Government and politics profoundly impact us every day, from the laws that govern our behavior, to the quality of the water we drink, to the decision of whether to go to war. Political Science encourages critical thinking about how government works at the local, state, national, and international levels, and how we—as democratic participants—can make government work better. Political Science students may pursue a wide range of careers, at home or abroad, in fields such as law, advocacy, diplomacy, and public administration.
Political science is an academic discipline focused on the study of government, politics, and power. Political scientists generate and analyze information about the political world using diverse research methodologies and following rigorous academic standards.
At ARC, we help students think like political scientists, developing critical thinking skills and using evidence-based analysis to come to their own conclusions about government and politics. We equip our students with the tools to independently seek and evaluate information, and we support them in reflecting on the theoretical foundations that undergird different political views.
You can take a math class with no intention of becoming a mathematician. You can take a literature class and never again open a novel. Political science is different. Politics is a world within which you are already deeply immersed, whether you recognize it or not. Studying political science helps you make sense of the political soup we are all swimming in.
Even if you don’t go on to pursue a degree or career in political science, taking a course on government and politics is important (and hopefully enjoyable!)
- Learn about the ways that the government impacts your life, from the toothpaste you used this morning to the high-quality subsidized education you are receiving. Find out where your taxpayer dollars are going and discover benefits for which you are eligible.
- Learn how our government impacts others, both at home and abroad. For example - can you name all of the countries where the US has current military operations?
- As a resident of a democratic nation, learn how you can influence government, from the local to the national level. Even if you are not eligible to vote, you can play an active role in shaping government and our democratic society.
- Learn how power operates within our society outside of the realm of formal politics. How are social hierarchies created or dismantled? How do ideologies spread and change?
- Learn how to critically evaluate and think about international relations, what your role in this system is and can be, and how you can get involved in the process. Compare how other systems of government work around the world.
Whether you want to work in Sacramento or Singapore, a political science degree can open doors to exciting career opportunities.
- Advocacy and activism: Work for a non-profit organization or a lobbying firm to influence government and advance issues you care about
- Research and policy analysis: Work within a government institution or a “think-tank” to design and evaluate policy
- Law: Go on to obtain a law degree and shape the interpretation and application of law, as a private lawyer, public defender or prosecutor, or judge
- Foreign service and international development: Work within the US foreign service, an international organization, or an NGO to promote peace and development
- National security: Work within the US national security establishment to identify and address threats to our nation
- Campaigns and elected office: Work for a national, state, or local elected official as a staff member or a campaign organizer - or run for office yourself!
- Public administration: Work within a government agency or other organization to manage and administer programs that impact people’s lives
- Education and academia: Go on to study and teach political science in an educational institution, from high school level to graduate school
Road maps lay out all of the courses you need to take for a given degree or certificate.
- Political Science A.A. Degree - general (Full Time) Map
- Political Science A.A. Degree - general (Part Time) Map
- Political Science A.A. Degree - international relations (Full Time) Map
- Political Science A.A. Degree - international relations (Part Time) Map
AA-T/AS-T Transfer Degrees
For additional information and political science resources please visit our Political Science Program page.
Check Out Degree Planner
If you're interested in a transfer degree (AA-T or AS-T), then check out Degree Planner, a tool that helps you complete your degree efficiently by mapping out what courses to take and when to take them.