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Political Science, B.A. (Madrid)

SLU-Madrid's political science program fosters a theoretical and empirical understanding of key international dynamics, major crises and opportunities for change. It aims at giving students strong analytical skills and functional competencies specific to political science and international relations. Our goal is to strengthen our students' awareness of global events and to become actors for positive change.

Three students talk with a professor while they sit at a table with laptops and miniature international flags.

Major in Political Science

Saint Louis University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in international relations. It can be completed in Spain. You also have the option to begin your studies in other political science disciplines ― American politics, comparative politics or political thought, for example ― and complete your degree in St. Louis, Missouri.

Our program places special emphasis on the study of international, multilateral and regional political and economic institutions while examining public and private state and non-state actors' roles and interactions. As a political science student at SLU-Madrid, you'll be exposed to a broad spectrum of issues in the increasingly complex and interrelated world, as well as national and international security challenges, such as threats posed by nuclear weapons, terrorism, poverty, climate change and environmental issues, pandemics and health-related challenges.

For information about the assessment of student learning in this program, please see the University-wide website.

Curriculum Overview

The political science degree is a 120-credit-hour program that requires students to complete 43 credit hours of political science coursework, with courses completed in each of the following sub-fields:

  • American politics
  • Comparative politics
  • International relations
  • Political thought
  • Research methods
  • Economics
  • Communication

Major Requirements (43 credit hours)

The major requirements include:

Political Science Core

  • POLS 1000 Introduction to Politics or POLS 1600 International Politics (3 credit hours)
  • POLS 1150 American Politics (3 credit hours)
  • POLS 1500 Comparative Politics (3 credit hours)
  • POLS 1700 Political Theory (3 credit hours)

Research Methods

  • POLS 2000 Methods in Political Science (4 credit hours)

Introductory Economics

  • ECON 1900 Principles of Economics (3 credit hours) or POLS 2600 Introduction to International Political Economy (3 credit hours)

Political Communication

  • An approved Communication course (3 credit hours), such as CMM 2400 Media and Society, CMM 3060 Political Communication or CMM 4460 Global Media

International Relations Senior Concentration

  • POLS 4610 International Relations: Theory and Practice (3 credit hours)
  • POLS 4630 The European Union: Politics and Political Economy (3 credit hours)

Political Science Elective Courses

Five electives (15 credit hours) in political science, as follows:

  • Two 2000-level courses.
  • Two 3000-level courses, one of which can be substituted with an approved internship.
  • One 4000-level course.

 Minor Requirements

There are two options for the political science minor: the general track or the specialized international relations track. Both tracks require 18 credit hours of coursework.

General track

You must take:

  • At least one course from three of the main four subfields of political science (9 credit hours):
    • American politics
    • Comparative politics
    • International relations
    • Political thought
  • Three elective political science courses (9 credit hours).
  • One of the six courses must be at the 4000 level.

International Relations track

You must take:

  • Three political science courses focusing on international relations (9 credit hours).
  • Two elective courses in political science (6 credit hours).
  • A senior seminar: either POLS 4610 International Relations: Theory and Practice (3 credit hours) or POLS 4630 The European Union: Politics and Political Economy (3 credit hours).
Internships and Careers

A degree in international relations prepares you for careers in local, state and federal governments, diplomacy, international trade and business, non-governmental organizations, policy analysis, political research, law and education.

To combine theoretical and practical learning, qualified political science students may choose to earn up to three credit hours toward their degree by doing an internship. These students learn to implement the skills they study while gaining valuable professional experience at institutions such as governmental organizations, embassies, think tanks, companies and non-profits.

Tuition and Fees

SLU-Madrid is committed to providing a quality Jesuit education at an affordable price. Tuition rates at the Madrid Campus are approximately 40% lower than at comparable private universities in the U.S.

If you have questions or would like to speak with a financial aid officer, email us at

Admission to the Major

To be admitted to the major, you must have at least a 2.00 cumulative average and complete a declaration of major form, available in the Office of the Registrar. Upon acceptance to the program, you will be assigned a departmental advisor.

Graduation Requirements

To be certified for graduation, you are required to:

  • Have at least a 2.00 cumulative average, a 2.00 average in the major and a 2.00 average in the minor or related elective hours.
  • Complete 30 of your final 36 credits at Saint Louis University (either the Madrid or St. Louis campus).
  • Submit the online application for degree before the beginning of the semester in which you intend to graduate.

Accelerated Study

Earn a B.A. and M.A. in Five Years

Saint Louis University's accelerated B.A.-to-M.A in political science program lets you earn both a bachelor's and a master's degree in approximately five years. If you are majoring in political science at the Madrid campus and possess a GPA of at least 3.4, you may apply for admission to the program during your junior or senior year. For more information, please contact us.