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Political Science

What is 'Political Science? (POLS)'

Political science is a social science concerned with the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behavior. It is often described as the study of politics defined as "who gets what, when and how".[1] Political science has several subfields, including: political theory, public policy, national politics, international relations, and comparative politics.

Political science is methodologically diverse. Approaches to the discipline include classical political philosophy, interpretivism, structuralism, and behavioralism, realism, pluralism, and institutionalism. Political science, as one of the social sciences, uses methods and techniques that relate to the kinds of inquiries sought: primary sources such as historical documents and official records, secondary sources such as scholarly journal articles, survey research, statistical analysis, case studies and model building.

"As a discipline" political science "lives on the fault line between the 'two cultures' in the academy, the sciences and the humanities."[2]

Is It For You?

A bachelor's degree in political science can lead to exciting careers in federal, state and local governments; law; business; international organizations; nonprofit associations and organizations; campaign management and polling; journalism; precollegiate education; electoral politics; research and university and college teaching.

Political science majors gain analytical skills, administrative competence and communication abilities that are valued in a wide spectrum of potential career areas.

Jobs and Salary Expectations

Examples of Careers for Political Scientists

Careers and the Study of Political ScienceThe following are small sample of careers for political scientists.  For more on the career potential for those with degrees in political science, check out the career booklets and pamphlets available from APSA

  • Activist, Advocate/Organizer Administration, Corporate, Government, Non-Profit, etc. 
  • Archivist, Online Political Data
  • Budget Examiner or Analyst
  • Attorney
  • Banking Analyst or Executive
  • Campaign Operative
  • Career Counselor
  • CIA Analyst or Agent
  • City Planner
  • City Housing Administrator
  • Congressional Office/Committee Staffer
  • Coordinator of Federal or State Aid
  • Communications Director
  • Corporate Analyst
  • Corporate Public Affairs Advisor
  • Corporate Economist
  • Corporate Manager
  • Corporate Information Analyst
  • Corporate Adviser for Govt'l. Relations
  • Corporate Executive
  • Corporation Legislative Issues Manager
  • Customs Officer
  • Editor, Online Political Journal
  • Entrepreneur
  • Federal Government Analyst
  • Financial Consultant
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Foundation President
  • Free-lance writer
  • High School Government Teacher
  • Immigration Officer
  • Information Manager
  • Intelligence Officer
  • International Agency Officer
  • International Research Specialist
  • Issues Analyst, Corporate Social Policy Div.
  • Journalist
  • Juvenile Justice Specialist
  • Labor Relations Specialist
  • Legislative Analyst / Coordinator
  • Lobbyist
  • Management Analyst
  • Mediator
  • Plans and Review Officer, USIA
  • Policy Analyst
  • Political Commentator
  • Pollster
  • Public Affairs Research Analyst
  • Public Opinion Analyst
  • Publisher
  • Research Analyst
  • State Legislator
  • Survey Analyst
  • Systems Analyst
  • Teacher
  • University Administrator
  • University Professor
  • Urban Policy Planner
  • Web Content Editor 

Program Faculty

  • Dr. James E. Van Arsdall (Program Coordinator)

Course Descriptions

  • POLS 1010 Introduction to Urban Studies
  • POLS 1050 State and Local Government
  • POLS 2050 American National Government
  • POLS 2060 The Constitution
  • POLS 2070 Contemporary Social and Political Issues
  • POLS 2900 Special Topics: State and Local Government, Politics of Poverty

Credit Classes and Registration

Sources for this information include the American Political Science Association and Wikipedia.org.