Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Prospective Students

Prospective Students

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.

The Political Science major 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. 

International Politics is an interdisciplinary major focused on how power operates within and between states in the international arena. The program combines economics, history, and political science to examine topics such as human rights, ethnic conflict, terrorism, economic and political development and globalization, the environment, foreign and economic policy making, and national security. Students have the option to concentrate in one of three areas. 

Social Data Analytics is designed to prepare students for careers that use “big data” or “social data” to tackle social and political problems. Big data or social data is information about what people do, think, and feel gathered from cell phones, social media and objects fitted with sensors that capture moment to moment changes among people and in the physical world.

Why should I major in 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 national security, foreign policy, war, crime, terrorism, languages, or history
  • 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
  • you want to explore today’s global problems and potential solutions

What careers can I have with a degree in Political Science?

Employment opportunities have grown steadily for International Politics and Political Science graduates due to the global integration of political and economic activity and the increasingly global scale of both human problems and efforts to solve them. Political Science and International Politics are two of the most versatile majors in the College of the Liberal Arts and prepare students for careers in:

  • Government and government-related agencies
  • Multinational corporations
  • Banks
  • Lobbying and consulting firms 
  • Humanitarian organizations (United Nations, UNICEF, the Red Cross, etc.)
  • Legislative affairs
  • Journalism