Political Science

  • Banner is made up of three images representing our three branches of government. They include the Capitol building, the White House, and the Supreme Court building

    Department of Political Science

  • President Harrison and CSUN DC Interns, 2013
  • A Conversation with Gov. Michael Dukakis and Gov. Linda Lingle

Why Major in Political Science?

Political science is the study of government, including American government at all levels (national, state, and local) and the governments of countries throughout the world. Political scientists look at official governmental institutions, government policies, and the politics that go into the making of those policies.

In this country, our government consists of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Political scientists examine the workings of these institutions. They also examine the political process such as parties and interest groups, while taking into account the family, individual psychology, issues of race, gender, social class, and political communications.

Political scientists concern themselves with basic valuable questions about law, government, morality, and humanity - questions that confront every society in the world today.

Some students major in political science because it offers the classic benefits of a liberal arts education: training in critical thinking and informed judgment that leads to a broad understanding of the human condition - the sort of understanding that is the hallmark of an educated person as well as a competent citizen.

Many students choose it as preparation for law school, government service, or a political career. Some of its courses, such as budgeting practices and personnel management, are useful preparation for jobs in public and in the private sectors. And because political science includes the sub-fields of international relations and comparative government, it is also a pathway to international employment in either the private or public sectors.

Employers whose decisions must take account of political and community considerations frequently seek to hire political science majors. In addition, a political science major can lead to a secondary teaching career or to a variety of political and social research careers. 

Why Study Political Science at Northridge?

Students seeking the bachelor's degree in Political Science learn about both domestic and global policy and politics. A wide variety of courses and flexible requirements for the major allow students to design large parts of their own programs.

Political Science majors take 48 course units. Required basic courses include American political institutions, European and comparative government, international relations, principles and methods of political science, and political theory. Advanced courses total 36 units, and it is here that students have the flexibility to design a program suited to their own interests. The program is capped with two proseminars or one proseminar and an internship.

Students may also minor in Political Science. A minor requires lower division courses in American political institutions, European and comparative government, and international relations, and various upper division courses chosen from the two major areas.

The department offers a master of arts in Political Science and, through an external program, a master of Public Administration is available for those already working in the public administration field.