Undergraduate

Students in classroom.

The Department of Political Science brings the world of politics and government into the classroom.  Our courses deepen your understanding of today’s headlines and tomorrow’s trends.  The range of courses you can take is broad: from public opinion to democratic elections, from executive leadership to legislative behavior, from public law to private morality, and from international organizations to trade wars.

We encourage students majoring in any field to take one or more Political Science courses while at Iowa.  Every 21st century citizen will benefit from gaining the insights about political dynamics that our courses impart.  Political Science is a quintessential liberal-arts discipline, using a variety of humanistic and scientific perspectives to tackle fundamental aspects of the human being as a political creature. 

Iowa’s Political Science faculty and instructors are excellent teachers, regularly being recognized collegiate teaching awards, outstanding teaching assistant awards and other honors.  In addition, Political Science faculty members are active scholars, prominent nationally and internationally for their research.  They integrate the latest research findings into the department’s courses, and students have opportunities to work individually with top-notch scholars. 

As a major, Political Science gives students the choice of pursuing a broad range of topics or specializing in particular aspects of politics.  Those choosing the latter can have one or more of twelve emphasis areas recognized on their transcripts.  The flexibility of the degree requirements encourages many students to add a major, minor or certificate from another field to their Political Science major.  Students can thus unite their understanding of politics with other skills to position themselves well for the job market or further study.  Our students also find it easy to incorporate internships, study abroad, and other practical learning opportunities into the major. 

Political Science regularly attracts some of the University’s best students.  In Spring 2012, for instance, the prize-winning Political Science majors included a Truman Scholar, two winners of the Hancher-Finkbine Medallion and both the outgoing and incoming presidents of the student government.  The departmental honors program provides specialized seminars of small size in which students interact closely with the professor and their fellow students.  Iowa’s chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, is active, bringing members together to share their interest in politics. 

The Department works to prepare our majors for a wide variety of careers as well as for graduate-level study in Political Science or professions such as law.  Throughout the academic year, we provide our students with opportunities to meet with alumni and other professionals who have achieved distinction in law, public service, political campaigning, non-profit organizations, city and county management, communications and more.