The Department of Political Science offers a major in political science and minors in political science and in law and society. The department also offers graduate-level political science courses in the Arctic and Northern studies M.A. program and the interdisciplinary studies Ph.D. program.
The political science discipline educates students on politics, policy and citizenship in a changing world. As the study of power, political science explains who gets what, when, where and how. It examines the struggles over claims to authority that shape our lives and our world. As the study of values, it examines why citizens obey or rebel, the nature of just societies, and the ways individuals reconcile personal liberty with political authority. As the science of political behavior, it analyzes the actions of interest groups, political parties and public officials. Politics is an omnipresent force, not only in governments but in families, social organizations, schools and decision-making bodies of all types — from student councils to international institutions. A solid understanding of local, state, national and international politics will benefit all students throughout their careers.
Courses are offered in the political science fields of American politics, public policy and law, comparative politics, international politics and political theory. The department also offers specialized classes in environmental policy and politics, Indigenous studies, and Arctic and Northern studies. In addition to course offerings and faculty expertise, the department presents real-world opportunities for students to apply their learning. Those include numerous internship and scholarship opportunities in Alaska and the rest of the United States. Students can participate in the Model United Nations and Model Arctic Council, join the Political Science Department honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha, aid faculty as research assistants or create their own research projects, and take part in numerous other department projects such as bringing speakers to campus or hosting roundtables on important issues. Graduate students may also serve as teaching or research assistants.
The political science B.A. has led students to graduate work in the social sciences; employment in the media and public relations; teaching at high school and university levels; and careers in business corporations and nonprofits at the state and national levels. Political science provides a broad understanding of the formation, application and change of the law, as well as research techniques and standards of argumentation essential to legal practice. Political science is the premier major for students desiring to go to law school and also prepares students for work in various fields of government. Alaska offers job prospects for political science graduates as managers in state and local governments and as legislators and legislative staff members. Graduates are also qualified to work outside of Alaska in numerous public and private sector jobs.
Minimum Requirements for Political Science Bachelor's Degree: 120 credits
Learn more about the bachelor’s degree in political science, including an overview of the program, career opportunities and more.
College of Liberal Arts
Department of Political Science