May 25, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2022-2023 
Academic Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Politics and Government, BA

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Degree


Students in the Department of Politics and Government explore the processes by which a community decides what common goals it wants to achieve, what its rules will be, and how those policies and rules will be carried out or enforced. Nothing is more important to a healthy society. We are fascinated by the political process in the United States and in the world and concerned about its outcome, and we welcome all students who share that interest.

While our program provides an excellent foundation for graduate study in political science and law, the primary focus of the department is to provide skills and habits of mind useful in a wide range of professions. Recent graduates of the department have found jobs and careers in law, politics, business, teaching, journalism, the non-profit world, and government service. Some of our graduates continue their educations in professional programs in law, business (MBA), international affairs, education, public administration, and other fields. Many work directly after college (often as staff members for elected officials or government agencies) before going on to graduate school.


Program Length

Four years for a complete BA degree.  Two years for students transferring in with an AAOT degree.  Program length may vary depending upon the student’s course load and academic progress.

Program Learning Outcomes

The curriculum is focused on a variety of approaches to political analysis, practical hands-on experience, and student research. Given this goal, we aim to:

  • Develop in students a broad knowledge of political phenomena, practical skills of analysis and communication, and an understanding of theoretical approaches to politics
  • Apply political theories and concepts to gain analytical leverage over historical and contemporary political events
  • Critically analyze political texts through criticism, constructive engagement, and lateral comparison and contrast
  • Defend and challenge preconceived notions about politics
  • Publicly present and defend a political research projects in an engaging, cogent way

An internship or study abroad is strongly recommended for all majors as a useful part of their study. The required senior thesis may take a variety of forms, ranging from a project based on field research or statistical analysis of quantitative data to an abstract theoretical treatment of a problem in political philosophy or an analytical reflection on an internship experience.

Internships and Study Abroad
While it is not a requirement, the department strongly encourages all majors to include in their program a semester-long, off-campus experience.

Many of our majors find internships, most commonly in the Oregon Legislature or Congressional offices in Washington, D.C. Other possible internship sites include social-service agencies, government agencies, interest groups, or law firms. Internships for credit involve close collaboration with a faculty advisor and are limited to one semester. Up to six credits of internship credit are directly applicable to the requirements of the major.

Pacific offers many study-abroad possibilities in England, France, Germany, China, Japan, Ecuador, Mexico, and a number of other countries. These programs are described in detail in the International Programs section of the catalog. Students going abroad should include in their course plans the language, history, culture, and economy of their area of interest. No more than six credits of academic work taken abroad (nine credits in the case of those studying abroad for an entire academic year) may be directly applied to the requirements of the major.

Spring semester of the sophomore year and fall semester of the junior year are generally the best times to study off-campus. Students who wish to study abroad or complete an internship that will keep them away from campus should discuss the possibility with their advisors as soon as possible in order to ensure required coursework can still be completed.

The goals of our curriculum are to develop in students a broad knowledge of political phenomena, practical skills of analysis and communication, and an understanding of theoretical approaches to politics. Graduates will know how to analyze policy problems in a clear and logical way.

Baccalaureate Degree Core

Baccalaureate Degree Core Requirements   

Major Requirements: 37 Credits

A major in political science must complete the following core courses with a grade of C- or better and maintain a 2.0 average for all POLS courses. These same standards apply to the minor.

Electives: 24 Credits

Must include credits in each of the following areas, plus two additional upper-division courses.

Political Philosophy

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Degree