Political science seeks to understand, to explain, and — sometimes — to evaluate how humans live and work together in public ways. To do so, political scientists focus on what happens in and around government and politics, how humans cooperate with and how they fight against one another, why some nations succeed and others fail.

Political scientists study voting and revolutions, the Supreme Court and the United Nations, the idea of justice and the nature of power, environmental policy, criminal law and gender politics - all in the pursuit of clearer knowledge about the characteristic ways humans interact in the public sphere.

Pacific Legal Advantage participants
Pacific Legal Advantage Program

Gain an edge in law school when you prepare with the Pacific Legal Advantage Program. This is an immersive, seven-unit program designed to expose students to the legal field and prepare them for the rigors of law school.

Kyle Wohlgemuth

Kyle is a Powell Scholar and a Pacific Legal Scholar. In the summer of 2019, he attended McGeorge School of Law's prestigious Salzburg program and studied with retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Speech and debate
Nationally Ranked
Speech and Debate Team

For over seven decades, University of the Pacific has competed with distinction in intercollegiate speech and debate. The Pacific teams are regulars in national championship competition and have compiled enviable records at both the regional and national levels.

Experiential Learning

Many of our students choose to collaborate with one or more of the College's interdisciplinary centers, programs or institutes. A semester gaining hands-on insight into the political workings of Sacramento or Washington DC can be completed through the Harold S. Jacoby Center for Public Service and Civic Leadership. Many of our students prepare for a future in law school by participating in the Pacific Legal Scholars Program, and many more learn about international politics by spending a semester abroad. All of these opportunities prepare students for a life of civic engagement and make them highly sought-after candidates for jobs and graduate programs.

Students at capitol
New Concentration
Criminal Justice

Pacific now offers a BA in Political Science with a criminal justice concentration, a degree that can lead to a career in social justice reform, government policy, the courts system or the corrections system. Jobs include policy analyst, lawyer, crime victims service coordinator, forensics technicians, fish and game wardens, federal special agents or social workers.

Public Policy Blended Program

Pacific and McGeorge School of Law now offer an accelerated pathway to a Master in Public Policy. You will major in political science and minor in public policy to earn a bachelor of arts degree in three-and-a-half years. If you meet GPA requirements, you are guaranteed admission to McGeorge where you can earn your master's degree in a year-and-a-half.

McGeorge was the first law school to offer a master's degree in public policy. The program offers a foundation in law and focuses on developing the quantitative analytical skills used in formulating public policy.

Students in law classroom
McGeorge students
Political Science
Pathway to Law Program

Pacific and McGeorge School of Law offer an accelerated 3+3 and 3+2.5 pathway to a J.D. at McGeorge. Many students major in Political Science and minor in Pre-Law and earn a bachelor of arts degree in three years. If you meet the GPA requirements and LSAT requirements, you are guaranteed admissions to McGeorge, where you can earn a J.D. in three years or, if you meet their honors requirements, complete a J.D. in two and a half years.

Get Involved

Pacific's political science majors are involved in nearly every aspect of the university's life. In addition to participating in student government and groups like the Black Student Union, the College Democrats and the College Republicans, political science majors can be found at the core of Pacific's nationally ranked speech and debate team and on many of its athletics teams.

Political science majors started PPSA as a way for students, faculty, alumni and staff to plan activities to encourage greater understanding of politics and government and to encourage political participation. PPSA also sponsors social events to promote a spirit of community and fun among Pacific’s political scientists.

Pi Sigma Alpha is the only national honors society for political science and government students at Pacific. It has a long legacy of scholarship and value within the discipline. Listing Pi Sigma Alpha membership on your résumé should be considered an honor and a reflection of your hard work at Pacific. Juniors and seniors with a 3.4 GPA or higher who have taken at least a 1-100 level political science course are eligible for membership.

Many Political science students are members of Pacific’s pre-law chapter of Phi Alpha Delta. The fundamental objective of PAD's pre-law program is to assist undergraduate students to make an informed choice in selecting law as a career, deciding which law school to attend and in preparing for the rigors of law school. Pacific’s chapter presents a number of programs designed to help students explore their interest in attending law school and to prepare for law school admission.

Political Science Career Paths

The skills and experiences developed through a political science program are central to a great variety of career fields, and our majors go on to work as journalists and lawyers, managers and teachers, politicians and administrators. One out of every six Americans now works for one level of public government or another, and political science majors can have a head start in such fields because of their understanding of how these systems work. Many of our graduates go on to law school, and political science serves as an ideal major for that training, as well as essential preparation for graduate study.

Many have chosen to pursue graduate and post-graduate studies at many excellent institutions, including Vanderbilt University, the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, McGeorge School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, University of Washington, and many more. 

Almond Board of California
APCO Worldwide
Bank of the West Wealth Management
California Democratic Party
California State Senate
City of Stockton
Closed Loop Marketing
DeKalb County Government
Epsilon Marketing
Grassroots Campaigns
International Trade Administration
Mexican Consulate of Sacramento
National Republican Congressional Committee
San Joaquin County Courhouse
Santa Clara District Attorney's Office
The PlumpJack Group
Woodruff Sawyer & Co.
Youth With a Mission

Makana Eyre

Makana came to Pacific from Hawaii to play volleyball and stayed to earn a degree in political science. He now works as a freelance journalist based in Paris, a career he recommends "because it gives you the excuse to talk to really interesting people all the time and ask interesting questions and to learn about fascinating topics." 

Makana Eyre

Degrees Offered

BA in Political Science
BA in Political Science - Concentration in Criminal Justice
BA in Political Science - MA of Public Policy Accelerated Program
BA in Political Science - JD Accelerated Program
Political Science Minor
Pre-Law Minor
Public Affairs Minor
student voter registration
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Contact Us

Students standing in front of Capitol building
Department of Political Science

212 Wendell Phillips Center
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211