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Political Science, International Affairs, and Public Policy & Administration Frequently Asked Questions


 What majors does the Political Science Department Offer?

The department offers three undergraduate majors: Political Science (POSC), International Affairs (INTA), and Public Policy & Administration (PPA). See our alumni’s perspectives on these majors.

 How many students have one of these majors at JMU?

We have nearly 1,000 students total across these three majors.

 Are there any GPA restrictions or prerequisites needed before declaring one of these majors?

No. Any student can declare one of these majors. Students do need a 2.0 GPA in the major (and a 2.0 GPA overall) to graduate from JMU, but there are no GPA minimums in order to declare our majors.

 How do I see the curriculum (required courses and electives) for these majors?

See the current curriculum for:

 What minors does the department offer?

We offer minors in Political Science, Public Policy & Administration, and Political Communication. Follow this link for more information about all three minors.

 How do students in this department study abroad?

Over half of our department's faculty have led study-abroad programs. If you'd like advice on studying abroad, reach out to your academic advisor for guidance regarding how to enhance the fit between your planned study-abroad experience and your academic work on campus. You can see a list of all programs tied to our department (in addition to all other JMU programs).

 How does the political science department support students’ career exploration and development?

The department and its Alumni Board co-sponsor three annual career workshops – two on campus, the other in Washington, DC. These workshops put students in direct contact with alumni working in fields related to our majors: policymaking, campaign politics, law, the non-profit sector, international NGOs, lobbying, intelligence, government contracting, as well as for state, local and federal agencies. In turn, our Career Peer Advising program organizes various workshops on different career fields and career exploration topics. Our courses require students to deal with real-life societal problems that involve a wide array of stakeholders with relevance for public-sector, nonprofit, and private-sector concerns. Find more information on career programming in our department.

 Which graduate programs does the department offer?

We offer two graduate programs—a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Political Science with a concentration in European Union Policy Studies. For JMU undergraduates, a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree can together be earned in five years in either of these programs.

For more info on the MPA program, contact Dr. Fred Mayhew.

For more info on the Masters in European Union Policy Studies, contact Dr. Charles Blake.

 Is it easy to double-major or add minors at JMU?

Many students have double-majors and minors at JMU. Courses can double count across majors and minors, so if you are an International Affairs (INTA) major, for example, the Economics and Foreign Languages courses you take as part of the INTA major can also count toward an ECON or Foreign Languages major or minor.

 Is there a pre-law major or minor at JMU?

No, but JMU offers pre-law advising and resources. While pre-law is not a major nor a minor at JMU, students can declare an interest in pre-law the same way they would declare a major or minor. The pre-law interest will be reflected on the student’s transcript and the student will be notified of pre-law events.

 Are there advisors on campus with a specialty in pre-law programs?

Yes, there are several listed on the pre-law website. Four professors in the Political Science Department are active in pre-law advising, including the head of the pre-law advising program, Dr. Melinda Adams.

 What if I’m interested in political science and want to teach primary, secondary, or special education?

Contact Dr. John Hulsey, the liaison between the Political Science Department and the College of Education at JMU.

 Is admission to the Washington Semester Program competitive? And what year do students usually do the Washington Semester?

Yes, you must apply to the JMU Washington Semester program, but most students who desire to do the program get in if they apply by the first deadline. Approximately 20 students per semester participate in this program. Students who participate in the Washington Semester typically do so during their Junior or Senior year at JMU.

 Where can I go for more information?

The department’s website contains a lot of helpful information about our majors, faculty, internships, Washington Semester, graduate programs, and much more.

Contact Dr. Jon Keller, the Chair of the Political Science Department, with any questions about the department as a whole. For questions regarding specific programs, see the Departmental Contacts portion of the departmental website.

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