Political Science Major Resources

Political Science Major Resources

The Political Science major is designed to enhance students’ knowledge of politics, policy, governance, and government ranging from a global to a local perspective. It will help them become knowledgeable citizens capable of reasoned judgments on political issues and ideas.

Here you will find:
● Key information about your major
● How and when to meet with your major advisor
● Planning tools that will help you track your progress in the major
● Ways to explore career opportunities related to the Political Science major
Take a few moments to look at the information below. It will help you plan effectively and avoid surprises during your studies at John Jay.
POL Requirements

Major Requirements

You are responsible for the major requirements that were in effect when you declared the major. To confirm the requirements you should be following, go to the Undergraduate Bulletin for that academic year. For example, if you declared the Political Science major in Fall 2015 or Spring 2016, you would click on the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin. If you declared the major and then left the College for more than one full semester, you’re responsible for the major requirements in effect when you return, if they have changed. Not sure when you declared the major? Find out here.
Below, find the Undergraduate Bulletin that was in effect when you declared the major.

POL Courses That Meet General Education Requirements

Each of the following POL courses can count toward your major requirements and toward your General Education requirements:

  • World Cultures: POL 246 (Concentration D only)

  • U.S. Experience: POL 101 (prerequisite to the major)

  • Individual & Society: POL 237 (Concentration C only)

  • College Option 300-level Justice: POL 318 (Concentration A only), POL 320 (Concentration D only)


Major Advising

Major Advising in Fall/Spring

Political Science major advising is being done remotely in Fall 2020. Please have a copy of both your CUNYfirst unofficial transcript and your Degree Audit on hand to prepare for your appointment.
Professor Brian Arbour
Email for an appointment.
Professor Jennifer Rutledge
Email for an appointment.
Professor Andrew Sidman
Monday and Tuesday drop-in Zoom advising hours: 1:30 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.


Meeting ID: 960 9831 1189
Password: 24680
Wednesday and Thursday advising appointments: 9:00 p.m.- 10:00 p.m. 
Please schedule an appointment via Calendly before noon on the day you would like the appointment:
Cat Kleint (General Education and POL Advisor)
Cat is a general academic advisor and Major Advisor who can provide you with an overview and breakdown of gen ed and major requirements, answer questions, and confirm your academic progress.
Advising hours:
Monday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Book a remote advising appointment with Cat by logging onto AdvisorTrac, or emailing her directly. You'll be able to choose from three advising options: Zoom video, Zoom phone, or email.

Major Advising in Summer/Winter


Registration and Major Holds

Sophomores with 45-59 credits may have a hold on their registration. The hold will be removed when they have a major advising appointment with Dr. Rutledge or Dr Arbour. This meeting will encourage wise planning and allow students to ask any questions they may have about the major. Students must bring a copy of their current transcript  (unofficial is fine) and most recent degree audit. How do you know if you have a major hold? Go to CUNYfirst and complete the following steps:


  1. Check the Holds box of your CUNYfirst Student Center. If "Advisement Required" appears, click on “details.”



  1. Click on “Advisement Required.”

  1. See which type of advisement you need. If you must see a major advisor, then make a major advising appointment following the steps preferred by this department.



Plan Ahead: Graduate on Time


Political Science majors must choose one concentration (area of focus) from the following options:
A. Law, Courts, and Politics
B. Justice and Politics
C. American and Urban Politics and Policy
D. Comparative/International Politics and Human Rights


Declare a concentration before you take your concentration courses. If you are unsure about which concentration to choose, see a major advisor.

Double check your DegreeWorks page to make sure you are in the correct concentration. If your concentration in DegreeWorks is incorrect, file a Change of Major form at Jay Express to declare your correct concentration.

Avoid Course Planning Mistakes!

As you progress through the POL major, keep the following important information in mind:

  • Take POL 101 as early as possible, since it is the prerequisite for all major courses.

  • Take POL 225 before POL 409.

  • We have fewer offerings at night. Night students should speak with a major advisor if they are having issues registering.

  • Do not count on courses being available in summer or winter sessions. We offer only a few courses during these sessions.

  • Take advantage of early registration windows, especially if you are near the end of your program.
  • ​​Remember that you will need at least a 2.0 in the major and at least an overall 2.0 GPA to graduate.

Monitor Your Progress in the Major

  • DegreeWorks degree audit - Use this online planning tool to track your overall progress toward graduation. You will see which of your general education and major requirements are completed, in progress, or still needed.  Refer to the DegreeWorks FAQs to better understand how to use this helpful tool. Note: be sure to confirm the accuracy of your degree audit with a general advisor and major advisor.

  • Political Science Major Checklist - Fill out this printable worksheet to keep track of which major requirements you have completed and which ones you still need.

  • Sample Four Year Plan - See an example of how you could complete all your degree requirements (major, general education, electives) and graduate in four years! Remember that this sample plan shows just one possible way to combine your requirements. Transfer students in particular should work with advisors to determine a plan that works best for them.

Meet with a General Academic Advisor

A General Academic Advisor will confirm what general academic requirements you still need, make suggestions about smart course planning that will help you graduate without delays, discuss your interest in adding a minor or second major, inform you about opportunities such as study abroad, discuss general questions and concerns, and make helpful referrals. Visit the Academic Advisement Center's webpage for more information.


Political Science and Careers

Career Opportunities Related to Political Science

A political science degree enhances students’ understanding of government, politics and policy, and develops critical thinking, research, and writing skills. As a result, it is a great foundation for a wide range of jobs, including but not limited to the following:
  • Administrator (corporate, government, non-profit)
  • Attorney
  • CIA Agent or Analyst
  • City planner
  • Journalist
  • Government relations specialist
  • Policy analyst
  • Political commentator
  • State, local, or national legislator
  • Teacher
  • Urban planner
For more detailed information on these and other career ideas, visit the Center for Career & Professional Development. CCPD staff are available to meet individually with students and alumni in L72.00 New Building. To request a 45-minute counseling appointment, log on to John Jay Careers Online. 15-minute drop-in sessions are also available Mon-Fri 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Stop by in person earlier the same day to schedule a drop-in session.

Graduate Degree in Political Science

Do you like conducting research about politics and government? Would you like to become an expert about a particular political or policy issue? If you answered “yes” to these questions, consider a graduate degree (MA or PhD) in political science. Speak with a major advisor to discuss your options, and follow our advice for graduate school applicants:


1. Do your research.

  • Look for programs with faculty and courses that match your interests.

  • Email faculty to express an interest in and ask questions about their program.

  • Search for and inquire about funding opportunities. Most PhD programs fully fund their students for at least 5 years, and many MA programs offer funding as well.


2. Write the GRE.

  • Most MA and PhD programs require this. Consider taking a prep course, like those offered by Princeton Review and Kaplan.


3. Carefully draft your personal statement.

  • Most graduate programs require a personal statement, so yours needs to be excellent.

  • Start writing early, and have multiple proof readers (especially your professors).

  • Follow instructions; adhere to word limits, formatting requirements, etc.

4. Request letters of reference.

  • Most graduate programs require letters of reference from at least 3 of your professors.

  • Ask your professors for letters well in advance of the application deadline.Be sure the professor can write you a strong letter—this is most likely to happen when you earned an A in his or her class.

  • Help your professors write strong letters: provide them with your transcript, resume, and information about your chosen programs (including where they should send the letter, and by when).