Political Science, Bachelor of Arts College of Letters & Science

The Political Science Major Program

Political science is the study of politics and political systems at the local, national, and international levels. It concerns not only the institutions of government but also the analysis of such phenomena as political behavior, political values, political change and stability, parties, pressure groups, bureaucracies, administrative behavior, justice, national security, and international affairs.

The Program

The Department of Political Science offers three majors: International Relations, Political Science, and Political Science—Public Service.

  • The International Relations major explores problems of security, development, ethnic conflict, human rights, health, and the environment at a global level.
  • The Political Science major aims to provide the student with a broad understanding of political concepts, political institutions, political behavior, and political processes.
  • The Political Science—Public Service major is for students who desire opportunities for practical hands-on experience in their major. It differs in particular from the political science major in its internship requirement and its focus on the American political system.

Major Advisors

Contact the Department of Political Science

Internships & Career Alternatives

Both the proximity of UC Davis to the state capitol and the programs offered by the UC Washington Center afford exceptional internship possibilities in local, state, and national government offices, providing students with actual experience in politics and government service while still attending school. A student who majors in political science acquires research and analytic skills relevant to many professional fields. Consequently, the majors offered in political science are valuable not only in providing students with a better understanding of politics and political systems, but also as a first step toward careers in teaching, law, management, government, urban planning,  journalism, politics, administration, or for graduate studies in numerous fields.

American History & Institutions

This University requirement may be satisfied by passing any one of the following Political Science (POL) courses:1

POL 001American National Government4
POL 005Contemporary Problems of the American Political System4
POL 100Local Government & Politics4
POL 102Urban Public Policy4
POL 104California State Government & Politics4
POL 105The Legislative Process4
POL 106The Presidency4
POL 108Policy Making in the Public Sector4
POL 109Public Policy & the Governmental Process4
POL 113American Political Thought4
POL 130Recent U.S. Foreign Policy4
POL 131Analysis of U.S. Foreign Policy4
POL 160American Political Parties4
POL 163Group Politics4

See also under American History & Institutions requirements.

Graduate Study

The Department of Political Science offers a program of graduate study and research leading to a Ph.D. degree or an M.A./J.D. joint degree. The M.A./J.D. joint degree is done only in conjunction with UC Davis School of Law. Information concerning admission to these programs and requirements for completion are available in the Graduate Program Coordinator's office.

Graduate Advisor

Contact the Department of Political Science

Preparatory Subject Matter
Political Science
POL 051Scientific Study of Politics (required)4
Choose three: 112
American National Government
Introduction to Comparative Politics
International Relations
Basic Concepts in Political Theory
Choose one: 14
American National Government
Introduction to Comparative Politics
International Relations
Basic Concepts in Political Theory
Contemporary Problems of the American Political System
Contemporary Issues in Law & Politics
America Decides: Who Will Win This Year's Election?
Citizen Lawmaking: Direct Democracy, Public Policy & Political Representation in America
Politics & Film
Political Persuasion
Politics & Sports
Climate Change & Politics
Choose one:4
Elementary Statistics
Elementary Statistics
Gateway to Statistical Data Science
Data Visualization in the Social Sciences
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal24
Depth Subject Matter
Four courses in one of the fields of concentration listed below.16
Three courses in another field of concentration listed below.12
Two courses in another field of concentration listed below.8
Two other upper division courses in Political Science. 28-9
Fields of Concentration
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal44-45
Total Units68-69

No overlap permitted between sections.


Only 5 units of POL 192A & POL 192B may be counted toward the depth subject matter; POL 198 & POL 199 may not be counted.

Fields of Concentration

American Politics

Courses with POL 001 recommended:

POL 100Local Government & Politics4
POL 102Urban Public Policy4
POL 104California State Government & Politics4
POL 105The Legislative Process4
POL 106The Presidency4
POL 107Environmental Politics & Administration4
POL 108Policy Making in the Public Sector4
POL 109Public Policy & the Governmental Process4
POL 150Judicial Politics & Constitutional Interpretation4
POL 151Constitutional Politics of the First Amendment & the Right to Privacy.4
POL 152The Constitutional Politics of the Equality4
POL 153The Constitutional Politics of the Justice System4
POL 154Legal Philosophy4
POL 155Judicial Process & Behavior4
POL 160American Political Parties4
POL 161Ballots, Bucks, & Maps: The Rules of the Electoral Game in American Politics4
POL 162Elections & Voting Behavior4
POL 163Group Politics4
POL 164Public Opinion4
POL 165Mass Media & Politics4
POL 166Women in Politics4
POL 168Chicano Politics4
POL 170Political Psychology4
POL 171The Politics of Energy4
POL 172American Political Development4
POL 174Government & the Economy4
POL 175Science, Technology, & Policy4
POL 176Racial Politics4
POL 180Bureaucracy in Modern Society4
POL 183Administrative Behavior4
POL 187Administrative Theory4
POL 195Special Studies in American Politics4
POL 196ASeminar in American Politics4

Comparative Politics

Courses with POL 002 recommended:

POL 126Ethnic Self-Determination & International Conflict4
POL 140AComparative Political Institutions: Electoral Systems 4
POL 140BComparative Political Institutions: Parties 4
POL 140CComparative Political Institutions: Legislatures4
POL 140DWhen Institutions Fail4
POL 140EPolicy-Making Processes4
POL 142AComparative Development: Political Development in Modernizing Societies4
POL 142BComparative Development: Politics & Inequality 4
POL 142CComparative Political Development: Democracy & Democratization4
POL 143ALatin American Politics4
POL 143BMexican Politics4
POL 144APolitics of Post-Communist Countries: East European Politics 4
POL 144BPolitics of Post-Communist Countries: Russia4
POL 146APolitics of Africa: Issues in Contemporary African Politics4
POL 146BPolitics of Africa: Development in Africa4
POL 147AWest European Politics4
POL 147BWest European Politics: British Politics 4
POL 147CWest European Politics: French Politics4
POL 147DWest European Politics: German Politics4
POL 148AGovernment & Politics of East Asia: China4
POL 148BGovernment & Politics in East Asia: Japan4
POL 148CGovernment & Politics in East Asia: Southeast Asia4
POL 179Special Studies in Comparative Politics4
POL 196BSeminar in Comparative Politics4

International Relations

Courses with POL 003 recommended:

POL 120Theories of International Politics4
POL 121Scientific Study of War4
POL 122International Law4
POL 123The Politics of Interdependence4
POL 124The Politics of Global Inequality4
POL 126Ethnic Self-Determination & International Conflict4
POL 129Special Studies in International Politics4
POL 130Recent U.S. Foreign Policy4
POL 131Analysis of U.S. Foreign Policy4
POL 132National Security Policy4
POL 134Africa & U.S. Foreign Policy4
POL 135International Politics of the Middle East4
POL 136The Arab-Israeli Conflict4
POL 137International Relations in Western Europe4
POL 139Special Studies in Foreign Policy4
POL 190International Relations4
POL 196CSeminar in International Relations4

Political Theory

Courses with POL 004 recommended:

POL 110The Strategy of Politics4
POL 112Contemporary Democratic Theory4
POL 113American Political Thought4
POL 114Quantitative Analysis of Political Data4
POL 115Medieval Political Thought4
POL 116Foundations of Political Thought4
POL 117Topics in the History of Political Thought4
POL 118AHistory of Political Theory: Ancient4
POL 118BHistory of Political Theory: Early Modern4
POL 118CHistory of Political Theory: Late Modern4
POL 119Contemporary Political Thought4
POL 187Administrative Theory4
POL 196DSeminar in Political Theory4