Political Science program

Undergrad major Undergrad minor

Study systems of governance and power.

People in our communities make decisions every day that impact our lives – from where to place a local traffic light to how to tackle climate change. If you want to dive into current events, impact public policy and make a difference, then political science may be the right field for you.

A political science degree will prepare you for a wide variety of careers in areas such as government, consulting, public policy, business, political communication and the non-profit sector. It also provides valuable background for citizenship and political action.

The UW-La Crosse Political Science program is dedicated to serving students and the wider community. Instructors challenge, mentor, advise and support students as they pursue internships, research projects, study abroad, and other experiential learning opportunities.

Political science jobs

Many graduates choose career paths associated with the political science major. Other graduates choose unrelated careers that use skills and experiences developed during their time in college. Keep in mind that some fields will require graduate study or further training. The list below offers a few examples of possible career paths.

Political science careers

  • City manager
  • Campaign manager
  • Congressional or white house aide
  • Contract specialist
  • Educator
  • Election supervisor
  • Environmental activist
  • Foreign service officer
  • Government officer
  • Labor relations specialist
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Lawyer
  • Legislative assistant
  • Lobbyist
  • Paralegal or legal assistant
  • Peace corps officer
  • Policy staff assistant
  • Political consultant
  • Politician
  • Program evaluator
  • Public interest group director
  • Speech or technical writer
  • Urban/ regional planner

What distinguishes UWL's Political Science program

Commitment to community involvement

UWL's Department of Political Science and Public Administration places a high value on the Wisconsin Idea, which is the idea that the university's boundaries extend beyond the classroom. The department faculty and students are frequently engaging in outreach and developing projects and other connections that extend into the community.

Student organizations

Students interested in getting involved and exploring interests in political science, public administration, and legal studies, can choose from several department-affiliated student organizations. These include the Political Science and Public Administration Association, Pre-Law Society, College Republicans and College Democrats.

Ample opportunities to participate in undergraduate research

Students find many ways to conduct research within the department such as working jointly with a faculty member on a project, pursuing their own research opportunity, or engaging in original research as part of class. Because of UWL's size and the dedication of faculty in the department, many students are able to engage in research opportunities with faculty mentors.

Internships and study abroad

Students in the department engage in many hands-on methods to learn material such as study abroad and internships. The Political Science & Public Administration Department works closely with Career Services to help students find opportunities for internships and register for internship credit. Students find study abroad opportunities through International Education and Engagement.

Network connects student projects to civic leaders

The UWL Policy Research Network was created to help undergraduates conduct research and prepare reports for civic leaders. The goal of this network is to provide students with valuable, real-world experience and to strengthen ties with civic leaders.

Transferable skills

Political science offers great training for careers in politics, but it also offers foundational skills that can be applied to any career such as quantitative and qualitative analysis, advanced written communication, research methods and critical thinking.

Sample courses

POL 221 The American Legal System An introductory survey of the American legal system in operation; utilizing case materials, class discussion, and hypothetical conflict situations to illustrate and study the range of problems, proceedings, actions, and remedies encountered. Offered Fall, Spring.

POL 301 American Presidency The American Presidency will emphasize the development of the office, selection and institutional relations with Congress coupled with an assessment of presidential power in the modern era in domestic and foreign policy making. Prerequisite: POL 101 or POL 102. Offered Occasionally.

POL 309 Identity Politics Examines the role various identities, such as class and race, play in shaping who gets what, when, and how from the political system. The course draws on theoretical and historical debates to evaluate the political, social, psychological, and economic implications of processes like socialization and mobilization to explain participation and voting behavior by different groups in society. Prerequisite: POL 101 or POL 102. Offered Occasionally.

POL 331 Politics of Democratization An examination of the processes by which countries attempt to transition from authoritarian to democratic forms of government, along with the political, economic, social, and historical factors related to their potential for success or failure. The course focuses on both theoretical explanations and empirical outcomes across a diverse set of cases from around the world. Prerequisite: POL 202 or POL 234 or junior standing. Offered Fall.

POL 336 Middle Eastern Government and Politics This course explores the people, politics, and governments of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with a comparative politics approach, i.e., it focuses on the politics within MENA countries but with a cross-national perspective. To do so, we draw on theories in comparative politics about regime types, regime change, development, identity, and political violence and apply them to understand the political, economic, and social trajectories of countries across this diverse region. Prerequisite: POL 202 or POL 234 or junior standing. Offered Spring - Even Numbered Years.

POL 346 Model United Nations Participate in a regional or national Model United Nations conference. The course examines the aims, structure, and processes of the United Nations and specialized UN agencies, programs and other groups. Emphasis each semester will be placed on countries and issues relevant to the conference agenda. Repeatable for credit - maximum nine. Offered Fall.

POL 353 Modern and Contemporary Political Theory The development of political theory from the 17th century to the present. The course will analyze leading political theorists in their historical contexts, and evaluate ideas according to the preceding tradition of political theory and their implications for political thought and practice. The survey includes studying the work of philosophers including: Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Burke, Mill, Nietzsche, and Foucault. Prerequisite: POL 251 or junior standing. Offered Fall - Every Third Year.

POL 370 Constitutional Law I: Powers of Government An examination of the United States Constitution, and the role of the judiciary in elaborating its fundamental principles: judicial review, the federal system, the range of national power, and presidential-congressional relations. Prerequisite: POL 101 or POL 102 or POL 221. Offered Occasionally.

POL 400 Political Forum Academicians and practicing politicians will be invited to address the students and lead discussion sessions on the important political questions of the time. Reading assignments, lectures and audio-visual presentations will be used to provide background information. Repeatable for credit - maximum six. Offered Occasionally.