Why Political Science?
Many students want to know how governments are organized, how rules are made and how government influences the amount and distribution of social rewards. As a citizen you may want to know how to wield influence and change rules or outcomes, either through government or in other political situations. You may wish to work in government or in the many organizations that are regulated by and try to influence government. Any of these purposes can be served by a greater understanding of politics.
The study of political science helps to prepare you for the exercise of your rights, duties and opportunities as citizens. Courses in politics can lead you to fuller understanding of various areas such as American government institutions, legislative processes, foreign policy, international relations, public law and political theory.
Many students see the value of combining an understanding of politics with other fields, such as the natural sciences, economics, business, sociology, education or philosophy. Students who study and work in these fields will find many instances in which their interests and goals are the subject matter of politics.
If you major in political science at PLU, you will acquire the skills expected of liberal arts graduates and gain special skills and abilities that enable you to pursue career paths in fields such as the law, private interest groups and associations, governmental employment, campaign management and political polling, business and journalism.
The department encourages you to become involved in politics through internships, volunteering to help political groups and election campaigns, or membership in groups like College Democrats or College Republicans. Faculty help organize and sponsor opportunities to put your skills and ideas to work.
The political science faculty at PLU share a wide range of experience in teaching and research, professional associations and conferences in the United States and abroad, and government decision making from local to international levels. They have written and contributed to more than a dozen books and encourage students to share in their research interests.
What Careers Are There in Political Science?
Political Science students most often choose careers in:
- Law, either as an attorney or administrator
- Law enforcement
- Private businesses
You may find it necessary or desirable to pursue graduate studies for some of these fields, as do many students. For example, about one-third of political science students seriously consider attending law school. Others pursue graduate study in international affairs, public administration or political science.
The faculty at PLU will encourage you to consider a variety of career possibilities, and include an internship in your study program. Many students hold internships in state and local governments, law firms and in the national government.
Special Departmental Offerings
Through the Department of Political Science and its Pre-Law Center, PLU offers an advising program to students who are planning to attend law school after graduation. Admissions committees at American law schools recommend that successful applicants be well and broadly educated, literate and numerate, and that they be critical thinkers and articulate communicators. This is exactly what a sound liberal arts education at PLU provides.
If you are interested in postgraduate legal education, you should consult with a pre-law advisor for assistance in selecting courses that will help you identify, develop and explore perspectives on the nature of American law and its profession. Many resources are available at PLU's Pre-Law Center, including information on LSAT/LSDAS registration, catalogs from American and Canadian law schools, opportunities for field trips and an advising newsletter.
Phi Alpha Delta
You will be invited to join PLU's Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, a national professional service organization composed of law and pre-law students, legal educators, attorneys, judges and governmental officials. PLU's chapter is open to all interested students. Recently chapter members served as jurors for mock trials by local law students, attended an annual Law Fair Day at a local law school, heard PLU graduates talk about their legal careers and visited with recent graduates who are now attending law school.
To declare a Major or Minor in Political Science, contact the department chair for an appointment.