Political Science

Aristotle called the study of politics "the master science." Human beings live in communities governed by rules that affect their commerce, their rights, and their personal levels of well-being. Students who become political science majors will learn about who creates the rules by which people are governed, the attitude and behavior of leaders and members of the public which cause certain decisions to be made, and how these decisions affect such values as liberty, equality, welfare and justice.

Political science is concerned with contemporary public affairs, problems in other political systems and contemporary international politics, as well as with historical growth, evolution, and decline of various types of governments. Our majors are encouraged to investigate the diversity of political institutions and practices cross-nationally, and to consider the changes occurring as a result of the increasing globalization of politics and problems.

Program Overview

Preparation for the political science undergraduate major requires the completion of four courses which introduce students to political concepts and practices, and which provide training in the skills of critical thinking and rigorous analysis: POLS 101, 102, 103, and 201 (or equivalent course in statistics). The minimum grade is each class must be C or higher. Majors must take a minimum of nine upper division courses in Political Science. An internship, independent research project, or capstone seminar is required. At least one class must be taken each of four sub-fields: Political Theory, American Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Politics.

Special Features

The unique features of the political science major at SDSU include:

  • Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science department's honor society, which requires a 3.0 grade point average in the major and a 3.0 grade point average overall for membership.
  • An annual lecture series that brings prominent scholars and world leaders to campus.
  • The undergraduate Political Science Student Association and Graduate Student Association host social gatherings, special speakers on campus, and debates between various political candidates for office.
  • Internships provide opportunities to work at the local level, in Sacramento, or in Washington, D.C.

Career Opportunities

Our undergraduate and postgraduate students go on to careers in government, law, public service and advocacy, education, business, and international agencies. Some of our students have pursued teaching careers at the secondary level. Others have worked for the federal government in areas such as intelligence, foreign affairs, environmental protection, and budget and computer administration. Opportunities often exist with state and local governments, on the staffs of national, state and local legislators, in market research, with lobbyists for trade or policy organizations, or with the press. Finally, many of our students pursue further degrees, especially in law and pubic policy analysis.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Political Science program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.