Students majoring in politics at The Catholic University of America must take a set of required courses in the major and complete a comprehensive assessment, which consists of a senior exam and a senior writing assignment. The study of politics is divided into one of three main areas of specialization (or departmental “concentrations”): American government, world politics (which includes comparative politics and international relations), and political theory. All courses belong to one or more of these three concentrations.
To ensure familiarity with the three concentrations, all politics majors must take these three courses, usually during their first three semesters:
- POL 111 Introduction to American Government
- POL 112 Introduction to Comparative Politics
- POL 211 Introduction to Political Theory
Beyond these three, politics majors must take a minimum of nine (and a maximum of 11) additional elective courses in politics. Four of the nine must be in one concentration, and at least three must be outside it. Students who choose a concentration in world politics are required to take POL 212, Introduction to International Relations, in addition to the other three introductory courses. POL 212 counts as one of the nine required elective courses.
In addition to coursework, politics majors must also complete a two-part comprehensive exam, taken in the fall of the senior year (consisting of a multiple-choice portion and an essay portion).