Political Science

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2020-2021, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2020. Access the catalog of record at https://catalogs.sandiego.edu.

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 engagement, study abroad, and semesters in Washington, D.C. 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 Internship Program

Students are encouraged to participate in an internship while at USD. 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 also provides an opportunity to experience political and administrative activities, which may suggest future career possibilities. Students may enroll in up to six internship units, but no more than three units (POLS 436, 448, 486, 498) may be counted toward the IR major or minor.

USD/Washington Center Internship Semester and Intersession Seminar

Students have the opportunity to enroll in a 3-unit intersession course (POLS 400) in Washington, D.C. This course provides students with an opportunity to study current political, social, and economic issues while living in Washington, D.C. for two weeks in January.

University of San Diego students also have the opportunity to earn academic credit in a semester or summer-long internship program in Washington, D.C. These experiences 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 capital. 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 to 9 units in the summer. Students may enroll in up to six internship units, but no more than three units (POLS 436, 448, 486, 498) may be counted toward the Political Science major or minor.

Study Abroad

Students are highly encouraged to participate in a study abroad program to complement the major or minor with an international learning experience. USD offers a wide array of study abroad opportunities during the fall and spring semesters, January intersession, and summer. No more than six units from non-USD faculty-led study abroad courses may be applied to the Political Science major or minor.

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.