Jul 20, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Political Science (B.A., B.S.)

36 Major Hours, 120 Degree Hours

Students in this major must also complete requirements for a degree in the College of Arts & Sciences .

Students take one course from each of the following subfields: American Politics/Institutions, Public Administration/ Public Policy, and Comparative Politics/International Relations.


Choose 12 credits of any POLS coursework, only three of which may be internship credits. Only three credits from a faculty led program may be applied to the twelve credits of electives. 

B.A./B.S. to Public Administration MPA Accelerated program (fast-track)

Students in Political Science, Criminal Justice, International Studies, or Legal Studies degree programs who are interested in public service careers may apply to the fast-track to the Master of Public Administration program. Students would apply to the USD Graduate School during the spring of their junior year and be admitted to the USD Graduate School contingent on receipt of their undergraduate degree. After completing 90 hours (senior status), students may take 12 graduate hours that will count toward their undergraduate degree and also count toward the NASPAA accredited Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. After receiving their undergraduate degree and satisfactory progress in the four graduate courses, students would continue to pursue coursework leading to the MPA degree. Additional information about the accelerated degree can be found on the accelerated program catalog page  for the M.P.A. in Public Administration.

Political Science/Criminal Justice Double Major

Students double-majoring in Criminal Justice and Political Science take either CJUS 205 or POLS 205 (but not both), for a combined major totaling 69 credit hours. 

Students may also choose one (but not both) of the following options for a double major totaling 66 credit hours:

  • Students who complete CJUS 396 or POLS 380 may count 3 credits toward both majors; or
  • Students who complete CJUS 492 or POLS 492, Faculty Led Program, may count 3 credits toward both majors.  

Secondary Education/Political Science Education (B.A./B.S.)

See Political Science (B.A./B.S.) with Secondary Education Certification  for program requirements for degree along with the appropriate teaching certification courses.

Students must have a CGPA of 2.6 to co-register for EDFN 338  and SEED 296  and to be admitted to Teacher Education. Beginning Summer 2015, students must have a CGPA of 2.7 to be admitted to the Teacher Education Program.

Four-Year Program Guides and Costs

USD encourages students to take 15 credits per semester or 30 credits within the year in order to graduate in four years. To help students complete their academic degree program in four years, we provide a sample academic plan. Please work with your academic advisor to confirm your plan. 

Location Matters for Non-Licensure Track Programs

This program is not designed or advertised to lead to a professional license or certification required for employment.

USD is permitted to operate under the terms of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA) policies and standards in offering online courses/degree programs to residents in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.  Online courses/programs may also be offered to residents of California (a non-SARA state) because it does not regulate out-of-state public institutions.

Additionally, this program is authorized to offer supervised field study experiences (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) in South Dakota. Please be aware that there may be some restrictions on your ability to engage in supervised field study outside of South Dakota. Please contact a program representative if you have questions regarding supervised field study.

Distance education courses or programs will not be offered outside of the United States without prior written approval from the University, which may be withheld for any reason. If you are taking distance courses while physically located outside of the United States, it is your responsibility to confirm the following: (a) if the country will recognize an online degree; (b) the availability of supervised field study opportunities in the country; and (c) if the country charges any additional taxes, withholdings or fees associated with online distance education programs.

For more information, please visit USD’s State Authorization page or contact your admissions counselor.