The politics major provides a liberal arts education that fosters an appreciation of diverse political cultures and identities as well as responsible civic engagement. While not designed as a vocational major, it prepares students for careers in government service, international affairs, secondary school teaching, journalism, community service, and business.
It also serves the needs of students who seek postgraduate education in political science, law, public policy, and international studies. Students seeking a career in the legal profession will find that the Politics Department’s law-related courses will prepare them with a broad background and specific tools with which to undertake their legal education.
The department participates in several off-campus programs that allow students to combine study with practical experience in public life. Students may arrange to receive academic credit for internships with local agencies, officials, or political groups. Students interested in American politics can spend a semester studying at American University in Washington, DC, which includes an internship with a government agency or interest group. A similar arrangement with the California State University in Sacramento provides an opportunity to study California state government.
Students who expect to pursue graduate study in politics should note that knowledge of foreign languages and/or statistics is usually required for a graduate degree. Knowledge of modern languages is also particularly important for careers in international affairs. Department faculty advisors assist students in the selection of appropriate elective courses according to the student's educational and career goals.