The Department of Political Science offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs to prepare students for professional careers in public service, law, international relations, teaching, and for more effective civic participation as a citizen, public servant, or elected official. Undergraduate study in political science is designed to develop knowledge, analytical skills, and critical insight into the nature of politics and political problems. The Department attempts to acquaint students with the broad questions that have occupied political thinkers and theorists for millenia, as well as the contemporary issues both in this country and abroad and the skills necessary to analyze and understand those issues.
BA in Political Science: Four Options
The General Option allows students to take a broad program of undergraduate preparation for active participation in public life or for graduate study in Political Science. Option worksheets are available in PDF format.
The Global Politics Option provides undergraduate preparation focusing on the changing nature of international politics and the emergence of a global political space. Option worksheets are available in PDF format.
The Prelegal Studies Option provides undergraduate preparation for entrance into a graduate school of law. Option worksheets are available in PDF format.
The Public Administration Option provides undergraduate preparation for career government service or positions in non-profit organizations. Option worksheets are available in PDF format.
Careers for Political Science majors are broad and varied, ranging from the traditional government service and law school to public service broadly conceived, community action, civic education, teaching in secondary school and journalism. Many Political Science majors work in government, management consulting firms, political organizations, research organizations, civic or taxpayer associations, and corporations.
The university catalog also has the complete requirements for each option.
Roadmaps for Course Planning
A "roadmap" is a guide to completing your bachelor's degree. A guide is a planning document. To help you plan your career at Cal State LA we have provided four "roadmaps" for you, two for full-time students (frosh and transfers) and two for part-time students (frosh and transfers). Full-time means that you take courses every quarter except summer (don't forget to keep on reading during the summer).
Part-time students: Part-time students generally take two to three courses per quarter. Part-time status varies at Cal State LA. The roadmap shows two to three courses in some quarters, no courses in other quarters, and assumes that you will take approximately thirty units per year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Minors in Political Science
The Department offers four minor programs for students majoring in other fields. Political Science majors cannot do a minor in the Department of Political Science. Minors offered include:
General Minor -- (28 units) for students from any major, designed to allow students to gain some acquaintance with any parts of the field of Political Science without investing in the number of units required for a major. Information in PDF format.
Global Politics Minor -- (20 units) designed for students who who are interested in careers abroad or working for public or private sector organizations with an international focus. The minor includes courses in world politics, international relations, international political economy, U.S. foreign policy, and the governments and politics of several areas of the world. Information in PDF format.
Prelegal Minor -- (20 units) for students who wish to have several courses in such subjects as Constitutional Law, Judicial Process, Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, and/or Legal Research Techniques as general preparation for law school. Information in PDF format.
Public Administration Minor -- (20 units) for students who wish to have coursework in budgeting, personnel, intergovernmental relations, urban administration, organizational techniques, and management techniques in the public sector as general preparation for working in government or the nonprofit sector. Students in other majors that use public administration courses from this department can use those courses in the minor, as long as one additional course is taken for the minor. Information in PDF format.
The specific requirements for each minor are also indicated in the undergraduate Political Science section of the University Catalog.
Students interested in a minor should meet with a department advisor, preferably in the beginning stages of their minor coursework. In this way, any potential roadblocks or problems, potential substitutions, etc. can be clarified. Please contact the department to find out which adviser to contact.
In general, POLS courses that are used on your major can be used on a POLS minor.
Warning on the timing of graduation when you have a minor: if you file for graduation and complete all major major and GE requirements, you will be graduated even if you have not completed the minor and will not be able to complete the minor after you graduate.
Scholarships and Internships
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.
Undergraduates can be employed as research assistants for Department and faculty projects as the need arises. Watch the bulletin boards.