Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2022-2023

Political Science

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
Civil Rights, Comparative Politics, Human Security, International Relations, Political Theory and Methodology, Politics and Government, Public Policy and Administration, U.S. Government
Program description

Political science is the systematic study of institutions, behavior and ideas in order to further our understanding and explanation of government and politics at the local, state, national and international levels. The discipline has a rich history that bridges the present with the past and future, is pluralistic in its modes of inquiry and adopts a critical approach that makes use of qualitative and quantitative analytic methods.


The Department of Political Science uses its unique position on an urban campus located in the state capital and just a short distance from Washington, D.C. to provide our students with transformative learning experiences that promote active and engaged citizenship, domestically and globally. We integrate our teaching with cutting-edge scholarship that advances the boundaries of the discipline and meaningfully impacts public debate and policy.

Career opportunities

A bachelor’s degree in political science can lead to exciting careers in federal, state and local governments; law; business; international organizations; nonprofit associations and organizations; campaign management and polling; journalism; precollegiate education; electoral politics; research; and university- and college-level teaching.

Change of major requirements

There are no specific requirements to declare, but it is highly recommended that students speak with a political science advisor by emailing poliadvisor@vcu.edu before or soon after the major is declared.


Bachelor-level job titles
  • Compliance officer
  • Equal opportunity representative
  • Fundraiser
  • Insurance adjuster, examiner and investigator
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Legislator
  • Municipal clerk
  • Paralegal and legal assistant
  • Risk management specialist
  • Staff and legislative assistant
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • Attorney
  • Diplomat
  • Government Agency Administrator
  • Policy Advisor
Degree requirements in Bulletin
Plan of study in Bulletin
Highest level of math required
  • Quantitative Foundations requirement only
Science required
  • Natural Sciences requirement only
Foreign language requirements
  • Yes
Additional tuition/fees
  • No
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0+ cumulative GPA, 2.0+ major GPA
Department name:
Department of Political Science
Building/room location:
Founders Hall, 827 West Franklin Street, Room 301
Email:
poliadvisor@vcu.edu
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe Park

Major map compass icon
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
DEVELOP CULTURAL AGILITY
EXPLORE CAREERS AND DEVELOP ESSENTIAL SKILLS
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
  • Get to know your political science librarian for research and papers in upper level political science classes.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
DEVELOP CULTURAL AGILITY
EXPLORE CAREERS AND DEVELOP ESSENTIAL SKILLS
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
  • Build academic and transferable skills in time-management, writing, and more at the Campus Learning Center.
  • Familiarize yourself with internship opportunities by requesting information from the political science department's internship director.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Consider joining the Pre-Law Society at VCU.
  • Start conversations with faculty about areas of interest, collecting their insights, recommendations, and resources.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Take a virtual library tour to learn about library spaces, services, and research help.
  • Talk to your political science advisor about how best to utilize open electives.
  • Finish general education and language requirements while starting to take more upper level electives and major courses.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
DEVELOP CULTURAL AGILITY
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
  • Meet with your education abroad advisor and study abroad if you can.
  • Take courses in political science (and other departments) that expand your understanding of other cultures and ask your professors and advisors to help you identify suitable courses.
EXPLORE CAREERS AND DEVELOP ESSENTIAL SKILLS
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Consider presenting at the VCU Political Science Undergraduate Research Conference.
  • Submit an application to VCU’s Capitol Semester program to work at the Virginia General Assembly for academic credit.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Continue conversations with faculty about your interests and build relationships with professors who could write letters of recommendation for graduate school and job applications.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
  • Complete your senior capstone, POLI 490 Senior Seminar.
  • Meet with your political science advisor to learn whether you already have enough credits that put you close to completing a minor that would complement your political science major.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
DEVELOP CULTURAL AGILITY
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
  • Get involved with VCU’s Model UN group.
EXPLORE CAREERS AND DEVELOP ESSENTIAL SKILLS
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy eight months before graduation.
  • Talk to your professors about life after college and, if you plan to request letters of recommendation, give at least two weeks’ notice before the application deadline.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2022-2023

Political Science

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
Civil Rights, Comparative Politics, Human Security, International Relations, Political Theory and Methodology, Politics and Government, Public Policy and Administration, U.S. Government
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY DEVELOP CULTURAL AGILITY EXPLORE CAREERS AND DEVELOP ESSENTIAL SKILLS PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Explore Year 1
Experience Year 2
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
  • Get to know your political science librarian for research and papers in upper level political science classes.
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
  • Build academic and transferable skills in time-management, writing, and more at the Campus Learning Center.
  • Familiarize yourself with internship opportunities by requesting information from the political science department's internship director.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Consider joining the Pre-Law Society at VCU.
  • Start conversations with faculty about areas of interest, collecting their insights, recommendations, and resources.
Year 3
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Take a virtual library tour to learn about library spaces, services, and research help.
  • Talk to your political science advisor about how best to utilize open electives.
  • Finish general education and language requirements while starting to take more upper level electives and major courses.
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
  • Meet with your education abroad advisor and study abroad if you can.
  • Take courses in political science (and other departments) that expand your understanding of other cultures and ask your professors and advisors to help you identify suitable courses.
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Consider presenting at the VCU Political Science Undergraduate Research Conference.
  • Submit an application to VCU’s Capitol Semester program to work at the Virginia General Assembly for academic credit.
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Continue conversations with faculty about your interests and build relationships with professors who could write letters of recommendation for graduate school and job applications.
Excel Year 4
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
  • Complete your senior capstone, POLI 490 Senior Seminar.
  • Meet with your political science advisor to learn whether you already have enough credits that put you close to completing a minor that would complement your political science major.
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
  • Get involved with VCU’s Model UN group.
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy eight months before graduation.
  • Talk to your professors about life after college and, if you plan to request letters of recommendation, give at least two weeks’ notice before the application deadline.