Political Science

Political Science


Clark Hall 471
Voice: 408‑924‑5550
Fax: 408‑924‑5556
Department Website


Lawrence Quill,

Admin. Support Coordinator

Elizabeth Harding, 408‑924‑5552

Advising Hours

  • Follow the instructions on the Faculty page.

Impaction Criteria

  • See the Department Advisor for requirements to declare the Political Science Major.

Degree Requirements

Major Requirements


Sample Program of Study

About the Department

Political science majors study the public issues of the day as well as the timeless issues of government, public policy and the political process as preparation for a wide variety of careers. Our courses cover the full spectrum of political science, from U.S. politics and public administration to public law, comparative politics, international relations and political theory. Faculty members are experts in each of these areas, and are noted for their scholarship, real-world political experience and dedication to teaching. All of our classes are taught by professors - not graduate assistants - and classes are small enough for faculty to get to know students and give personal attention to the development of their analytical and communication skills.

SJSU's Political Science Department features excellent personal advising, an extensive internship program, a Model United Nations, and annual trips to the California Supreme Court and the state Capitol. We offer a number of scholarships exclusively for political science majors as well as funded internships in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

The study of political science prepares students for a variety of careers including the law, teaching, government service, legislative staffing, political consulting, interest group representation, international relations and business, nonprofit and other organizations as well as for graduate school. See our web page for a list of the occupations of our many successful graduates.

The department also offers a graduate program in public administration to prepare students for administrative and professional careers in public service. The Public Administration program also offers an option to specialize in emergency management.

Our advisors assist students in designing a BA in Political Science to meet their individual interests, needs and goals. Students choose their own advisors in political science so they can be sure to have an advisor who shares their special area of interest, whether it is international relations, comparative politics, U.S. politics or political theory. Special advisors are available for students aiming at careers in law, teaching and public administration. New students are welcome to talk with any faculty member or with the department chair as their initial advisor. See our web page for names, office hours and phone numbers.

Only a few specific courses are required for a political science major - students are allowed lots of choices for the rest so they can focus on areas of politics that interest them most or fit best with their career goals. Students may take a wide variety of political science courses to complete their major, or may choose a career-oriented focus such as:

  • Practical Politics: a selection of courses recommended for careers in politics, including government, legislative staffing, campaigns and interest group or corporate representation.
  • Public Administration: for students interested in careers in managing or analyzing government for nonprofit programs and organizations.
  • International Relations: for students who wish to pursue professional international careers.
  • Law: for students planning careers in law.
  • Political Thought: for students aiming at graduate school in political theory or desiring an especially strong liberal arts education.