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- Major Name: Political Science
- Degree Program: Arts and Sciences
- Degree Designation: AA
- College / School: Liberal Arts
This major provides basic courses in the study of the nature and operation of government and politics.
Why study political science? Understanding political science means understanding the structures of power and authority that organize our world, and how and why people try to support or change those systems. By studying political science, you will come to understand why courts make the decisions they do, why legislatures pass the laws they do and why countries make the choices they make in the international arena. Through this study you will hone your communication skills and your critical thinking skills, and you will learn key insights about how to persuade and effectively argue.
Internship Opportunities: Sophomores can apply to the Frasure-Singleton Internship Program with the West Virginia Legislature. Participants are assigned to a legislator who assists in explaining the legislative process. They attend committee meetings and public hearings where legislation and issues are extensively discussed. They sit on the floor during daily sessions surrounded by legislators determining the fate of legislation. They aid legislators with research, constituent requests and other legislative tasks.
Students who continue their political science education as juniors at WVU may choose to proceed with course work in the General Political Science track, if they are broadly interested in the discipline, or they may specialize in the subfield that best matches their interests. WVU Morgantown Campus offers three specializations:
Pre-Law and Legal Studies Pre-Law and Legal Studies is the most popular track, with a significant number of graduates with a bachelor’s degree accepted into the nation’s law schools and employed in various public and private agencies that require broadly educated individuals with a background in legal affairs.
Many graduates have become governors, judges, state and local government officials, partners in major law firms, prosecutors, legal aid representatives and private attorneys. Although most of the students who enter the Pre-Law and Legal Studies track apply to law school, many seek careers in other legal fields, such as criminal justice administration, research and analysis in law and public policy, or law enforcement.
American Politics, Policy and Business This specialization within the Political Science major is for students who are especially interested in American politics and public policy and may aspire to work on political campaigns, in a government office or for a business that regularly deals with the government. It may also be the ideal specialization if you are interested in understanding how the U.S. government works and why it produces the kinds of laws and regulations that it does.
There are some 15 million jobs in government, many appropriate for persons with advanced degrees in political science or policy analysis. In the private sector, there are some 150,000 special interest groups that frequently hire political scientists and policy analysts to assist them in making their case before Congress, state legislatures and executive agencies. Strong lobbying and public affairs divisions are present in almost every major interest group, including those representing the environment, health, energy, labor, business, education, agriculture, social welfare and the like. This specialization will help you to be better prepared to make a difference in these areas.
International Relations, Comparative Politics and National Security This focus is targeted at students who are mainly interested in international affairs from the perspective of American foreign policy and national security. Students are able to construct a focus from the three core areas that meets their individual interests:
Comparative Politics examines the differences between states. Why do some states achieve high levels of economic growth, while others fall behind? Does the process used to seek justice after conflicts have an influence on whether people think justice was achieved? In short, why do similar states turn out very differently (and why do different states turn out similarly)?
International Relations is about the interactions that states have with each other. From overlooked but critical activity like international trade and finance, to rarer and more violent interactions like war and coercion, this part of political science seeks to understand the forces that cause states to behave like they do to each other.
National Security courses focus on policy analysis in intelligence analysis, foreign policy, intelligence, and national security policy.