Faculty and students of the Department of Political Science engage in teaching and learning -- critically and systematically -- about government, politics, public affairs, and public policy in the United States and the world. Political Science courses embrace elements of the liberal arts, social sciences, and citizen education. We offer pre-professional education for a variety of careers in government, non-profit
organizations, and business, as well as for admission to graduate and law school. The Department provides four options for our majors: General Political Science; Global Politics; Prelegal Studies; and Public Administration. We also offer minors in General Political Science, Prelegal Studies, Public Administration, and Global Politics to students majoring in other subjects.
The Department of Political Science offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs to prepare students for professional careers in public service, law, international relations, and teaching, and for more effective civic participation.
Undergraduate students should be sure to check our "roadmaps" for completion of their bachelor's degree.
March 2013: POLS Faculty Present Papers at the Western Political Science Association meeting in Hollywood. CSULA Political Science faculty were well represented at the Western Political Science Association meeting on March 28–30, 2013 in Hollywood. Faculty paper presented included:
Emily Acevedo, "Poverty and Income Inequality in Contemporary Mexico: Vestiges of the Porfirian and PRI Era"
Martin Adamian, "Privacy in a Post Privacy Era: A Comparative Analysis"
Greg Andranovich, "Cities, Olympics, Democracy"
Gar Culbert, "First Time for Everything: Strategic Voting in the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primaries"
Taylor Dark, "Still an Enduring Alliance? The Unions and the Democrats during the Obama Years"
Siegrun Freyss, "Postmodern Public Administration and Local Governance: Seeking Pathways and Models into the Future"
Michael McLendon, "The Dignity of the Provinces: Rousseau and the Minimal Self"
Raphael Sonenshein served on two roundtables: "Los Angeles Legacies: The Mayoral Tenures of Tom Bradley and Antonio Villaraigosa" and "Racial/Ethnic Politics in Post-Villaraigosa Los Angeles"
March 2013: CSULA Model UN Delegation visits New York, and comes back with honors. The CSULA Model United Nations delegation particpated in the national MUN conference in New York in March, and returned with several honors: 1) The entire delegation, representing El Salvador, was awarded "Outstanding Delegation" -- an award that only 20 chapters received out of over 2500 universities; 2) Four of the CSULA MUN committees were awarded for "Outstanding Position Papers" [General Assembly First (Fernando Trejo), General Assembly Fourth (Andrew Morales and Salvador Melendez), Commission on the Status of Women (Elizabeth Lopez and Jasmine Clipper) and United Conference on Trade and Development (Christopher Clark and Sasha Perez]; 3) Two students were selected by their peers as "Outstanding Delegates in Committee" (Sasha Perez and Christopher Clark) for the United Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
February 2013: CSULA Political Science Graduate Receives California State Assembly Fellowship. June 2012 BA graduate Samantha Contreras (pictured at left) was selected to receive a California State Assembly Fellowship for the current academic year. As a Capital Fellow, Contreras is assigned to work as an intern full-time for 11 months, from Oct. 2012 to Sept. 2013, in the Office of Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara). The State Assembly program is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious legislative fellowship programs. This opportunity provides individuals of all ages and backgrounds to directly participate in the legislative process. She follows 2009 CSULA Political Science Graduate Henry Castillo, who served as a fellow in 2010-11.
What Do Political Scientists Do? Political Science is the study of politics, including political institutions, political behavior, and the making and implementation of public policy in settings varying from international to local. It is both a science and an art, in the sense that the art of governing is central to political science, but the discipline has taken on many of the methods and characteristics of a science in the last three decades.
Political scientists study:
Comparative politics (politics of other nations)
Public law (the judicial system and basic laws that govern how our government acts)
Political theory (the development of ideas and concepts about politics and government)
Public administration (how governments administer programs)
Public policy (how programs and policies are formulated, implemented and evaluated), and
In broad terms, political scientists focus on the social processes that determine who gets what, when, and how. Political scientists study elite and mass behavior, conventional and unconventional participation, as well as political economy at the global, regional, national, and subnational levels. Political scientists conduct research about political parties, interest groups, public opinion, voting, and judicial, legislative and administrative behavior. They also study the impact of public policy and the implications of political institutions and behavior.
The mission of the Department of Political Science is to combine teaching, research, and scholarship to educate students to:
Think critically and systematically about government and politics across local,
national, and global settings;
Prepare for successful careers and graduate study in law, public service, politics, international affairs, and numerous other fields;
Become active and informed citizens through an understanding of American politics
and society; and
To contribute to the discipline of political science through professional participation and
scholarly activities in academic and civic communities.
Scholarships The Department, through the University Student Financial Services Office, recommends the award each year of several Hector Elizalde and Ake Sandler Scholarships to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students. You apply for the scholarships each fall through the financial aid office. There are also the John Houk and William Lloyd Scholarships for graduate students in history or political science. Again, you apply through the financial aid office.
The University's Office of Graduate Studies and Research has forms, financial aid information, thesis policies, policies regarding travel support for students attending conferences, and other information specifically for prospective and current graduate students.
Employment Opportunities After graduation, political science majors are employed in almost every part of the public and private sectors. Some graduates go to law school or accept positions with government at the federal, state, or local level -- the traditional goals of political science majors -- but many go into business, the arts, public relations, teaching in secondary schools, campaign consulting, urban and regional planning, or journalism. Others pursue any of the other careers common to liberal arts majors. And some political science majors have gone on to quite lucrative careers, as the New York Times recently reported. Studies on employer preferences indicate that the writing and research skills and creative thinking abilities offered by a political science degree are quite valuable in the contemporary job market.
Political Science majors from Cal State LA have been admitted to national and regional law schools, including the University of Chicago, Yale, UC Davis, Hastings, Loyola, Southwestern, Pepperdine, Chapman, New York University, University of San Diego, Boston College of Law, and University of Santa Clara. Our students have been accepted for graduate training at a wide range of institutions, including Arizona State University, Brown University, Claremont Graduate School, Emory University, Florida State University, George Washington University, the New School (NYC), University of Hawaii, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, University of Southern California, and the University of Texas at Austin.
Cal State LA graduates currently occupy important positions in the public sector at the federal, state, and local levels. Some of the more prominent CSULA graduates in politics are listed here.