Political science explores national and international government systems and social institutions, and how they interact with each other.
Hallmarks of Union's program include:
- Small classes where you get to know your peers and professors
- Dedicated faculty who engage students through diverse courses
- Field learning that offers real-life political experience
- Special research projects that allow you to delve into a topic that fascinates you
- Intricate simulations of the political process (Model United Nations, U.S. Congress, presidential elections)
As a political science major, you will be intellectually stimulated, and you'll gain the knowledge, appreciation and skills to be a lifelong public and global citizen.
Sean Mulkerne '09Model UN was undoubtedly one of the most productive, engaging, and enjoyable things I did during my four years at Union College. In fact, the Model UN program was one of the main reasons why I decided to pursue a post-graduate degree in global politics, ultimately focusing on some of the issues we considered in class."
Begin your academic journey with courses that provide a strong foundation in U.S. politics, global politics and political thought. Then explore a range of research methods, political theory, comparative politics, international affairs and U.S. politics in a wide variety of advanced courses.
Your faculty-mentored independent research may focus on political action, political art or applied public policy. Working closely with local organizations, you’ll have a chance to influence community politics. Students have become part of the political process by evaluating the Schenectady County Drug Court and writing a juvenile justice reform proposal.
Internships are a vital part of your education. The Department of Political Science runs internship programs in Albany with the New York State Legislature and in Washington, D.C. There are also continuing internships with government agencies in Schenectady County, including the public defender, district attorney, social services agency, advocacy groups and non-profit organizations.
To develop a global perspective, Political Science majors complete a foreign experience requirement. You can study a language or participate in one of Union's many full terms abroad.
The Pi Sigma Alpha chapter of the National Political Science Honor Society sponsors a number of speakers, panel discussions and activities. The popular Pizza & Politics series features leading experts on a range of topics, from environmental issues and feminism to human rights activism. Some students contribute to The Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Journal of Politics, the premier national student research publication in the field.
As a political science major, you will gain versatile skills in verbal and written expression, reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, debating and careful analysis of complex topics. This will prepare you for careers in government service, law, business, education and journalism; working with international and/or nonprofit organizations; and involvement in community programs, political movements and elected office.