Why Study Political Science?

windows of blake hall reflecting fraser hall

Political science advances our understanding of politics, power, governance, and public policy in the United States and across the globe.

In the broadest sense, political science is the study of governments and governmental procedures. Political science is as old as civilization, because people always have been interested in their government and in their leaders. But political science as it is thought of today, as one of the social sciences, is a comparatively new discipline. It developed in the United States during the last century as political scientists developed an ability to make increasingly scientific observations of government. Political scientists are concerned with the origins and sources of governmental organizations, their growth, and their decline, as well as with the processes and structure of government.

What part of your life is NOT influenced by politics or public policy?

Come engage our political science professors and students in this discussion through our courses and research. Blake Hall holds an exclusive spot near the Chancellor's residence hugging the edge of the hill and all are welcome to our corner of the campus. Use the links on this page to begin charting your future path in the private, public, or non-profit sector. We can create opportunities for you!

The Department of Political Science offers degrees for undergraduate (B.A., B.G.S.) and graduate (M.A., Ph.D.) students. If you have questions about our graduate or undergraduate programs, we invite you to contact us. Our course offerings are grouped according to subfields which represent our discipline: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Public Policy,  and Political Theory.  People who are interested in joining our department are invited to peruse our faculty and graduate student listings in order to contact people who share their interest.

Ask yourself

Am I interested in public affairs?  Am I a good analytical and critical thinker?  Am I curious about the world and it's workings?  Do I communicate well orally and in writing?  Do I want to be a knowledgeable citizen?  Am I interested in the relationship between government and the people?  Am I curious about how decisions are made and how conflicts are resolved?

Skills that a Political Science major develops (applicable to any job):

  • Present ideas clearly in writing and orally
  • Turn data into useable information
  • Argue and debate effectively
  • Negotiate and mediate conflicts
  • Listen critically
  • Interpret and analyze data
  • Discern good information from bad
  • Perform basic quantitative analysis
  • Use summary statistics
  • Understand the basics of a reliable sample survey
  • Employ effectively a variety of research sources, including the Internet
  • Use computers with facility
  • Design research
  • Summarize findings
  • Test theories and hypotheses
  • Interpret data
  • Understand components of complex problems
  • Synthesize themes from complex issues
  • Assess policy and propose solutions
  • Analyze and solve problems systematically and logically
  • Organize information
  • Conceptualize problems
  • Implement strategies
  • Make effective decisions
  • Demonstrate leadership
  • Work in a team and individually
  • Develop consensus
  • Interact effectively within a diverse environment
  • Think internationally
  • Think “outside the box”
  • See problems from a variety of perspectives
  • Enhance social and civic responsibility
  • Gain an awareness of and sensitivity for their physical and social environment
  • Activist, Advocate/Organizer
  • Administration, Corporate, Government, Non-Profit, etc.
  • Ambassador
  • Archivist, Online Political Data
  • Budget Examiner or Analyst
  • Attorney
  • Banking Analyst or Executive
  • Campaign Operative, Worker
  • Career Counselor
  • CIA Analyst or Agent
  • City Planner
  • City Housing Administrator
  • Congressional Office/Committee Staffer
  • Congressional Research Service
  • Coordinator of Federal or State Aid
  • Communications Director
  • Consultant, Political
  • Corporate Analyst
  • Corporate Public Affairs Advisor
  • Corporate Economist
  • Corporate Manager
  • Corporate Information Analyst
  • Corporate Adviser for Govt'l. Relations
  • Corporate Executive
  • Corporation Legislative Issues Manager
  • County Treasurer
  • Customs Officer
  • Editor, Online Political Journal
  • Education Policy Analyst
  • Entrepreneur
  • FBI Agent
  • Federal Government Analyst
  • Financial Consultant
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Foundation President
  • Free-lance writer
  • High School Government Teacher
  • Immigration Officer
  • Information Manager
  • Intelligence Officer
  • International Agency Officer
  • International Research Specialist
  • Issues Analyst, Corporate Social Policy Div.
  • Journalist
  • Juvenile Justice Specialist
  • Labor Relations Specialist
  • Legislative Analyst / Coordinator
  • Lobbyist
  • Management Analyst
  • Mediator
  • Plans and Review Officer, USIA
  • Policy Analyst
  • Political Commentator
  • Political Director
  • Pollster
  • Public Affairs Research Analyst
  • Public Opinion Analyst
  • Public Relations
  • Research Analyst
  • State Legislator
  • Survey Analyst, Systems Analyst
  • Teacher, University Professor
  • University Administrator
  • Urban Policy Planner
  • Web Content Editor

The department supervises integrated internships for majors who are second-semester juniors or seniors. They are offered during the spring semester in Topeka and Washington, D.C. Programs consist of up to 12 hours in political science—an internship, participation in an intern seminar, and directed readings. Students serve as interns in Topeka or Washington at least 4 days each week and attend weekly seminars. Students also may enroll in a directed readings course with a faculty member on campus. Readings provide a theoretical and analytical study program related to the internship and the seminar. Contact the department early in the fall semester. See internship opportunities.