Prospective Students

What is Political Science?

Political Science is the study of how people organize themselves to achieve their common interests. It includes analysis of governments, public policies, political systems and political behavior. In a world of increasing interdependence, knowledge is crucial to sustainable economies, secure communities, and healthy and happy citizens. Political Science empowers students to create a better world by drawing on the best of the liberal arts tradition. It is both humanistic and scientific in its perspective and methods and thus equips students to understand and respond to human needs with technical acumen and scientific rigor.

The B.S. degree teaches students the techniques of the trade of political science. Since the methods that political scientists use in research are often quite technical, the program is designed to give students practical experience applying research methods to questions and problems they will encounter in jobs as political researchers, policy analysts, or managers.

Why Political Science?

You might like this program if:

  • you are an active learner interested in politics, government, policy or business and you enjoy solving problems and the elegance of the scientific method;
  • you are interested in working as a lobbyist, campaign strategist, or policy analyst;
  • you are interested in how power and resources are allocated in society; and/or
  • you are interested in how history, culture, and economics shape our lives and impact things like economic development, conflict, foreign policy, terrorism, globalization, and the environment.

Potential Careers

Political Science is one of the most versatile majors in the liberal arts. The program provides students with an in-depth understanding of political issues while honing their ability to think critically and communicate persuasively. As a political science major, you will learn to conduct research and to evaluate information and assemble empirically supported arguments. These skills are necessary for success in a variety of careers, including law, public policy, lobbying, business, political campaigning, and government, as well as with non-profit organizations.

Students completing the Bachelor of Science degree develop a portfolio of concrete and immediately marketable set of skills that are in demand among employers. They are prepared to begin careers as campaign strategists, policy analysts and lobbyists, as well as in business and in national defense and other aspects of government. The program is also an excellent foundation for graduate study in law, public policy, business and the social sciences.

Penn State Political Science graduates are serving as advisors to the State Department; as attorneys and management specialists in the Department of Justice; as speech writers, lobbyists and policy analysts on Capitol Hill; and even in the United States Senate. Our alumni have built successful careers in business, and as lawyers, teachers, and journalists. Many are successful entrepreneurs, and some work for NGOs. Others are leaders of major corporations. You can learn from their experience through our alumni mentoring program.