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Political Science

Studying political science will help you understand why courts make the decisions they do, why legislatures pass the laws they do and why countries make the choices they make in the international arena.

By the numbers9

Political scientists rank No. 9 in Best Social Services Jobs (U.S. News & World Report, 2018)


What is Political Science at WVU like?


We offer you a chance to explore the dynamics of control that shape our world, here in America and internationally. What leads people to take political action? Why do political events unfold a certain way? What are the moral and ethical questions that surround politics? These and other vital questions are explored and explained through political theory, using scientific methods to gather evidence to test those theories and learning to create effective communication to share those results.

Political Science is a dynamic part of the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics.

Students earning a BA in Political Science choose an area of emphasis that allows them to focus on the course work that best suits their interests and professional goals. Whether selecting a career in public service, criminal justice, government, business or international affairs, students graduate with an impressive and adaptable skillset.

At a Glance

Next Steps

Interested in this major? Here are some suggested next steps:

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Areas of Emphasis

Tailor this major to your interests by taking courses in one of these areas:

  • American Politics and Policy
    Examines questions related to activities of all the branches of government and how public policy is made. Students can specialize in U.S. political institutions, social movements and elections.
  • International Relations, Comparative Politics and National Security
    Teaches about the political world beyond the U.S., especially the interactions countries have with each other.
  • Pre-Law and Legal Studies
    Prepares students for law school and other careers involving legal and justice issues.

Fast Facts

What makes Political Science at WVU unique?

3+3 Law Degree Program

This major is eligible for the 3+3 Law Degree Program that allows qualified students to earn a bachelor’s degree and law degree in six years instead of seven years.

Student Organizations

Connect with other students who share your academic interests as a member of:

View all of the student organizations you can join.


What can you do with this degree?

Our graduates go on to careers in education, government, law, the military and nonprofit organizations.

Possible Careers

Wondering what you can do with a degree from WVU's Political Science major? Check out these ideas from WVU Career Services and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). A median salary is the midpoint of what people typically earn—half of those surveyed earned above the median salary, and half earned below.

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.


Graduates from this major have gone to work at:


What are the courses like in Political Science at WVU?

Major Map

Check out the course requirements and suggested plan of study for WVU's Political Science major.

View the Major Map

For a program overview, learning goals and course descriptions, visit the course catalog.

Popular Courses

POLS 220:
State and Local Government

The legal basis, structure, politics and operation of state and local governments, in the content of the American federal system.

POLS 230:
Introduction to Policy Analysis

Examination of the causes and consequences of public policies. Substantive policies examined include: civil rights, housing, social services, environment, health, law enforcement, education, and taxation.

POLS 310:
American Presidency

Institutional, behavioral, and societal forces which have given rise to the modern presidency; factors which enhance and constrain the exercise of presidential power over those constituencies with which the president must interact; the nature and consequences of the presidential decision-making process; desirability and/or feasibility of reforming the presidency.

POLS 313:
American Constitutional Law

The role of the Constitution in the American political system. Topics include the political concept of constitutionalism; the role of the Supreme Court in the political process; division of powers among the three branches of government; and the constitutional relation between the national government and the states.

POLS 314:
Civil Liberties in the United States

Issues in constitutional law concerning personal liberties against government action. Topics include free speech, press and association; religious freedoms; abortion; the right to privacy; due process of law; and criminal procedure safeguards.

POLS 363:
International Law

Law governing relations among nations, including development of rules, means of enforcement, and conflict between theory and practice.

POLS 365:
Foreign Policy Decision-Making

An advanced course examining the psychological and political dynamics by which decision- making formulates foreign policy with emphasis on American national security. Includes three weeks' simulation.

POLS 370:
Dictatorship and Democratization

Examines the politics of authoritarian rule by focusing on dictators and their demise. Compares current scholarship with real-world accounts of a variety of dictatorships, differentiating among governing strategies and long-term impacts. Students will gain the ability to analyze trends and outcomes, as well as comprehension of different approaches to the study of dictatorship.

Cost and Aid

How much does Political Science at WVU cost? And how can you save?

Tuition and Fees

Estimated rates for the 2018-19 academic year. Rates are subject to change. Anyone that is not a current West Virginia resident will be charged non-resident rates. That includes international students.

West Virginia Resident
Per Credit $403
Per Semester $4,836
Fall and Spring Semesters $9,672
Per Credit $1,095
Per Semester $13,140
Fall and Spring Semesters $26,280
Per Credit $1,095
Per Semester $13,440
Fall and Spring Semesters $26,880
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Ways to Save

Here is a way for you to save on the cost of attending WVU in addition to university scholarships.

Transfer Articulation Agreements

To simplify the transfer process, we have formal agreements with certain institutions. These agreements outline the courses you should take to prepare for transferring to WVU. In addition to guaranteed admission agreements Political Science has transfer articulation agreements with:

Review the full list of transfer articulation agreements to see if your institution is listed.

Learn How to Transfer Course Credits


What are the requirements to apply for Political Science at WVU?

University Requirements

To be admitted to WVU's Political Science major, you must first meet WVU's first-time freshman admission requirements for the 2019-20 academic year. Interested in transferring? Review the transfer admission requirements.

Next Steps

I like this major. What are the next steps?

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Your first step to becoming a Mountaineer is applying for admission. Our online application makes the process as convenient as possible.

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Request Information

Want to know more about Political Science at WVU? Fill out the Request Information form to receive more information about the program and life at WVU.

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