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Political Science

For additional information on Political Science at UC Merced, please visit the new Political Science website.


The Political Science minor offers broad coverage of the study of politics. Political science is the social scientific study of political processes involving political institutions and political behavior. The study of political institutions includes topics such as the effect of the design of electoral systems on the quality of representation in government, the formal and informal elements of the legislative process and their implications for the making of law, and the impact of domestic political institutions on the incidence of international conflict. Under the rubric of political behavior, political scientists study how and why people choose to participate in politics, the determinants of vote choice, and the nature and origins of public opinion.

Students studying political science at UC Merced develop a strong substantive understanding of both political institutions and behavior. Students also learn the theories that help us better understand the political world and the methods by which these theories are tested and refined.

Program Learning Outcomes

We expect graduates from the major and minor in Political Science to be able to:

  1. Understand the processes, theories and empirical regularities of political institutions and political behavior in the student’s chosen emphasis area: American politics, comparative politics or international relations;
  2. Employ critical thinking and demonstrate social scientific literacy, including basic quantitative literacy;
  3. Utilize contemporary social science research methods to conduct rigorous research on political phenomena;
  4. Write effectively, particularly to convey complex concepts and information in a clear and concise manner; and
  5. Apply abstract theory and research methods to understand contemporary political events and public policies.

Alumni Success

Student graduates from our program are engaging in graduate studies and careers. A few of these after-college endeavors are listed below.

Graduate School

Student graduates from the Political Science program are studying in a variety of graduate degree programs including the Hastings College of Law, Western State University College of Law, University of the Pacific, University of California, Merced, and the University of Southern California.


Student graduates from the Political Science program are working in a variety of professional settings including marketing companies, legislators' offices, school districts and international corporations.

Updated 2021