Undergraduate Program

Students on campus, UC Santa Barbara

The Department of Political Science offers a balanced program, emphasizing the integration of theory and practice rather than any single approach or methodology.  Our program encourages students to define and analyze fundamental political concepts such as equality, freedom, justice, and civic obligation from a range of perspectives. Course work in political science provides the opportunity to understand and compare major political institutions, public policies, and the relationships among them as they operate in different national and international contexts.  Students will learn to explain the factors influencing individual-level political attitudes and behavior, and use and evaluate statistical and other types of evidence in analyses and arguments.

Our Subfields

Students majoring in political science choose one area of primary concentration, while also taking courses in other areas.  Classes in political science are organized into four subfields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory. For more info on these subfields, check out our Student Resources page.

Our Courses

The Department offers numerous seminars and lecture courses for undergraduates.  We also offer opportunities for individual, supervised study through independent reading/research courses and honors theses. Students also have the opportunity to gain practical experience through internships. See our schedule of courses and course descriptions for more info.

Our Future

The major prepares students with a bachelor's degree in political science for careers in teaching, law, policy development and implementation, business, teaching, and work in governmental and non-governmental organizations.  We encourage those considering course work in political science to contact our undergraduate advising office.

We care greatly about high-quality teaching in all our classes, large and small, because it is through great instruction that we invest in future generations of effective citizens and scholars.