Frequently Asked Questions - General

Students (in the classes of 2013, 2014, and 2015) may apply up to four courses taken Credit/D/F toward their Political Science major. There are no restrictions on these courses and they may count toward your major requirements. Also, if you get approval to count a non-PLSC course toward your major, and you took it Credit/D/F, this course would count toward the maximum number that you are allowed.

Starting with the class of 2016, students may apply no more than two Political Science courses taken Credit/D/F toward the major. If you take any other PLSC course Credit/D/F, please know that you will not receive credit for this course toward your major.

All students should note that courses taken Credit/D/F count as non-A grades when it comes time to calculate distinction in the major.

Yes, if the courses had a significant focus on politics. For the Standard Major, you may have 3 outside courses counted. For an Interdisciplinary Concentration, the rules are somewhat different. (Please see the Interdisciplinary Concentration section for more information.)

To petition for approval of an outside course, please print out and complete the “Approved Exceptions” form on the Department’s website ( and submit it (along with the appropriate syllabus) to the DUS Assistant (Rosenkranz Hall, Room 130). You must submit hard copies. You will only receive an email if your petition was not approved; otherwise, you can assume that it was approved. Your form will be filed here, so you do not need to pick it up.

Standard, Double, and Intensive Majors can count up to 3 courses from other departments toward the major (pending DUS approval – see above). Interdisciplinary Majors can count up to 2 courses from other departments toward their distribution requirements and 3 toward their concentration (pending DUS approval – see above).

One semester of Directed Studies (Historical and Political Thought) will be automatically approved to count toward your major with a Political Philosophy field distribution. However, please know that you must petition for this course to apply to your major. (For more information, see Question 7). Once you submit the “Approved Exceptions” form to the DUS Assistant (Rosenkranz Hall, Room 130), it will be approved. Also, this course will count as one of your DUS Approved Exceptions.

Perhaps. Only residential college seminars that were taught by a member of our Department may be counted toward the Political Science major requirements, pending DUS approval. Please see Question 7 for more information about how to petition for credit for these seminars.

Seniors must submit their DUS Approved Exceptions forms before spring recess of the final term of their enrollment. There is no deadline for others: you can submit a DUS Approved Exceptions form after you have taken a class, while you are taking a class, or before you have taken a class.

Courses taken outside of Yale must be intellectually challenging. You must be able to demonstrate this with grades, work from the course including tests and papers, and a detailed syllabus. Courses that required not much more reading than chapters from a single textbook do not qualify. Please follow the steps below to apply for credit toward the major.

a. Courses must by on your transcript before you can petition for them to count toward your major requirements. (Please know that the DUS cannot approve these courses in advance.)

b. In order to get these courses posted on your transcript, please get the necessary form from your dean. Then, submit it to the DUS Assistant (Rosenkranz Hall, Room 130). Along with this form, students are asked to submit a syllabus, reading list, and a complete sample of work for each course. The DUS will review your materials and the DUS Assistant will email you when your form is ready to be picked up.

c. Once these courses are on your transcript, please complete the “Credit for Non-Yale Courses” form found at the following link:

d. Submit a hard-copy of this form and all of the accompanying materials required (see the top of the form) to the DUS Assistant (Rosenkranz Hall, Room 130).

e. He or she will ask the DUS to review your petition and will email you regarding his or her decision.

f. If the DUS approves your petition, these courses then count toward your major requirements (excluding your seminar requirement).

g. One of the addendums that you are asked to submit along with your petition is a copy of your transcript for these courses. If your grades for these courses are listed on this transcript, then we will adopt the same grades.

No. As long as these courses appear on your transcript and you have received approval from the DUS to count them toward Political Science, then there is no limit to the number of non-Yale courses you can count toward your Political Science major requirements.

To view a list of all of our courses sorted by field distribution, please click here and scroll down to the bottom of that page. Click on the link that says “List of Courses with Field Distributions.” Courses are also organized by field distribution in the “Blue Book.”

Yes. In order to petition to change the field distribution of a Political Science course, please submit the “Change Field of Course” form found at to the DUS Assistant (Rosenkranz Hall, Room 130). After the DUS has reviewed your petition, the DUS Assistant will email you regarding his or her decision.

While this is not true in all cases, often when you view a seminar on OCI, it will say “Permission of instructor required.” If you have any doubts, please contact the DUS Assistant ( You can also find a list of the current semester’s courses here: http// Scroll to the bottom of the page where you will find the appropriate link. This list indicates which courses are lectures and which are seminars.

We recommend that you contact the instructor directly via email. Email addresses for our faculty can be found on the Yale Portal or on this site: You may also want to meet with an instructor during his or her office hours. To view faculty office hours, click here.

Several months before the beginning of a term, declared Political Science majors will receive the Pre-Registration email from the Undergraduate Registrar. Attached to this email will be a list that includes all of the seminars into which instructors will pre-register students in the upcoming term. (Please note that this list will not include all of the seminars being offered that semester; not all seminar instructors choose to participate in pre-registration.) Also attached to this email will be a form that allows majors to rank up to 4 seminars and petition for a spot in those courses.

The instructors of those courses will review these forms and make their selections. Please know that instructors can pre-register up to 8 majors in a seminar that is cross-listed with another department or offered as a graduate course. Instructors can pre-register up to 12 majors in a seminar that is not cross-listed or offered as a graduate course. Students can be pre-registered in no more than 2 seminars.

Students will receive notification regarding which seminars they have been accepted into through pre-registration in the weeks preceding the beginning of the term. Some students are not accepted into any seminars and we will let you know if that is the case.

To view a pre-registration timeline, please visit:

We’re sorry to say that the pre-registration deadline is not flexible. Only students who are declared Political Science majors at the time the Undergraduate Registrar sends the Pre-Registration email will be able to participate. (For the fall semester, this email is sent in July; for the spring semester it is sent in November.) If you were not able to participate, please see the next question.

Please keep in mind that faculty only admit between 8-12 students through pre-registration out of a total of 18 slots. This leaves slots open for students to pursue during Shopping Period. We recommend that you broaden the list of seminars you would consider taking. Then, attend the first session of these seminars, if possible, and explain your interest in wanting to take that course to the instructor. You might also want to consider emailing that professor or going to visit him or her during Office Hours. Be prepared to give good, substantive reasons why they should accept you, such as your past coursework, work experiences, and how this course will enhance your academic program. It is not a good idea to ask an instructor to accept you because you have tried unsuccessfully to get into other seminars.

The Department has funds available for sophomore and junior majors from the Frank M. Patterson fund to support summer research and Political Science-related internships. For more information, please click here:

In the beginning of the fall term, the DUS send an email to all Political Science majors requesting that students who are interested in joining the committee let us know. The DUS will then let you know whether or not you have been admitted. Please know that because the committee is limited in size, not everyone who expresses an interest will be on the committee. Please click here for a current list of our UAC committee members.