School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

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Why Choose the Political Science Program?

Jonas Kiessling, Political Science Major

Students of political science study governments: how they evolve, why they exist, the forms and social functions they assume, why they change, and who controls them.

To understand governments, students of political science also study politics: how people behave in their relationship to government, what they do to influence government, how government attempts to influence people's behavior and beliefs about what it does. Students of politics also must appreciate how cultural, historical, and economic forces affect the evolution of governments and mass political behavior.

Political Science is one of the largest programs in the College of Liberal Arts. After completing core courses, students choose their direction by selecting advanced courses in a variety of areas, including American politics, public law, political theory, international relations, and comparative politics.


Academics and Curriculum

The Bachelor of Arts program in political science focuses on three areas of instruction:

  • American Government and Politics
    American government, including legislative, judicial, and executive institutions, state and city government, political parties, interest groups, public opinion, the media, and elections, etc. Internships are recommended.
     
  • International Relations and Comparative Politics
    The international relations and comparative politics of Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as American foreign policy, national security policy; terrorism, the politics of intelligence, diplomacy and conflict resolution, human rights, etc. Model UN and study abroad is recommended.
     
  • Public Law and Political Theory
    Public law, including courses on the Supreme Court, constitutional law, policing and criminal justice, civil liberties, and environmental law and international law, law and society, etc. We offer political theory courses on the history of political thought, and political ideologies, as well as political psychology, politics and ethics, bioethics and law, sex and the law. Pre-law internships are recommended.

View Political Science Major program information and degree requirements in the University Catalog.

Political Science Major Checksheet (PDF)


Careers

Political Science majors go on to a wide variety of careers, including the law, campaign management and lobbying, in government agencies, as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations, non-profits, and the private sector.

  • Activist
  • Administration and Policy Development
  • Advisor to Chairman, State Energy Agency
  • Archivist, Online Political Data
  • Assistant Chief of Police
  • Assistant Budget Examiner
  • Assistant Deputy Secretary to Governor
  • Assistant District Attorney
  • Attorney
  • Bank Vice-President, International Division
  • Campaign Manager
  • Career Counselor
  • Chief of Staff, Committee, US. House of Reps.
  • Chief, State General Govt. Services Office
  • CIA Employee
  • City Project Coordinator
  • City Housing Administrator
  • City’s Coordinator of Federal and State Aid
  • Commissioner, State Dept. of Human Resources
  • Communications Director
  • Corporate International Analyst
  • Corporate Public Affairs Advisor
  • Corporate Economist
  • Corporate Mgr. Of Environmental/Reg. Affairs
  • Corporate Information Manager
  • Corporate Sr. Adviser for Govt’l. Relations
  • Corporate Vice-President/Account Executive
  • Corporation’s Legislative Issues Manager
  • County Treasurer
  • County Council member
  • Country Desk Specialist, Peace Corps
  • Deputy Secretary of Administration, State
  • Department of Welfare
  • Director, County Econ. Development Office
  • Director, Cost Containment, Insurance Co.
  • Director, Corporate Public Affairs
  • Director, Development, Food Bank
  • Director, Intelligence Operations
  • Director, Division of Policy Studies
  • Editor, Online Political Journal
  • Entrepreneur
  • Executive Director, Special Interest Group
  • Executive Director, Presidential Library
  • Federal Commission Senior Policy Analyst
  • Financial Consultant
  • Foundation President
  • Free-lance writer
  • HUD, Senior Legislative Specialist
  • High School Government Teacher
  • Information Manager, Corp. Planning Dept
  • International Agency Officer
  • International Research Specialist
  • Issues Analyst, Corporate Social Policy Div.
  • Journalist
  • Juvenile Justice Specialist, State Justice Dept.
  • Labor Relations Specialist
  • Legislative Coordinator, Mayor’s Office
  • Legislative Director, Education Assn.
  • Lobbyist
  • Management Analyst
  • Manager of Political Programs
  • Manager, Political Risk Division, Bank
  • Market Researcher
  • Mediator
  • Minister for Development
  • Plans and Review Officer, USIA
  • Political Commentator
  • Pollster
  • Press Officer, U.S. Embassy
  • Principal Secretary to Prime Minister
  • Private Foundation Program Director
  • Public Affairs Research Analyst
  • Publisher
  • Research Director, Advertising Firm
  • Research Supervisor
  • Senior Editor
  • Senior Criminologist
  • Senior Advisor, Department of Treasury
  • Senior Public Opinion Analyst
  • State Chief Purchasing Officer
  • State Dept., Director, Policy and Coordination
  • State Legislator
  • State Personnel Officer
  • Supervisor, State Department of Education
  • Survey Analyst
  • Systems Analyst
  • Television Network Director of Surveys
  • U.S. Army, Strategic Planning Specialist
  • U.S. Consulate, Principal Officer
  • U.S. Embassy (overseas)
  • University Administration
  • University Dean
  • University President
  • University Professor
  • University Registrar
  • Veterans Adm. Adjudication Unit Chief
  • Vice President, Consulting Firm
  • Vice President, Market Research
  • Web Designer or Director
  • Vice President, Government Affairs, Engr. Firm

Helpful Websites


Advising

The CoLA Advisor for Political Science majors is Brittany Erwin, located in 120 Millett Hall. She can be contacted by email at brittany.erwin@wright.edu or call (937) 775-2601.

Once you have been accepted into the undergraduate program as a Political Science major or minor, you will receive a welcome letter informing you of your advisor and the contact information.

Whether you are a transfer student from another college or university, changing majors at Wright State, coming to the school from University College or adding a minor, you should meet your Political Science academic advisor as soon as possible to learn your degree requirements and to acquaint yourself with the broad range of educational opportunities available to Political Science students.

We stress the importance of practical, applied experiences for our students, enabling them to put the classroom knowledge to use and to develop leadership and interpersonal skills so important to fulfillment and success in your future.  For example, the Political Science program sponsors state legislative internships, a National Model United Nations team and places student interns in area congressional district offices, at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, and in Dayton-area city government positions.  Washington, D.C. internships also may be arranged.  Past United Nation teams have won national championships in team and individual participant categories for nearly four decades.

The Wright State Undergraduate Catalog presents our programs in detail.  You are encouraged to review the major/minor check sheet and to discuss any questions you may have with your advisor. Don't hesitate to make an appointment to see your advisor often to insure proper and timely completion of all requirements and to consult on any matter affecting your studies.   


Internships

In the Department of Political Science, we encourage our students to gain experience and practical knowledge outside of the classroom by participating in internships. Internships for Political Science majors may be arranged with area state legislators, congressional district offices, Dayton-area metropolitan governments, and governmental and policy advocacy agencies and organizations in Washington, DC. These internships complement classroom work and give students the chance to apply knowledge and develop valuable interpersonal and career-related skills. All of the internships are 3 credits hours and considered IW (Integrated Writing). 

NOTE:  A 3.0 GPA and advance approval of the Instructor are required for ALL internships (see Application).

  • State Legislative Internships – PLS 4820/6820 
    Students work for a state legislator in Columbus two days per week. They report weekly to the faculty instructor and write an assessment of the experience at the end of the assignment.
  • Pre-Law Internships – PLS 4821/6821
    Students may be assigned to work two days per week in the office of the Montgomery County Public Defender. Interns will assist the staff attorneys, participate in outreach program activities and observe trials. Interns report weekly to the faculty instructor and write an assessment of the experience at the end of the assignment.
  • Congressional District Internships – PLS 4822/6822
    Congressional district interns work two days per week in one of the area’s congressional district local offices to assist staff with constituency casework. Interns report weekly to the faculty instructor and write an assessment of the experience at the end of the assignment.
  • Campaign Internships – PLS 4823/6823
    Campaign interns work two days per week as volunteers for the candidate of their choice in a local, state or federal election. Interns report weekly to the faculty instructor and write an assessment of the experience at the end of the assignment.
  • Local/City Government Internship - PLS 4824/6824
    Intern 12-15 hours per week in a local governmental office. Jobs include working with city managers, mayors, and other city leaders to meet local needs and help with specific projects.  
  • Washington, DC Internships – PLS 4825/6825
    There are internships available in Washington, DC for academic credit. Interns write an assessment of the experience at the end of the assignment. For information about an internship in Washington, DC, please check out the website www.twc.edu.

Students interested in internships are encouraged to contact:

Dr. Lee Hannah
(937) 775-2904
Department of Political Science
317 Millett Hall

External Opportunities

  • SOCHE Internships - Several local government internships, many offer compensation. The entire application and review process is external to Wright State, interested students should apply on the SOCHE website. 
     
  • DC Internships - Opportunities to work in Washington, D.C. The application and review process is external to Wright State, credit and scholarships are available. 
     
  • City Internships - City Internships offer a multitude of competitive internships in New York, Los Angeles, and London. This program supports specific internships in law and politics.

Success Stories

Military duty during Vietnam and a long law career highlight the journey of Wright State alumnus Garrett Gall '73.