduation with the major.

What follows is a brief overview of the requirements for the major:

Students are required to complete at least three credit hours of coursework in each of the following four fields of Politics: American politics, comparative politics, political theory, and international politics.

Students must fulfill the department’s methodology requirement which consists of two classes: Pol 280 and STA 111 (previously MTH 109).
POL 280 provides an overview of the qualitative and quantitative methods prominent in studying political science. In addition, majors are required to take STA-111, which must be completed prior to or in concurrence with POL 280. The methods courses are prerequisites for the senior seminar and students are expected to take them prior to the end of the junior year and, in any case, prior to the senior seminar.

One political science seminar course (POL 399) normally taken in the senior year. The senior seminar provides an opportunity for majors to experience something comparable to a graduate seminar. As such, it is conducted more by discussion than by lecture and enables students to read and reflect upon advanced scholarly material. The seminar also offers students the opportunity in their final year to create a research paper of greater length and sophistication than is customary and to develop the research and writing skills appropriate to the task. Due to its workload, the senior seminar is a four-hour credit class.

Seminar Registration

Registration for seminars takes place in the spring semester of the junior year. An email from the Academic Coordinator with seminar descriptions will be sent to all rising seniors prior to registration. The email will contain further information regarding deadlines and procedures.

Latin-American Studies BA/MA

Majors in politics and international affairs who minor in Latin-American studies also have the opportunity to pursue a five-year cooperative BA/MA degree program at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. For further information please contact Dr. Peter Siavelis or visit