Department of Political Science

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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.

These brochures from the American Political Science Association explain more about the discipline and career opportunities with a political science degree:

Contacting the Department

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

Graduate Advisor
Master of Public Administration Program
 
Prof. Ellen Shiau: eshiau@calstatela.edu

Graduate Advisor
Master of Arts in Political Scienc
e Program
Prof. Michael McLendon: [email protected]

Undergraduate Advisement

Undergraduate students are welcome to consult with the department chair for advisement on department and university requirements. Students are also encouraged to utilize the services of the College of Natural Sciences Advisement Center.


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What Do Political Scientists Do?

Democratic National Committee
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 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 notable advantages to studying politics at Cal State Los Angeles:

  • An experienced 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.
  • A 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.   

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