Prof. Dark (far right) and students from the Cal State LA Political Science Association meeting
with Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis in March 2019.
The department has a long tradition of student involvement in various clubs and organizations. There are currently four student organizations active in the department:
The Cal State LA Political Science Association is open to all Cal State LA students interested in the study of politics. As a non-partisan organization, the PSA acts as a liaison between students and the Political Science Department, provides leadership and organizational experience to motivated students, and facilitates a better understanding of politics and political issues on campus and throughout the community.
Among other activities, the PSA regularly takes field trips to various political locations. In the past, the group has visited the State Capitol in Sacramento, academic conferences, and Washington, DC. The group also takes local trips to Los Angeles City Hall and to special events throughout southern California. PSA Constitution.
The Pre-Law Society is dedicated to providing students with the tools and skills needed to apply to law school successfully. PLS resources include information on scholarships, internships, mentoring programs, and LSAT preparation. PLS members can gain insight into various fields of law by attending PLS guest speaker seminars. In addition, local law school campus visitations are scheduled throughout the year to help students decide which law schools they would like to attend. Law advisors also stress the importance of extracurricular participation for those interested in applying to law programs.
In recent years, the Pre-Law Society has held an annual banquet at the end of the academic year, and a day-long Law Fair each spring (with representatives from 15 law schools, many workshops and panels, and a chance for a free LSAT prep course).
The department sponsors our local chapter (Gamma Omega) of Pi Sigma Alpha, a national political science honorary society for students who meet designated academic standards (see below). Pi Sigma Alpha has organized lectures, field trips, essay contests, as well as sponsoring an annual banquet in which membership certificates have been awarded. With the payment of a one-time $35.00 fee, those who are qualified receive life-time membership of Pi Sigma Alpha, an official certificate, and a pin. Medallions and cords (to be worn at graduation) can also be ordered for an additional charge.
According to the Pi Sigma Alpha by-laws, election to active membership shall be from among such juniors, seniors, and graduate students who are majoring in political science at Cal State LA and who meet each of the following qualifications:
- For Juniors and Seniors, a minimum of at least four upper-division courses (3000-level or 4000-level, comprising a total of 12 semester credits) in political science taken at Cal State LA. For graduate students, at least four courses of graduate-level work at CSULA are required. All courses must be completed at the time of application. In-progress courses are not acceptable.
- A minimum GPA in Political Science courses of 3.0 for undergraduates and 3.5 for graduate students; as well as an overall minimum Cal State LA GPA of 3.0 for undergraduates and 3.5 for graduate students;
- Payment of the one-time national chapter dues ($35.00) (in the form of a check made payable to "Pi Sigma Alpha" provided to Prof. Dark).
To join, send an email to Prof. Taylor Dark at [email protected] stating your interest in joining, and providing your CIN number. Upon acceptance, you should also join the Pi Sigma Alpha Facebook Page.
Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation and/or academic competition in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. MUN involves and teaches research, public speaking, debating, and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities.
At CSULA, the MUN program is open to all enrolled undergraduate students, irrespective of major. Students who wish to participate in this program must sign up for the Model United Nations course, which consists of POLS 420A and POLS 420B. Students must be in good academic standing in both POLS 420A and POLS 420B if they wish to attend the National Model United Nations conference in New York. Those who are not in good academic standing will still be able to complete the course and receive credit, but will not be able to represent CSULA at the NMUN conference.
In POLS 420A, students learn about the history and current operations of the United Nations system encompassing a variety of international issues such as disarmament, security, environmental protection, sustainable development, and human rights.
In POLS 420B, students build on their knowledge by learning the political, social, and economic background of the country represented at the NMUN conference. Students are assigned a committee and collaborate to identify the key country/committee policy objectives. Students then write a position paper that acknowledges accomplishments and shortcomings of their represented country’s implementation of UN resolutions and mandates. POLS 420B prepares students not just for their role as delegate of a specific country, but also helps students prepare for the NMUN conference through mock sessions.
Advisor: Prof. Cynthia McMeekin: [email protected]