Political Science: BS, BA
Political science is the study of government, public policies, political processes, and political behavior. The department is committed to encouraging students to reflect on the political demands that will inevitably fall on them as citizens of the U.S. and as human beings.
Through their coursework, students gain theoretical and factual understanding of government, politics, and political philosophy, nationally and internationally. In an environment of discussion-based classroom experiences and research opportunities, students develop analytical abilities, communication skills, and political research methods. Political science majors are equipped with the knowledge necessary to participate responsibly in civic affairs and pursue careers in government, and USU boasts successful politicians as alumni, including Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader. Students are also well prepared for graduate studies in political science, law, and more.
USU’s political science professors are committed to quality teaching, mentoring, advising, and research, and consistently win department, college, and university awards for their work. The USU chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national honors society for political science, has been recognized several times as one of the best chapters in the country. Students also have ample opportunities for internships in federal and state legislatures, regulatory agencies, lobbying firms, think tanks, corporations and international organizations.
Students receive a BS by completing all required courses in the major. To receive a BA, students must also gain proficiency in one or more foreign languages.
Political science majors develop communication and analytical skills that make them well-suited for a variety of careers. They can work in many areas related to government, and they are also well prepared for graduate studies and law school. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in political science can pursue the following careers:
- U.S. Senate and House staff
- Foreign service officer
- Intelligence analyst
- Federal reserve system manager
- Campaign consultant
- Legislative analyst
- Lobbyist assistant or campaign associate
- Legislative correspondent
Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.
In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the political science program has additional requirements:
- Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
- Transfer Students: Students transferring from other institutions and from other USU majors must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5 to be accepted into the major.
International students have additional admissions requirements.
While internships are not required, there are many internship opportunities available, and students can apply credit from internships toward their upper-division political science course requirements.
Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs
American Political Science Association: This is the leading professional organization for the study of political science and serves members in more than 80 countries. With a range of programs and services for individuals, departments, and institutions, APSA brings together political scientists from all fields of inquiry, regions, and occupational endeavors within and outside academe in order to expand awareness and understanding of politics.
Pi Sigma Alpha: This national political science honor society is the only honor society for college students of political science and government in the United States. There are hundreds of chapters of Pi Sigma Alpha located on college and university campuses in every state of the United States and in Guam. USU’s chapter, Alpha Iota, has been recognized several times as one of the nation’s best chapters of Pi Sigma Alpha.
College Democrats Club: This is a branch of College Democrats of America. The goal of this national organization is to work on college campuses to engage students in local, state, and national issues and elections. Students volunteer on campaigns, hold informational meetings, and club socials on a regular basis where they discuss and share information on policy issues, candidates running for office, and local issues on campus.
College Republicans Club: This is a branch of College Republicans of America. The goal of this national organization is to work on college campuses to engage students in local, state, and national issues and elections. Students volunteer on campaigns, hold informational meetings, and club socials on a regular basis where they discuss and share information on policy issues, candidates running for office, and local issues on campus.
Labs, Centers, Research
With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.
Center for the Study of American Constitutionalism: The Center for the Study of American Constitutionalism conducts research and offers programs and activities on topics related to American Constitutionalism. The Center’s core mission is to explore the meaning of liberty in the American constitutional system with specific emphasis on the Founders’ commitments to limited and responsible government, free markets and strong national defense.
Institute of Government and Politics: IOGP aims to enhance understanding of government institutions and the political process by providing opportunities that bridge practical skills and academic training. The nonpartisan IOGP engages students, faculty, political and community leaders, and citizens in the discussion of policy development through its internship program, visiting speakers, seminars, and policy forums.