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Welcome to Political Science

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Who decides?  Who gets what, when, how and why?  The decisions that govern our lives are made by government - and for Americans, governing choices are determined by politics.

In the Political Science Program, you'll learn the ideas of great political thinkers, controversies involved in issues as current as the front page of today's newspapers, and everything in between.  You will have engaging discussions and debates from all points of view in class, with students and professors.  You'll learn to think critically, write clearly and speak persuasively.  You'll learn the stories behind the headlines and how to find the information to make up your own mind about issues as diverse as assisted suicide, international terrorism, campaign finance, or censorship.

Our Students

Political Science students come from many different backgrounds and have a wide range of interests, such as pre-law, domestic and foreign government, public policy, political activism, international relations, and political thought.  Many of our students are involved in student organizations such as the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society, Pre-Law Society, International Affairs Club, and OSU Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team.  Political Science students have also participated in Mock Trial, Model European Union, and Model United Nations competitions.

Student Spotlight

Brandon Southward


Brandon Southward, Junior
Political Science

Brandon Southward is the Editor-in-Chief for the Daily Barometer and was recently featured on NPR...click here to read more

Political Science graduates find rewarding jobs such as lawyers, legislative staffers, public officials, military officers, non-profit/non-governmental organization staffers, policy analysts, journalists, teachers and university professors, even business executives!  Many go on to advanced study in fields such as law, diplomacy, public policy, and public administration.  Whatever you want to learn about, politics, government, law, or related subjects, Political Science will allow you to do it. Click here to visit the American Political Science Association's website for more information on careers for political scientists.

Our Courses

Political Science offers coursework in four subfields:

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Political Theory

Students can also choose from courses that cover a broad range of topics such as:

  • Public Policy
  • Environmental Politics & Policy
  • Law and Judicial Politics
  • Political Economy

With Political Science class sizes ranging from 30-80, our students find classes small enough to provide plenty of interaction with faculty, both inside and outside of class.

Through internships, students gain practical real-world work experience.  Some examples of internships include working with: legislators in Salem and Washington D.C., county and state officials, government agencies, non-profit legislative advocacy organizations, law firms, and foreign embassies. Many Political Science students also choose to study or complete their internships abroad through OSU's Office of International Programs.

Political Science students often minor in related subjects such as: Asian Studies, Business, Economics, Foreign Languages & Literature, History, Leadership, Philosophy, and Sociology (including Crime & Justice), among many others. 

Many students also find the concurrent International Degree a nice complement to Political Science.

Our Faculty

In Political Science, you'll be able to learn from faculty with worldwide experience and knowledge.  Faculty members have participated in international research and teaching experiences in Peru, Ecuador, Russia, China, England, and Bulgaria, among other places.

As a Political Science student, you can study Latin American politics with a three-time Fulbright award winner; explore Russia and Eastern Europe with a professor who is regularly consulted by the U.S. Department of State; study environmental and resource policy with a professor consulted regularly by the U.S. Forest Service; discuss government with a professor who served as a consultant for a newly independent government in Eastern Europe; study political theory with a Fulbright award winning professor who is published in the top ranking political science academic journal.