Welcome to the Political Science Department

If the study of politics could be summed up in one word, it would be power. How do powerful groups create order or laws increase inequality? Who gets what, when, and how? Our program invites political science majors to grapple with questions like these through rigorous coursework, active learning, individualized study, and extraordinary educational practices both inside and outside the classroom. Our graduates possess the skillsets necessary to thrive in their chosen careers, in graduate or law school, and as citizens.

An Individualized Program of Study

We’ve designed a cohesive program of study so that you can follow your interests and develop new ones. Foundational courses help you become familiar with core concepts, theories, research methods, findings, and contemporary dilemmas in the discipline’s major subfields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. Upper division coursework allows you to specialize in an area of interest, either in a concentration that is already defined (such as Law and Politics) or one you design yourself in consultation with your Political Science advisor. In our senior capstone course, you put your analytical, logical reasoning, and writing and oral communication skills to work in an independent research project. Along the way, we strongly encourage study abroad, interdisciplinary pursuits, and experiential learning that will extend your perspective and deepen your intellectual roots. We want to help you make the most of your education.

Local and Global Learning Opportunities

Not only do we encourage study abroad and offer courses focusing on politics in the U.S., Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, but also our May Term travel courses represent unparalleled opportunities for intensive study away from campus as well as interaction with alumni. We regularly offer a Washington, D.C. travel course, as well as a California Politics course that features a trip to the state capital (Sacramento). Our professors lead students down historic stairs in Salzburg, Austria, through glistening paths in Botswana, and up winding streets in Mexico. Opportunities and department scholarships to defray costs vary annually.

First-Rate Teacher-Scholars

You will learn from professors who are among the finest educators in the field. Our faculty have a wealth of academic expertise and professional experience, and a diverse range of intellectual interests and research specialties. Among the faculty are APSA’s 2019 Distinguished Teacher of the Year, campus outstanding teaching award winners, and APSA’s 2008 Innovative Teaching Award recipient. They are accomplished researchers who have testified at state legislative hearings, authored scholarly books and textbooks, and are knowledge creators who regularly present at professional conferences. Among them are Fulbright Scholars and a NATO research fellow. They are builders of programs, including the Public Policy major for undergraduates and the MPPA (Master of Public Policy and Administration) graduate degree program. In other words, our faculty rock.

We invite you to explore our website to discover the value of a Political Science degree and to learn more about our students and alumni. Welcome!  

Meet Montserrat Pineda ’22, a Political Science major.

Read more about Montserrat in the Bulldog Blog.