Division of Social Sciences
To inquire about this program:
Kent Worcester | 212-774-4845 | E-mail
Are you interested in political activism, election campaigns, and learning about the laws that shape our daily lives? Are you concerned about civil rights, health care, poverty, and the environment? Would you like to study these subjects and pursue a career based on your interests? If so, you should consider majoring in political science.
Political science is the study of government, public policy, and politics. It is concerned with the control, use, and abuse of authority and institutions, as well as cultural systems through which power is exercised. Political science uses humanistic and scientific approaches to understand the dynamics of political and social change in the United States and across the globe.
The political science curriculum covers four main areas: comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and U.S. politics. Our introductory courses, at the 100-level, provide students with the foundations for more substantive investigations. Our intermediate courses, at the 200 and 300-levels, expose students to political ideas, institutions, and patterns in the United States and different world areas. Our 400-level courses are designed for juniors and seniors who are ready to pursue their own research projects.
Political science is a popular undergraduate major. Students who major in political science acquire valuable skills in writing, communications, research, and critical analysis. The major prepares students to think independently, with tolerance for other points of view and an informed awareness of current affairs. Political science is the information major, by giving students the ability to make effective use of the enormous flow of information, ideas, data, and rhetoric that is an inescapable feature of the modern world.
The political science major prepares students for careers in law, business, journalism, criminal justice, state, local, and federal government, political campaigns, interest groups, and high school and college teaching. The major gives students the tools to effectively participate in community organizations, electoral politics, and social movements.
Upon graduation, our majors have pursued an exciting range of options, from political campaigns and PhD programs to election monitoring and the Peace Corps. Each year, a percentage of our majors apply to competitive law schools across the country. Other graduates have worked for political parties, or elected officials. A number of our majors have started their own businesses. Some have found jobs in the federal government, or at the state or local level. We regularly invite alums back to campus to talk to our current students about career opportunities and the world outside the classroom.
The political science faculty presents a variety of approaches to the study of politics, combining theoretical analysis with historical and comparative perspectives. We have a diverse faculty that is dedicated to working with students to prepare them for the future. We offer small classes, a friendly campus, and a student-centered approach.
Our students are able to take full advantage of New York City, through guest lectures, speaker series, site visits, and internship opportunities. In the past several years, we have found internships for our students at ABC News, the American Civil Liberties Union, CBS News, the East-West Institute, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the New York City Office of the Attorney General, the New York Press, Senator Hillary Clinton’s office, the United Nations Development Program, the United States Congress, the World Policy Institute, and elsewhere.
The MMC Advantage
Students may, in close collaboration with their advisor, plan a program, that prepares them for a career in law, for entry level positions or graduate study in public administration and/or public policy in government or related agencies, for careers in the criminal justice field, or careers in international affairs. Students who major in political science also gain excellent preparation for careers in journalism, business, and college teaching.
Learning Goals for the Major in Political Science
Upon completing the major in political science, students will be able to:
- Critically reflect on and analyze contemporary political trends and developments.
- Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, about political topics.
- Conduct qualitative and quantitative research on political topics.
- Pursue graduate studies in political science, journalism, law and other professions; and enter careers that require a strong background in political studies.
Students are particularly encouraged and helped to supplement their academic study with experiential opportunities, including New York City-based internships in law, government, and public policy organizations and travel study opportunities in Washington, DC and abroad.
Legal Career Opportunities
Political science students who are interested pursuing a legal career often find employment with corporations, labor unions, trade associations, government agencies, or the foreign service. It is important to realize that law-trained individuals also apply their skills to other than traditional law practice. A political science background coupled with legal training can be an invaluable asset for those interested in public administration or politics.
Federal Government Career Opportunities
Many political science majors seek employment with the federal government. The federal government structure is extremely large and varied and the job opportunities are numerous. A federal government job can cover a wide variety of areas: a teacher in an overseas control school for military or diplomatic children, a junior administrator, budget or personnel assistant to a US overseas installation, or in a government agency inside the US; or a program analyst in the Environmental Protection Agency. You might also be interested in becoming an aide on the staff of a Congressional committee or work in the office of a member of Congress.
Our alumni have become distinguished in the fields of law, government, politics, civil service, private corporations, public relations and teaching. The political science department has made special efforts to keep in touch with alumni who are prominent in their fields, especially in law, inviting them back for frequent contact with our current students, both formally as guest lecturers in classes and informally at get-togethers with undergraduates.
State and Local Career Opportunities
Many political science majors seek careers in state and local governments. State and local governments are hiring more people because they are being asked to deal with a wide range of societal problems. The states are taking increased responsibility in such areas as equal opportunity, consumer protection, highway safety, water pollution, soil conservation, the rehabilitation of addicts, industrial development and manpower training.