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Study Political Science for a Better Grasp of the World Around You

Political news is all around us, on every platform, all the time. But you want to go beyond the headlines and better understand the people and processes of politics. You want to make informed decisions for yourself, your community, and the world around you.

In IUP’s Political Science BA degree program, you'll learn how to be a more knowledgeable citizen and get a solid foundation for your future. You’ll develop a deeper awareness of how and why political systems work—or fail—and how you can best be involved within them.

Why Major in Political Science?

Studying political science prepares you for a wide range of career opportunities because it emphasizes three essential skills all employers seek:

  • Critical, independent thinking.
  • Empathy and appreciation for diverse world views.
  • Effective oral and written communications.

You’ll also build a strong base that will give you options for your academic journey. The knowledge and tools you’ll gain in our bachelor in political science program will give you the confidence to pursue virtually any graduate degree program.

Studying for a political science degree will help you become a better informed and active citizen within your community and beyond. You’ll develop a deeper, more complex understanding of and appreciation for world events and their causation and effects.

What You’ll Learn

Political science is the study of politics, government, and public policy. In IUP’s political science program, you’ll study:

  • The processes of government—for example, how a bill becomes a law.
  • The institutions of government—executive, legislative, judicial, etc.
  • The behavior of the people in government—both elected officials and government workers.
  • How citizens interact with their government—asking questions like “Why don’t more people vote?”

You’ll dive into the underlying ways power, authority, rules, constitutions, and laws affect our lives. Like other social sciences, political science enables you to look deeper into human behavior, both individually and collectively.

Imagine Your Future

Completing a Political Science BA proves you’re willing to work hard, take on the tough tasks, and come away a more enlightened citizen because of those challenges. It shows you’re prepared for almost anything your future brings.

Political science majors pursue various academic and professional paths, including careers in private, for-profit, and nonprofit organizations and the public sector.

After graduation, you can go on to graduate school to earn your:

  • Master or doctorate in political science, sociology, or other social science discipline
  • Master’s degree in public administration
  • Law degree

No matter which career or academic path you choose after graduation, the future holds exciting promise.

Similar Occupations

  • College instructors
  • Economists
  • Historians
  • Market research analysts
  • Sociologists
  • Survey researchers
  • Urban and regional planners

Career Opportunities in Political Science

Common careers among IUP’s Political Science BA alumni include:

  • Business or finance executive
  • Campaign manager
  • Communications/public relations professional
  • Government official
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer (requires a law degree)
  • Legislative assistant

Median annual wage:

$125,350

Highest-paid 25%:

$157,710

Lowest-paid 25%:

$90,780

Classes and Requirements

You’ll work closely with your faculty advisor to get the insight and support you need to choose courses that best fit your future.

Our dedicated faculty purposely designed the BA in Political Science to give you a lot of flexibility. You can specialize in a particular topic or obtain a broad background in politics and policy.

Four required core courses provide you with the basic skills and foundation you’ll need for success in all other courses offered by the Political Science Department. The other eight courses are political science courses, and you’ll choose which ones are right for your area of study or intended career direction.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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4+1 and Early Admission Program: Start Your Public Affairs MA Ahead of the Rest

If you already know that a master in public affairs is your goal after graduation, our 4+1 and Early Admission Program may be right for you.

Once you’re accepted, you can begin to take graduate seminars that will count toward both your undergraduate and graduate degrees. This means you’ll complete your master’s program one year earlier than most of your peers, saving time and money and getting you out into the workforce.

About the MAPA

IUP’s MA in Public Affairs is a practical degree that gives you the background and skills for a career as a public administrator at local, state, national, and international levels. It also can prepare you for management positions in private and nonprofit organizations. The Public Affairs MA program is multidisciplinary. It will help you hone key skills such as

  • Policy analysis
  • Administrative management
  • Budgeting
  • Public administration

Applications are accepted during the semester in which you earn your sixtieth credit (typically spring semester sophomore year). You’ll need at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) and to have completed 15 credits in your major to apply.

Political Science Internships: Get Work Experience While Still in School

Almost every job application asks for work experience. How do you get that while you’re still in school? Internships can give you:

  • Real-world experience
  • Course credit toward graduation
  • A leg up in developing your professional network
  • The confidence to go further

While an internship is not required to complete your bachelor’s degree in political science, it is strongly recommended for all the advantages you’ll gain beyond the classroom. Plus, you can earn up to 12 credit hours for your hard work.

All political science internships are coordinated and supervised by Professor Sarah Wheeler (wheeler@iup.edu), a faculty member in the Political Science Department. For a detailed explanation of the internship program and the application process, as well as the application form, please refer to the two-part Internship Handbook for Political Science Majors.

Consider a Political Science Minor

Adding a political science minor will enhance the career opportunities for any major you choose.

A political science minor will give you a better understanding of the influence of public policy on careers in your field of study—and your future career. Political science emphasizes critical thinking and effective communications, so this minor will help you sharpen career skills that are in high demand among all professions. Plus, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for politics and policymaking, and become a more engaged, informed, and confident citizen.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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We're Committed to Your Success

Political Science Department faculty advisors are deeply committed to your success during—and after—your time at IUP. Assisting you throughout your education and getting you started on your career or graduate school is our priority. We’re proud of your success and will strive to always provide the academic advice that's best for you.

We promise:

  • Your academic advisor will be a faculty member of the Political Science Department.
  • You will have the same advisor throughout the entire time you’re a political science major.
  • Your faculty advisor will work closely with you every semester to help you select courses that match your goals and interests, as well as help you plan for your career or for graduate school.

The Political Science Department Is Your “Home Away from Home”

Whether you’re a long way from home or from just down the street, consider the Political Science Department your second home. We are passionate about creating a sense of community among our students and faculty and want you to always feel welcome. If you’re majoring or minoring in political science, you're invited to come by and say hi, study, or chat with friends between classes. Feel comfortable discussing courses or current events with our professors—we always enjoy the discourse.

Join Us for a Department Coffee Break

Finding a place that feels like home is so important while you’re on campus. So at least twice a month (and usually more often), we host Department Coffee Breaks with coffee and snacks. We hope you’ll take these opportunities to get to know your classmates and interact with our faculty outside of the classroom.