Carleton University has two undergraduate programs in political science in addition to its prestigious master’s and doctoral programs. The undergraduate programs are a four-year (BA Honours) and a three-year (BA General).

BA Honours

Nine Political Science credits are required out of 20.0 credits for the degree. Students are required to take an introductory course, one credit in political thought, one in political methodology, at least one credit in Canadian politics, one credit in comparative politics or international relations, and at least one credit chosen from among the many fourth year seminars. An Honours essay is optional for qualified fourth-year students wishing to do an independent investigation on some aspect of Political Science. Honours students are also required to have a reading knowledge of another language.

BA Honours program requirements

BA Combined Honours

In your first year of study you will complete courses in a variety of disciplines including an introductory course in Political Science. During the completion of these first year courses you may discover and develop an interest in a second discipline that you would like to combine with Political Science, resulting in a combined Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree.

The requirements for a combined Honours degree are established separately by each discipline. Although it doesn’t necessarily take longer to complete your degree, depending on when you declare a double major will determine whether you will be required to complete additional courses to satisfy the combined requirements. Completing a combined Honours degree does reduce the overall number of elective courses available to you.

BA Combined Honours program requirements

BA General

In the age of the global village, there is tremendous interest in political, social, economic, and distant military events that can have a direct impact on the success of governments and businesses in North America and around the world. Courses offered in the BA General degree in Political Science will allow you to discover how political decisions are made and why politics is called the art of the possible. The BA General degree will challenge you to do your best while developing your research techniques, probing a variety of sources for information, making critical assessments of your findings, writing and presentation skills.

While Political Science courses will be the main focus of your studies, you can also choose to direct your studies towards the completion of one of our seven concentrations. A second smaller set of courses known as a minor will allow you to complement your political science program with another discipline.

BA General program requirements

BA Concentrations

Within the BA degrees in political science, students can follow specialized courses to be awarded concentrations in one of seven fields of study: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics and Area Studies (Industrialized States; Development and Underdevelopment), Gender and Politics, International Relations, North American Politics, Political Theory, and Public Affairs and Policy Analysis. This means that you can graduate from Carleton University with, for example, a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Political Science with a Concentration in International Relations.

Concentrations provide an opportunity for focused study in several specialized fields offered by the Department. In addition to meeting the general requirements for a Political Science Honours, Combined Honours, or General degree, students are required to complete a selection of core and optional courses in their Concentration. A CGPA of 6.5 or better must be maintained in the BA Honours Concentration courses and a CGPA of 5.0 or better in the General degree. On successful completion of all requirements for the Concentration, the name of the Concentration will be added to the student’s transcript and diploma.

The Concentrations described below are open to all students in Political Science Honours, Combined Honours or General programs. The maximum number of Political Science credits that can be counted towards the degree is 12.0 credits for an Honours program, 8.0 for a General program and 9.0 for a Combined Honours program. Concentrations are open to students in the General program in Political Science, though it may be difficult to meet the requirements of the Concentrations within the 15.0 credits required for the General degree, so that courses extra to the primary degree may have to be taken.  Students in the General BA program will complete the requirement with the introductory concentration course plus 2.5 credits at the 3000-level.

Seven different Concentrations are available to Majors in Political Science:

Canadian Politics
The concentration in Canadian Politics is taught by top specialists in the field with first-hand knowledge of Canadian politics and government.

Comparative Politics and Area Studies: Global North and Global South
Professors in the two Comparative Politics and Area Studies concentrations draw material from abundant filed research and extensive experience in countless overseas locations.

Gender & Politics
The concentration in Gender and Politics provides students with the intellectual and practical tools to analyze the many ways in which gender relations affect domestic and international politics.

International Relations
Our International Relations specialists are recognized for their research and writing on peace and conflict issues and international political economy.

North American Politics
The concentration in North American Politics allows faculty to discuss the importance of North America as a political, economic and social community.

Political Theory
Specialists in Political Theory are well known for both their writings on ancient themes and their biting commentaries on contemporary issues.

Public Affairs & Policy Analysis
In Public Affairs and Policy Analysis, our faculty provide students with unequaled expertise and knowledge of bureaucracy, public policy formation, public affairs and polling.

Each concentration requires 3.5 specific credits in Political Science as indicated in the Undergraduate Calendar.

BGINS – Global Politics

The Department of Political Science is one of the participating Departments in the Bachelor of Global and International Studies (BGINS) program, where it sponsors the Global Politics specialization. The BGINS program, separate from the Bachelor of Arts program, allows students to pursue interdisciplinary studies related to international affairs and globalization. The Global Politics specialization allows students to focus their studies on courses in international politics, while students enrolled in other specializations may take Political Science courses as electives.

BGINS Program information

Additional options of interest:

Minor in Political Science

If you are torn between several areas of interest or want to explore additional material that is related to your major program, you should consider pursuing a minor.  A minor is a set of pre-determined courses, usually consisting of 4.0 credits, which provides a foundation in another area of study.

Students registered in degree programs other than the Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and who are in good standing in their program of study, may register for the Minor in Political Science. On successful completion of all requirements, the designation “Minor in Political Science” will be added to the student’s transcript and diploma.

Minor program requirements

Mention: Français

Students registered in Political Science BA programs, may earn the notation Mention: Français by completing part of their degree requirements in French and by completing credit courses in the French language and in the history and culture of French Canada.

Mention: Français requirements


Political Science is also central to the teaching of the University’s Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management (B.PAPM ) degree offered by the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs. There are required political science courses in the first and second years of the program, as well as teaching partnerships, required courses, and optional courses in all seven of the B.PAPM areas of specialization; Communication and Information Technology Policy, Development Studies, Human Rights, International Studies, Public Policy and Administration, Social Policy, Strategic Public Opinion and Policy Analysis.

Eligible students may also apply for internship programs: see Internships for more details.