Political Science Overview

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2016-2017, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on October 1, 2016. Access the catalog of record at http://catalogs.sandiego.edu.

The Department of Political Science and International Relations offers two majors. For information on the International Relations major, please see the International Relations section of this course catalog.

The Political Science Major

The political science major focuses attention on the shared and contending ideas, values, institutions, and processes of public life. The major is expansive in its reach and accommodates a wide range of student interests. Political science courses range from the specific study of politics in one country (for example, the U.S., Mexico, or France) or of a single institution or political process (the judiciary, Congress, the presidency, or elections), to more general offerings such as courses on political development, revolution, research methods, human rights, and legal theory. The Political Science Department relates theory to practice by providing students with opportunities for simulations, writing workshops, internships, community service, study abroad, semesters in Washington, D.C., and trips to Sacramento. Our faculty is committed to the success of individual students by fostering intellectual curiosity, analytical skills, and a heightened awareness of values. The major prepares students for careers in politics, public service, law, teaching, research, and business, as well as international, national, and local government and non-governmental-organizations. Students should note that courses counted toward another major/minor cannot also be counted toward the Political Science major or minor and that the department does not accept on-line transfer credits toward the major/minor.

USD/Washington Center Internship Semester and Intersession Seminar

University of San Diego students have the opportunity to enroll in a semester-long internship program in Washington, D.C. and earn academic credit toward their major. These internships are coordinated through the Political Science and International Relations Department and The Washington Center, a nationally recognized internship program that pioneered the development of full-time internships in the nation’s capitol. The internship program combines real-world work experience with academic learning in a unique environment that fosters success and achievement. Students earn 12 semester units for participating in a full-time fall or spring semester program and 6-9 units in the summer. Students may not enroll in more than 6 internship units, and only 3 units may be used toward the major or minor.

Students also have the opportunity to enroll in a 3-unit intersession course in Washington, D.C. (POLS 434). This course provides students with an opportunity to study current political, social, and economic issues while living in Washington, D.C. for two weeks. 

USD Internship Program

Students may enroll in POLS 448, “Internship in Political Science.”  An internship provides an opportunity to gain practical, “real world” experience that gives depth and understanding to political issues and concepts discussed in the classroom.  It encourages students to develop the ability to use personal experience to bring new insights and understanding to political processes.  It also provides an opportunity to experience political and administrative activities, which may suggest future career possibilities. Students may not enroll in more than 6 internship units, and only 3 units may be used toward the major or minor.