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Political Science

The Breakdown

Are you always reading up on the newest bills floating through the Senate? Are your eyes glued to the television whenever there’s a story about the Secretary of State traveling abroad? Do you get goose bumps at the mere thought of a “Get Out the Vote” campaign? If you answered yes to any of these questions, well, you’re probably an informed, active citizen. You also could be a budding political scientist.

Political science, at its essence, is the study of government and the political process. As a poly sci major, you’ll examine political theories, institutions, values and policies. Importantly, you will analyze how politics shapes both society and the individual and how society and the individual can shape politics. Throughout your studies, you will also wrestle with questions about power, authority and manipulation and how they manifest themselves in different political systems.

Many political science departments have their students choose a concentration to focus on within the major. These are typically broken down into sub-fields such as American government, international relations, public policy, comparative politics and law and justice. Additionally, a number programs offer independent study or internship opportunities with city governments, law firms, civil rights groups and House and Senate offices.
The political science majors who excel often have a voracious appetite for news and current events. They are usually savvy researchers who are astute at assessing all sides of an issue. Moreover, they have strong writing and communication skills. And, of course, they have a predilection for finding or igniting a good debate.

Nuts and Bolts

Political Science offers an abundance of intriguing courses including: Introduction to American Politics, The Politics of Displacement, Campaign Strategy: Media and Message, Chinese Foreign Policy, Political Economy of Development, Democracy, International Security, The American Presidency, Logic of Political Violence, Political Psychology and Involvement, Ethics and Justice in International Affairs and The Varieties of Capitalism: Political Economic Systems of the World.

Decisions, Decisions

Poly Sci majors are often interested and passionate about humanities and the social sciences and might also consider majoring in: history, international relations, American studies, sociology, anthropology, economics, archeology, East Asian studies, Middle Eastern studies, urban studies, African studies, women’s studies and philosophy.

What's Next

Political science prepares undergraduates for a wide range of rewarding careers. Certainly, a number of students use the major as a stepping stone to law school and many recent graduates land paralegal positions. Other take their interest in government and find jobs with lobbying firms, state representatives or working on election campaigns. Some also find employment with government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Education or the Social Security Office. Certainly, poly sci majors wrangle opportunities outside of politics and many work in finance, consulting, education or journalism. Indeed, the skill-sets you’ll acquire will be transferable to a variety of fields and industries.



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