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Department of Political Science

Welcome to the Cal State LA Political Science Department! This is a place for those who wish to study government, politics, and power. We examine how individuals and groups make decisions, seek influence, and interact with one another in different political systems. Political science encompasses a wide range of subfields, including comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and public administration. The knowledge we provide helps students to understand and change the world, and prepare for careers in many different fields.

Political Science at Cal State LA

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Our Programs

The department offers three degree programs. The Bachelor of Arts provides a thorough overview of the main parts of the discipline, with specialization possible in the subfields of Global Politics, Prelegal Studies, or Public Administration (minors are also offered in these areas). The Master of Arts provides more intensive and advanced instruction in political science, while the Master of Public Administration concentrates on core topics in the management of the public sector.

Our Mission

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 Political Science?

BallotFaculty and students in the department engage in teaching and learning -- critically and systematically -- about government, politics, public affairs, and public policy in the United States and the world. As a political science major, you will hone the writing, communication, analytical, and data skills that are fundamental to a liberal arts education. This type of education will prepare you to think critically and independently, help you appreciate differing points of view, and give you an improved knowledge of current affairs. 

The BA degree provides pre-professional education for many careers, including government service, non-profit organizations, campaign management, media, teaching, and business. The degree is also an excellent foundation for law school and other graduate programs. The MA and MPA programs prepare students for professional careers in such areas as public service, public sector management, international relations, journalism, and teaching. In all cases, the department's programs prepare students for more effective civic engagement and participation in American politics (as well as that of other countries).

The American Political Science Association explains more about the discipline and career opportunities with a political science degree:

Why Cal State LA?

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Cal State LA is a superb place to study politics:

  • Experienced and accomplished faculty members who cover the major fields in the discipline.
  • 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.
  • An exciting location in the city of Los Angeles, with much to study nearby.
  • A record of graduates gaining admission to competitive law schools and graduate programs.
  • Opportunities for internships, participation in our award-winning Model United Nations chapter, and field trips locally and to Sacramento and Washington, DC.

Undergraduate Advisement

Undergraduate students are welcome to consult with the department chair for advice on department and university requirements. Students are also encouraged to utilize the services of the College of Natural Sciences Advisement Center, especially on issues of reinstatement and academic disqualification. 

Contact Us

Department Chair and Undergraduate Advisor
Prof. Taylor Dark: [email protected]

Master of Public Administration Program, Director and Graduate Advisor 
Prof. Chongmyoung Lee: [email protected]

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

You belong at Cal State LA