May 27, 2024  
2017-2018 CSU East Bay Catalog 
2017-2018 CSU East Bay Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science, Pre-Law Option, B.A.

Political Science (B.A.) 180 units

Program Description

The political science curriculum helps students to acquire an organized body of knowledge about government and to think analytically about public policy, law, and politics. The political science degree prepares graduates to enter careers in government, public service, public administration, public policy analysis, legislative advocacy, business, international relations, and teaching. Many Cal State East Bay political science graduates continue their academic careers in law school, or in the pursuit of graduate degrees in political science or public policy analysis.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a B.A. in Political Science will be able to:

  1. develop and articulate an understanding of democratic theory and practice and gain practical experience in politics, public policy, and civic engagement.
  2. demonstrate through oral and written competency, an understanding of the theories, concepts, empirical content, and research agendas of the fields of political science with advanced understanding in the selected option.
  3. demonstrate an understanding of political culture in the U.S. and around the world including the economic, ideological, ethnic and cultural groups and movements that engage the political process.
  4. articulate career goals, demonstrate knowledge of how to achieve those goals, and produce evidence of working to achieve the goals.
  5. demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge through collaborative learning and teamwork.

Career Opportunities

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Attorney
  • Campaign Aide/Manager
  • Diplomat
  • FBI/CIA Agent
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • International Relations Specialist
  • Journalist
  • Labor Organizer/Union Representative
  • Law Clerk
  • Legislative Advocate/Lobbyist
  • Legislative Aide
  • Paralegal
  • Legal Assistant
  • Police Officer
  • Politician
  • Polling Specialist
  • Private Investigator
  • Public Administrator
  • Public Information Officer
  • Research Specialist
  • Secret Service Agent
  • Teacher


The political science major offers a Pre-Law option for students planning a career in law. The Public Affairs and Administration option is designed to meet the needs of students contemplating a career in public administration. The Political Science department offers a major and a minor. Special features of the Political Science major include: the Intercollegiate Model United Nations Club; field trips to Sacramento and to State and Federal courts; guest political speakers; pre-law advising; local, Sacramento, Washington, and political campaign internships; and the Political Science Club.


For Advanced Placement course equivalencies, see Registration.

Major Requirements (B.A.) 56-64 units

The B.A. degree requires a total of 180 units.

  • The core major consists of 20 units;
    • the electives for the non- Option consists of 36 units;
    • the Pre-Law Option consists of 44 units.
    • the Public Affairs and Administration Option consists of 41 units;
  • GE/USHG/UWS consists of 84 units (some courses may double-count units - see your advisor).
  • Free Electives (if any) will make up the remainder units to reach 180 minimum total units (see your advisor). 


Note: Please consult an advisor in your major department for clarification and interpretation of your major requirements. 

Shared Core (20 units)

All Political Science majors are required to complete the following shared core curriculum:

Option Requirements

Political Science offers three choices for students to complete the major: 

Students can complete the required units for the major by choosing one of the options below:

Pre-Law Option (44 units)

Pre-Law Students

The study of law is a postgraduate professional program, requiring three years of full-time study beyond the completion of the bachelor’s degree. No specific pre-law undergraduate program is required for admission to law schools. However, students wishing to focus on legal studies at Cal State East Bay, may complete the Pre-Law option in the Political Science major.

Students intending to enter law school commonly complete undergraduate majors in political science, economics, business, or history. The prelaw student’s undergraduate plan of study should include among its objectives a facility in the proper use of written and spoken English, a sampling of undergraduate law courses, one or more critical/logical thinking courses, and a basic understanding of government and economics. Some law schools recommend that students take a basic accounting course, particularly if they are interested in business or tax law.

Students planning to enter law school should consult a pre-law advisor. Dr. David Baggins of the Department of Political Science, who is an attorney, serves as the university pre-law advisor. Several other departments also have pre-law advisors.

Most accredited law schools require that applicants complete the Law School Admission Test. The LSAT is typically given in September, December, February, and June at one or more testing centers in the Bay Area. Pre-law students should obtain LSAT registration materials and law school applications early in their senior year. Students can access information on the LSAT by viewing The Political Science department library has a copy of the Law School Guidebook and many law school catalogs.


Students taking this option will focus their coursework in legal studies. Completion of this program will lead to a B.A. degree, major in Political Science with an option in Pre-Law. The total required for the major with Pre-Law option is 64 units. The total required for the B.A. degree is 180 units.

Two quarters before you expect to graduate, complete a major check sheet and inquire about other requirements for graduation. The following is an outline indicating specific courses and options necessary for completing the option in pre-law.

Foundation Courses

Twelve (12) units required:

  • One lower division course (below) or one upper division course from the Internation Relation group listed above.
  • One lower division course (below) or one upper division course from the Comparative Government group listed above.
  • One upper division course from the Political Theory group listed above.

The Political and Policy Context of the Law

Choose 12 units from the following:

Course Descriptions

Use this link to see all Course Descriptions  available throughout this catalog.

Other Undergraduate Degree Requirements

In addition to major requirements, every student must also complete the University requirements for graduation which are described throughout this catalog. These include the General Education-Breadth requirements; the second composition (ENGL 1002 ) requirement; the cultural groups/women requirement; the performing arts/activities requirement; the U.S. history, U.S. Constitution, and California state and local government requirement; the University Writing Skills Requirement; and the residence, unit, and grade point average requirements.