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Political Science: The UDC Edge

Our Washington, D.C location provides unmatched opportunities for students to not just learn about, but to actually experience how politics and policy development really works, and to enhance the value of their degree with real-world opportunities. Just some of the advantages that students in the bachelor’s program in political science at UDC enjoy include:  

  • Exclusive Internships on Capitol Hill as well as internship opportunities with local think tanks, government agencies, and policy/advocacy organizations
  • Presentations from and networking opportunities with local professionals through UDC’s longstanding connections to various political and diplomatic institutions
  • Direct observation of government and political processes

In addition, our commitment to addressing the needs of D.C. citizens through the political process and local advocacy efforts lets you apply your knowledge in direct service to the local community.

Bachelor’s Degree (BA) in Political Science

Our communities are in need of strong political thinkers, researchers, and leaders who can help make a difference. Maybe you have always wanted to play a more active role in shaping public policy and reforming public institutions, but you’re not sure how to go about doing it? The first step in your journey is having a desire to lead and create change. If you have that spark, the bachelor’s program in political science at the University of the District of Columbia can help you figure out how to achieve your personal and professional aspirations.

In UDC’s political science program, located just minutes away from the heartbeat of the American government, you will broaden your understanding of political institutions and policy processes; develop political awareness and social consciousness; and immerse yourself in public service and civic engagement at a local, national and global level. Through internships on Capitol Hill, community programs and political activities with the local Washington, D.C community, policy simulations, conferences, and faculty mentoring, you will get hands-on experience in the political process.

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Curriculum and Requirements in the UDC Political Science Program

Students in the bachelor’s program in political science at UDC must complete a 120 credit hour plan of study to earn the degree, including 33 credit hours of political science courses (nine of which are electives).

The political science program plan of study is designed to help students to develop an understanding of:

  • The major concepts for analyzing political and social problems
  • The centrality of politics in the structure and function of all social systems
  • The diverse perceptions of political realities in the United States and on the international level
  • The racial, minority, socioeconomic, psycho-political, and other major issues that impact political and policy in the contemporary world

Students can choose a concentration in a political science area or an interdisciplinary subject as part of their elective courses in the major.  A concentration in global studies is launching in fall 2012, along with study abroad experiences that provide capstone opportunities for the concentration.

Student Organizations and Activities in the UDC Political Science Program

The political science bachelor’s program at UDC is one of the most active student communities on campus. Student activities and associations include:

  • Political Science & History Students Organization (PSHSO)
    • This student group organizes events such as panel discussions and guest speakers on relevant political topics, as well as off-campus trips such as the annual visit to the United Nations in New York City.
  • Chi Rho Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society
  • Global Affairs and Diplomacy Association (GADA)

Additionally, our Capitol Hill Internship Program gives political science majors a unique and exclusive opportunity to serve as staff interns in a Congressional office for up to two semesters. You will receive hands-on experience in the workings of the federal government and develop your professional network.

If you pursue the global studies concentration, our Model Arab League and Model Organization of American States simulations provide great learning experiences in the workings of diplomacy.

Students also have the opportunity to conduct political science research under the direction of UDC faculty, present at professional conferences, and study abroad.

Faculty Spotlight: UDC Political Science Program

Dr. Shiela Harmon Martin, co-chair of the Department and professor of political science, studies American government, black politics, black women and politics, and public policy analysis. She has held positions in the federal and district government in the areas of public policy analysis, civil rights, and international affairs and protocol.

Dr. Guy Shroyer, associate professor of political science, studies nationalism and social identity. He is on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Diplomatic Dialogue in the Americas, an international civil society organization recognized by the Organization of American States. Dr. Shroyer also chairs the District-based Youth Organizing for Change and Opportunity, which works with at-risk DC youth. The organization, in partnership with UDC’s political science program, is developing a high school Model Organization of American States.

Career Pathways and Prospects

Through rigorous coursework, tangible field work, unique internships, and mentorship and networking opportunities in the heart of the nation’s capital, UDC’s political science program is the ideal launching point for a successful career in any of the following areas:

  • Local, state or federal government
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Electoral politics
  • Advocacy and organizing
  • International relations and affairs  

Many political science graduates also successfully pursue law school, including at UDC’s own David A. Clarke School of Law, or other graduate studies.

Contact info:

Dr. Shiela Harmon Martin, Program Director
E: smartin@udc.edu | T: 202.274.5787 | F: 202.274.5589