Welcome to the Department of Political Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. We are proud to be among the best political science departments in the country. Our faculty are active researchers whose publications have appeared in the most prestigious outlets in the profession. The faculty is also highly devoted to graduate training and undergraduate education and can boast of numerous teaching awards. We offer research and teaching in American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Methods, Policy, and Political Theory. We pride ourselves in the diversity and rigor with which our faculty and students ask questions that challenge all of us to think more clearly about politics, government, and citizenship. Our graduates are found at the highest levels of government, in politics and law, and across the business world.

Our Mission:
To understand the political world and to equip our students and community with the skills for a lifetime of inquiry and engagement.

The Department of Political Science offers instruction and research in the art and science of politics. Work within the department is organized around six basic fields:

The American subfield concentrates on the United States government and political system. Courses analyze topics such as interest groups, governmental regulation of business, political parties, the presidential and congressional systems, public priorities, the judicial system, and constitutional law.

In the area of comparative politics, you’ll use a global perspective to investigate the interaction between politics and a wide range of phenomena: globalization, economic development, political protest, social capital, immigration, language policy, international organizations, and the environment. In additional, you’ll investigate the effects and implications of socioeconomic and political changes in Europe and the European Union, Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.

In the International Relations subfield you will study U.S. foreign policy, the dynamics of the international environment, international security, international organizations, international political economy, international law, and war and peace.

Political theory courses focus primarily on the history of political thought and on enduring normative questions of political association, such as the nature of justice, the proper basis of political authority, the promise and problems of democratic theory, and the extent of duties across borders.

Political methodology speaks to the tools we use to better understand and explain political phenomena.  The faculty in political methodology teach research design and basic quantitative analysis to our undergraduate students. We offer both quantitative and qualitative methods training for our graduate students, including courses on research design, regression, maximum likelihood estimation, game theory, time series, multilevel models, surveys, experiments, qualitative methods, and network analysis.

Public policy is the study of public problems in contemporary societies and the multiple ways in which they may be addressed. The public policy field is not limited to the study of governmental policies themselves, but rather public policies are analyzed in relation to the problems they are designed to address. Students of public policy are trained in multiple approaches to problem-oriented diagnosis of public problems and in analyzing plausible and actual policy responses to these problems.

"The Political Science Department at CU provided an essential outlet to engage with the social and political debates that were increasingly on my mind as a twenty-something college student. I loved the climatology and French literature classes that I was taking as a Geography and French major! But, a range of international experiences were fueling critical reflections on political-security-legal relations in the domestic U.S. context, and I was craving more discussion and debate. Courses in civil liberties, politics, law, and society with CU Boulder's excellent political science faculty provided important spaces for intellectual engagement. Looking back, it is clear that courses in political science at CU have played a significant part in professional choices since graduation, including a PhD in International Relations and aspirations for a successful academic career. I hope that my efforts in teaching and research help to provide a similar space for students as that which I experienced with political science at CU Boulder."
- Kathryn Fisher

A degree in political science will provide you with knowledge and understanding of political issues and prepare you for a career in fields such as:

  • Civil service
  • Journalism
  • Management
  • Politics
  • Legislative analysis
  • Criminology
  • City planning
  • Population studies

You can combine the major with teaching credentials and teach government, political science, and civics in secondary schools. If you plan to go on to the graduate level, you will find that the political science major provides excellent background for law school or graduate school in political science, sociology, economics or a number of other social science disciplines.

Career Services offers a number of programs and services designed to help you plan your career, including workshops, internships, and placement services after graduation.

To receive Advanced Placement credit toward the Political Science major you need:

  • A score of 5 or 4 on the United States Government exam for PSCI 1101 American Political Systems (3 credit hours).
  • A score of 5 or 4 on the Comparative Government exam for PSCI 2012 Introduction to Comparative Politics (3 credit hours).

All AP Credit Equivalencies at CU Boulder

All IB Credit Equivalencies at CU Boulder

Official scores must be sent directly from the testing organization to the Office of Admissions.

We will evaluate any transfer work for a Political Science major AFTER you have been admitted to CU Boulder and AFTER the Admissions Office reviews your transcripts. To initiate this process, please refer to the Preapproval of Courses information on the College of Arts & Sciences website.

You may also view course transferability and create a pre-admission degree plan using Transferology.

Work Study: Work-Study is need-based financial aid. More details can be found on the Student Employment website. Eligibility requirements for financial aid are loosened somewhat during the summer to allow undergraduates to receive work study money. To start the process, fill out a FAFSA application.

Scholarships: Scholarship information can be found on the CU Boulder Scholarships website. Another great list of scholarship opportunities through CU Boulder can be found on this website.

Courses: Click here to be redirected to the Political Science Course lists for upcoming semesters 

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