Political science investigates the institutions, practices, traditions, concepts and rules by which human beings organize their lives and govern themselves.

In the Political Science undergraduate bachelor's degree program, you gain a comprehensive understanding of political institutions, politics in general and the processes of translating values and information into public policy. You'll expand your knowledge of the leading theories and disputes within the subfields of political science with diverse courses. Ultimately, you'll gain an appreciation for the need to participate fully in political life.

Offered through the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Political Science major courses enable students to use empirical analyses and theoretical constructs to understand the political aspects of the world, both in the United States and elsewhere.

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Political Science Careers

Graduates of our bachelor's degree program in political science can go on to a wide variety of careers that span industries and disciplines, such as lobbyists, lawyers, diplomats or foreign affairs specialists, political scientists, professors and teachers, business executives, consultants and government officials. 

Clarkson Class of 2020 97 percent employment

Clarkson political science majors have gone on to work for companies such as:

  • large government and civil society organizations, such as Americorps
  • Law firms and practices
  • Local non-profits, such as a Chamber of Commerce
  • asset and investment management firms, such as AllianceBernstein

Many political science students also choose to continue their studies at graduate schools such as Roger Williams School of Law.

Political Science Curriculum & Academic Options

Major in Political Science

The political science major has a total of 28 out of the 120 credit hours devoted to program-specific classes. This leaves flexibility to narrow your area of interest with minors, concentrations or double majors. Political science students take courses such as:

  • Intro to Global Politics
  • Politics in Cross-National Perspective
  • Social Movements in the United States
  • Terror and Terrorism
  • Violence and Reconciliation
  • Human Rights Law and Politics
  • Close and Contested Elections
  • Environmental Political Theory
  • Constitutional Law
  • The Law and Bioethics
  • Contemporary Political Theory
  • Sex, Gender and Power
  • Environmental Law
  • The Business of War

Political Science Major Curriculum

Double Majors

Political Science majors often choose a second major, and similarly, students majoring in disciplines such as engineering, environmental studies, business or science often choose Political Science as a second major. This gives students the ability to pursue their passion, diversify their knowledge base and a competitive advantage while applying to graduate programs. Below is a sampling of majors that pair well with Political Science.

Biology Major

Environmental Science & Policy Major

History Major

Students can also pursue our Social Documentation Double Major program, combining a major in Communication with one of our Humanities and Social Sciences, including HistoryHumanitiesInterdisciplinary Liberal StudiesInterdisciplinary Social Sciences, and Political Science.

Relevant Minors & Tracks

In addition to the political science major, the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences also offers a minor in political science for students looking to add to their academic portfolios. Political science majors benefit from a wide variety of minors and advising tracks to complement the major and their future career goals. View our recommendations below or learn more about all of Clarkson's minors, concentrations and professional advising tracks. 

All Humanities & Social Sciences Minors

Pre-Law Advising Track

Law Studies Minor

All Clarkson Minors and Tracks

Internships & Hands-On Opportunities

As a Clarkson political science major, you'll have the opportunity to perform research alongside distinguished faculty, work with the department and Clarkson's award-winning Career Center to find valuable regional and local internships and co-ops at museums, not-for-profits and other educational organizations, and apply for the Washington D.C. Semester at American University and N.Y. Assembly Internships. 

Research Opportunities

As a student at Clarkson, you have the ability to work with political science faculty on many different research projects. You will also have the opportunity to work with fellow students and professors on cross-campus, interdisciplinary research in the areas of environment, health, gender and sexuality, and business. Currently, political science faculty have research interests in areas such as:

  • Comparative media and politics
  • Latin American politics
  • Authoritarian regimes
  • Energy and environmental politics
  • U.S. electricity policy
  • Democratic participation
  • Political behavior
  • Gender in politics
  • International conflict processes
  • Asian security affairs and South Asian security
Washington D.C. Semester at American University

Clarkson students have the opportunity to apply for the Washington D.C. Semester at American University. As part of this experience, students take 12 university credits worth of classes through American University and participate in an extraordinary array of internships. Clarkson students attending the Washington Semester have interned at:

  • World Bank
  • NBC
  • Greenpeace
  • Homeland Security
  • and as legislative aides to members of Congress
New York State Assembly Internship Program

What better way to understand politics than to be a part of them? The New York State Assembly Internship Program in Albany, N.Y., gives Clarkson political science majors the opportunity to spend a semester interning with the NYS Assembly. This experience allows students to gain critical experience and contribute to the ongoing development of state policy in the Assembly.

What's your purpose? Achieve it here.