Why Political Science?
A degree in political science develops these and other professional competencies:
- Substantive knowledge of politics and government in the United States and around the world.
- Problem solving that blends empirical applications with theoretical approaches.
- Effective written and oral communication skills and the abilities to design research and analyze data.
- Strategic thinking skills that maximize organizational and personal goals.
- Strong citizenship skills and issue advocacy.
As a political science major, you will take part in a variety of programs and opportunities that will enrich your experience at NC State — and beyond.
Nothing has prepared me more for what I'm doing now than my time at NC State.
Ambassador Gentry Smith ('83)
Why NC State?
Political Science majors at NC State benefit from an exceptionally rigorous program that focuses on quality undergraduate education and impactful enrichment opportunities. We offer our students:
- Small classes in the major (20-40 students);
- Instruction and mentoring from a faculty engaged in cutting-edge research and guidance by experienced undergraduate academic advisers;
- Opportunities to engage in research with faculty;
- Internships in a broad range of professional settings;
- Proximity to North Carolina’s state capital – offering possibilities to interact with policymakers and political professionals at all levels of all levels of government;
- Opportunities for participation and leadership in student organizations such as Political Science Club, Pi Sigma Alpha, Model U.N., Mock Trial Club, and North Carolina Student Legislature; and
- Membership in an intellectually vibrant and engaged community of faculty, students and staff.
How I Think and Do: Judge Paul Ridgeway
What can you do with an NC State degree in political science? Ask Judge Paul Ridgeway (Political Science ’82, MPA ’90). He’s the senior resident superior court judge for North Carolina’s 10th judicial district.
Learn more about Judge Ridgeway’s job and how he applies his NC State degrees in his work.
Explore the Possibilities
Meet a Current Student
In pursuing his degree in political science, Stock has worked to incorporate internships (such as with the NC Republican Party), academic club participation, and an interdisciplinary course of study (including Chinese language courses).
A political science degree is highly valuable for students interested in public and nonprofit sector careers, private sector industries, NGOs and other international organizations.
We offer undergraduate options that allow for narrow specialization or provide a broader scope tailored to your interests and goals. Our two undergraduate degree programs, both of which require 122 credit hours to complete, are the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Political Science.
Our minor in Political Science or in Law and Justice complements other undergraduate majors and expands post-graduate and professional options.
Put yourself out there. Keep an eye out for activities that appeal to you, and follow up!
Christopher Stock, political science student
Meet Some of Our Alumni
Ambassador Gentry Smith ('83)
Smith speaks Arabic and has lived in Japan, Egypt and Burma — a long way from his hometown in Halifax County in eastern North Carolina, where both his parents were schoolteachers. Meet the director of the Office of Foreign Missions at the State Department.
Tommy Scarantino ('95)
Scarantino runs the Federal Correctional Institution at El Reno, Okla., home to violent felons and white collar criminals. The day President Barack Obama paid El Reno a visit will serve as one of many memorable experiences in a career that started when Scarantino was an undergraduate at NC State.
Students interested in the B.A. degree can add a concentration in one of four subfields. Students interested in science, technology, engineering or mathematics may pursue the B.S. option. Click to see the curriculum and all options for course selection in the following degree programs:
The Bachelor of Arts curriculum in the Department of Political Science requires 122 hours of coursework, which includes 33 hours of political science coursework comprised of 15 credit hours of core course requirements and 18 credit hours of Political Science electives (including a seminar).
Degree Requirements (Select Humanities & Social Sciences > Political Science (16PSBA))
Study citizenship and representation, public opinion and political behavior, group dynamics, campaigns and pluralism, and political institutions and the policy process.
The American Politics Concentration in the Department of Political Science requires 122 hours of coursework, which includes 33 hours of political science coursework comprised of 21 credit hours of core course requirements, 6 credit hours of Concentration electives (including a seminar), and 6 elective credit hours of political science coursework.
Degree Requirements (Select Humanities & Social Sciences > American Politics Concentration)
Study global issues, wars and other armed conflicts, international political economy, international law, United States foreign policy, and comparative political systems.
International Politics Concentration in the Department of Political Science requires 122 hours of coursework, which includes 33 credit hours of political science coursework comprised of 15 credit hours of core course requirements, 12 credit hours of coursework in the Concentration (which are divided among courses in Regional Politics, World Politics and a Concentration seminar), and 6 credit hours of elective political science coursework.
Degree Requirements (Select Humanities & Social Sciences > International Politics Concentration)
Study the interplay of law and politics in the United States, in international community and in countries around the globe; study the judicial process, the role of lawyers and judges; understand constitutional law, international law and comparative systems of law and justice; contemplate the legal and theoretical dimensions of political life.
Law and Justice Concentration in the Department of Political Science requires 122 hours of coursework, which includes 33 hours of political science coursework comprised of 18 credit hours of core course requirements, 12 credit hours of coursework within either the Justice System Emphasis or the Law and Theory Emphasis (including a seminar), and 3 elective credit hours of political science coursework.
Degree Requirements (Select Humanities & Social Sciences > Law and Justice Concentration)
Study how public and private individuals, groups, and institutions affect government actions and how public policies impact societal problems,
Public Policy Concentration in the Department of Political Science requires 122 hours of coursework, which includes 33 credit hours of political science coursework comprised of 15 credit hours of core course requirements, 15 credit hours of Concentration coursework (including a seminar course), and 3 elective credit hours of political science coursework.
Degree Requirements (Select Humanities & Social Sciences > Public Policy Concentration)
The Bachelor of Science curriculum in the Department of Political Science requires 122 hours of coursework, which includes 27 hours of political science coursework comprised of 21 credit hours of core course requirements and 6 elective credit hours of political science and/or public administration coursework.
Degree Requirements (Select Humanities & Social Sciences > Political Science (16PSBS))
The Political Science academic advising program is designed to assist Political Science majors in selecting courses and activities that will best empower them to achieve their long-term goals. The relationship between a Political Science major and their academic advisor is collaborative. The effectiveness of the relationship depends on open and timely communication. Advisors provide information about majors, careers, and university policies. They prompt students with questions and suggest resources to help them explore their interests. They also help students to set and reach academic and career goals.
The Political Science Advising program is made up of three experienced advisors with diverse backgrounds. All Political Science majors are assigned to one of these advisors, who will help their advisees plan courses as well as support and assist them in succeeding academically. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors will also receive support and advice from an assigned faculty mentor.
Meet Our Advisers
Office: 210 Caldwell Hall
Dmitri Mitin received a Ph.D. from Purdue University and currently teaches research methodology and comparative politics in the Department of Political Science. Dmitri's research interests encompass post-Soviet political evolution, federalism, inter-governmental conflict, and institutional development.
Office: 228 Caldwell Hall
Trista Law earned her B.A. in Education from SUNY Fredonia and M.S. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from SUNY College at Buffalo. Her primary responsibility is to provide academic advising and support to PS majors, and Trista also serves as the NC State chapter advisor of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.
Office: 116 Winston Hall
Shannon Carey received a JD from the University of Arizona. After practicing law in San Francisco, she moved to North Carolina where she developed a state-wide government relations and public affairs program for a group of health care providers. Shannon then joined the NC State Political Science Department where she acts as the undergraduate academic coordinator.