Department of Political Science

Office Location: Engineering and Technology Building (E&T), Room A524  

Phone (323) 343-2230 | Fax (323) 343-6452 

Political Science at Cal State LA

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. The Department offers three degree programs: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Master of Arts in Political Science, and Master of Public Administration.

The Bachelor of Arts in Political Science provides pre-professional education for careers in government, non-profit organizations, teaching, and business, as well as for admission to graduate and law school. Students may choose from four options: General Political Science, Global Politics, Prelegal Studies, and Public Administration. The Department also offers minors in General Political Science, Prelegal Studies, Public Administration, and Global Politics to students majoring in other subjects. The two graduate degree programs prepare students for professional careers in government, public service, public sector management, international relations, and teaching. The Department's graduate as well as undergraduate courses help to prepare students for more effective civic engagement and participation in an urban and global context.

Brochures from the American Political Science Association:

Contacting the Department

Chair of the Department
Prof. Taylor Dark: [email protected]

Graduate Advisor for the Master of Public Administration 
Prof. Ellen Shiau:

Graduate Advisor for the Master of Arts in Political Science
Prof. Michael McLendon: [email protected]



Undergraduate Advisement

Undergraduate students are encouraged to utilize the services of the College of Natural Sciences Advisement Center for advisement on major and university requirements. Students can also consult with individual faculty members in the Political Science Department.  


What Do Political Scientists Do?

Democratic National CommitteePolitical 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 recent decades.

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, and voting, and judicial, legislative and administrative behavior. They also study the impact of public policy and the implications of political institutions and behavior.

Political scientists study:

  • American politics
  • Comparative politics (politics of other nations)
  • International relations
  • 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
  • World politics

Mission Statement

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,
  • Contribute to the discipline of political science through professional participation and scholarly activities in academic and civic communities.

Why Cal State LA?

There are several advantages to studying politics at CSULA:

  • A well-rounded faculty of both senior and junior scholars who effectively cover the major fields in the discipline of political science.
  • A department and university culture that values effective and enthusiastic teaching.
  • Relatively small classes (usually no more than 40 students) that encourage interaction among students and faculty.
  • The stimulation of studying politics in an exciting city marked by constant change and robust political conflict.
  • Model United Nation studentsA record of graduates gaining admission to competitive law and graduate schools.
  • Multiple opportunities for interaction with other students through student clubs, including an award-winning Model United Nations chapter. Members of the department's Political Science Association have traveled to Washington, D.C., Sacramento, Los Angeles City Hall, and other political locations.