First-year and new transfer students should use the current Academic Catalog. All other students should use the archived catalog published the year they entered Johns Hopkins. 

All courses applied towards the major must be taken for a letter grade and students must receive a grade of C or higher. A maximum of six courses may come from transfer credit and only one letter-graded independent study of 3 credits may apply towards the major (unless honors thesis). The Department of Political Science does not award credit for the Advanced Placement Exam in government.


Subfield Courses

  • One 100 3-credit course in American Politics (AP)
  • One 100 3-credit course in Comparative Politics (CP)
  • One 100 3-credit course in International Relations (IR)
  • One 100 3-credit course in Political Theory (PT)
  • 100 level courses beginning with 191 do not count toward introductory political science subfield courses
  • 192.150 States, Regimes, & Contentious Politics can be counted toward the 100-level CP requirement

Writing and Communication in the Major

Students must complete at least 6 credits of Writing and Communication foundational ability coursework in one major. For this major, students would be able to fulfill this requirement by selecting:

  • Two (6 credits total) courses in Political Science that are designated as Writing and Communications courses. These courses may overlap with two of the 12 required political science courses.

Political Science Elective Courses

  • Three (9 credits) Political Science courses at any level
  • Five (15 credits) Political Science courses at the 300- to 400- level
  • At least four courses beyond the introductory classes (“100” level) must be denoted with a “190” designation (, though occasionally there are exceptions.  Check with the DUS or Political Science coordinator for exceptions.  (For students entering in the 2021 class and beyond.)

Cognate Courses

  • At any level for a total of 12 credits selected from the following areas: history, history of art, history of science & technology, philosophy, anthropology, geography, economics, sociology, psychology, and courses offered by the SNF Agora Institute.

Advising Contacts

Contacts for undergraduate advising for the Political Science Major.

Honors Thesis Program

Seniors may choose to write a senior research thesis. After the student has obtained approval from a faculty sponsor to supervise the project, the student will enroll in a three-credit thesis colloquium course during the fall semester of their senior year. If at the end of the fall semester adequate progress has been made and the project warrants further work, the student must enroll in a three-credit independent study supervised by the faculty sponsor.

Students who complete a distinguished senior thesis and have a final major GPA (including final semester grades) of 3.7 will be awarded departmental honors. All students may choose to write a thesis, regardless of GPA, provided they have a detailed proposal approved by a faculty member at the beginning of the fall semester of their senior year.

All thesis-related courses apply to a total of 12 political science courses required for graduation in the major.