• Total units 48 Units
  • Areas of interest Political Sciences
  • Major code POLS-MAJ
  • Academic career Undergraduate
Political Science Major

Political Science is the study of human relationships that involve power, rule, or authority.  It is about how societies govern themselves and how societies ought to be governed.  It is about the political behaviour of individuals and groups that occurs in all societies.  It is about those who have political power in society and those who do not.

Political Science is a broadly-based discipline offering courses that span a number of sub-fields. The major in Political Science introduces students to core concepts and methods and exposes them to four key areas of the discipline:

  • Political thought and political theory or ideas,
  • Australian government and public policy
  • Comparative politics and comparative public policy including the study of particular countries or regions, and
  • International politics/international relations.

Students who wish to complete additional work in Politics beyond that required for the major may take a second major in International Relations, a minor in Asia-Pacific Politics, Australian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations or Political Theory, or select individual POLS courses as electives within their degree.



Due to structural changes in the undergraduate program rules in 2012, the courses that make up the new 2012 majors may be different to the pre-2012 majors, and therefore some courses cannot be counted between majors.  Students are advised to contact the CASS Student Office if they are unsure about their Majors.


Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the Political Science major, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the nature and significance of politics and governance.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of differences in political systems and the contexts in which they operate.
  • Apply concepts and theories used in the study of political science to the analysis of interests, ideas, institutions and behaviour and to the evaluation of political phenomena.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the different research methods used to investigate political phenomena and the ability to apply these methods.
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This major requires the completion of 48 units, which must include:

18 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
POLS1002 Introduction to Politics 6
POLS2119 Ideas in Politics 6
POLS3025 Contemporary Political Analysis 6

6 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
POLS1005 Introduction to International Relations: Foundations and Concepts 6
POLS1006 Introduction to International Relations: Contemporary Global Issues 6

A minimum of 6 units must come from completion of courses from the following list:

Code Title Units
HIST2227 Australian Political History 6
POLS2009 Bureaucracy and Public Policy 6
POLS2043 Pressure Groups and Political Lobbying 6
POLS2104 Media Politics: Political leaders, media moguls, journalists and audiences. 6
POLS2105 Political Leadership and Executive Government 6
POLS2111 Elections, Political Behaviour and Public Opinion in Australia 6
POLS2114 Australian Political Institutions 6
POLS2121 Ideas in Australian Politics 6

A maximum of 18 units may come from completion of courses from the following list:

Code Title Units
PHIL2020 Theories of Social Justice 6
PHIL2065 Politics and Rights 6
PHIL2115 Political Philosophy from Hobbes to Mill 6
POLS2063 Contemporary Political Theory 6
POLS2064 Global Social Movements 6
POLS2096 Genocide Studies 6
POLS2100 Genocide - Post 1945 6
POLS2102 The Political Philosophy of Deception 6
POLS2120 Foundations of Political Theory 6
POLS2125 Game Theory and Social Sciences 6
POLS2126 Democracy: Its Causes and Consequences 6
POLS3029 Multi-Level Governance and Comparative Federalism 6
POLS3031 Comparative Judicial Politics 6
SOCY2038 Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods 6
SOCY2043 Qualitative Research Methods 6

A maximum of 12 units may come from completion of courses from the following list:

Code Title Units
ANIP3003 Australian National Internships Program Internship A 6
ANIP3005 Australian National Internship B 12
ASIA2026 The Politics of China 6
ASIA2031 Japanese Politics 6
ASIA2049 Politics and Society in Contemporary Korea 6
ASIA2060 Southeast Asian Security 6
ASIA2070 Democracy in Southeast Asia 6
ASIA2075 India Arriving: Security & International Relations in South Asia 6
ASIA2081 Human Rights in Southeast Asia 6
ASIA2516 Indonesia: Politics, Society and Development 6
ECON3056 PPE Integrative Seminar Year 3: Classic Literature in PPE 6
EURO2003 European Union: Policies, Institutions and Challenges 6
EURO3001 Uniting Europe: history, politics, theory 6
MEAS2001 New States of Eurasia: Emerging Issues in Politics and Security 6
MEAS2105 The Political Economy of the Middle East 6
PHIL2113 Global Justice 6
POLS1008 PPE Integrative Seminar Year 1: Puzzles in Politics, Philosophy and Economics 6
POLS2011 Development and Change 6
POLS2025 Politics in Britain 6
POLS2031 Politics in the Middle East 6
POLS2055 Pacific Politics 6
POLS2069 Politics in Russia 6
POLS2070 Politics in Central Asia 6
POLS2075 Globalism and the Politics of Identity 6
POLS2085 Gendered Politics of War 6
POLS2094 Issues in International Political Economy 6
POLS2095 Politics in Latin America 6
POLS2099 Cartographies of Security: Critical Security Studies and International Politics 6
POLS2101 Refugee Politics: Displacement and Exclusion in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries 6
POLS2113 Human Rights 6
POLS2117 The International Relations of Latin America 6
POLS2118 Democracy and Democratization in Latin America 6
POLS2123 Peace and Conflict Studies 6
POLS2124 Politics of Nuclear Weapons 6
POLS2127 U.S. Politics 6
POLS2130 Public Choice and Politics 6
POLS3001 Foreign Policy Analysis: Understanding Global and Australian Foreign Policy Decision-Making 6
POLS3017 International Relations Theory 6
POLS3030 Contemporary Politics of Brazil 6
POLS3033 Environment, Human Security and Conflict 6
POLS3034 Comparative Political Parties and Party Systems 6
SOCY2030 Sociology of Third World Development 6
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