Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2019-2020

Political science

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
Civil rights, political theory and methodology, human security, U.S. government, international relations, politics and government, public policy and administration, comparative politics
Program description

The Department of Political Science offers a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science as well as elective courses in political science for program majors and non-majors. The political science curriculum has two central objectives. It offers the student a broad liberal arts education along with a comprehensive understanding of the nature and the functioning of the political process and government. It also provides a sound foundation for graduate study in political science, public administration and nonprofit management, or for careers that require knowledge of governance and the political process, such as law.

Career opportunities

An undergraduate degree in political science is good preparation for graduate or professional study in areas such as political science, public administration, foreign policy, law, business, and more. Maintain a high grade point average to ensure admission into a graduate or law program and/or a position within the government. Expect keen competition for federal positions. Many government jobs have strict guidelines and want to carefully match candidates' knowledge, skills, and abilities to the job description. Develop strong leadership skills; run for office in clubs and organizations in school or community. Consider military experience and training as an entryway into government jobs and public service. The Peace Corps is also a good way to enter a career in government.


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
Highest level of math required
  • MATH 131
Science required
  • Core only
Foreign language requirements
  • Yes
Additional tuition/fees
  • No
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0
Department name:
Department of Political Science
Building/room location:
Founders Hall, 827 West Franklin Street, Room 301
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
Email:
poliadvisor@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Review language requirements with your advisor.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to review your CSI self-report, start goal planning, and to discuss tutoring, electives, & degree progression.
  • Take a tour to learn about library spaces, services, & how to get research help.
  • Map out a 4-year course plan in Degree Works' Student Educational Planner.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.  
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide. Ask questions about how to use the library.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses.  
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes, and strategies for success in your program.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Gain practical experience related to career goals through internships, shadowing, part-time work, or independent skill building.
  • Create an ePortfolio to document academic/professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and other professional development events. 
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Get plugged into VCULink to connect with students and alumni.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Consider who you would ask to serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.   
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • See your academic and career advisors regularly to discuss your progress towards graduation and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Deepen your expertise at finding information in your discipline by working with your subject expert librarian & using research guides.
  • Finish general education and language requirements while starting to take more upper level electives and major courses.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Actively develop your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Apply to be a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
  • Attend presentations and conferences pertinent to intercultural dialogue, history and issues.
  • Take on a leadership role in a cultural organization.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Present at the Political Science or other Undergraduate Research Conference.
  • Seek research opportunities to refine goals and learn the discipline required for success.
  • Apply for summer research funding through VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Take elective coursework to develop skill sets for post-BA pursuits (spreadsheets, economics, statistics and methodological skill-sets).
  • Develop tangible skills in internships that you can demonstrate to employers.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and career services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Research graduate/professional schools at least 1 year in advance of deadlines. Study for and complete any exams the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Join job listserv sites that provide access to job postings in desired fields. Revisit gap analysis assessment and continue adjusting strategic career plan with Career Services.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Apply to graduate at the start of your final semester.
  • Complete Senior Seminar POLI 490.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met. 
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations.
  • Take relevant/elective coursework (E.g., politics of race class and gender, women in global politics, global ethics/world religions, intercultural communication).
  • Present at the Diversity Scholars in Research Week.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisors, alumni, professionals).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other conferences. 
  • Gain practical experience related to your career goal through internships, externships and skill building.
  • Expand your network and remember that you can network anywhere.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Complete exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for after graduation.
  • Research 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 and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Engage with the VCU Alumni Association at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and by joining a VCULink Industry Network and alumni chapter as you prepare to graduate.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2019-2020

Political science

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
Civil rights, political theory and methodology, human security, U.S. government, international relations, politics and government, public policy and administration, comparative politics
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE GET REAL EXPERIENCE PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Explore Year 1
  • Review language requirements with your advisor.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to review your CSI self-report, start goal planning, and to discuss tutoring, electives, & degree progression.
  • Take a tour to learn about library spaces, services, & how to get research help.
  • Map out a 4-year course plan in Degree Works' Student Educational Planner.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.  
Experience Year 2
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide. Ask questions about how to use the library.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses.  
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes, and strategies for success in your program.
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Gain practical experience related to career goals through internships, shadowing, part-time work, or independent skill building.
  • Create an ePortfolio to document academic/professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and other professional development events. 
  • Get plugged into VCULink to connect with students and alumni.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Consider who you would ask to serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.   
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
Year 3
  • See your academic and career advisors regularly to discuss your progress towards graduation and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Deepen your expertise at finding information in your discipline by working with your subject expert librarian & using research guides.
  • Finish general education and language requirements while starting to take more upper level electives and major courses.
  • Actively develop your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Apply to be a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
  • Attend presentations and conferences pertinent to intercultural dialogue, history and issues.
  • Take on a leadership role in a cultural organization.
  • Present at the Political Science or other Undergraduate Research Conference.
  • Seek research opportunities to refine goals and learn the discipline required for success.
  • Apply for summer research funding through VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Take elective coursework to develop skill sets for post-BA pursuits (spreadsheets, economics, statistics and methodological skill-sets).
  • Develop tangible skills in internships that you can demonstrate to employers.
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and career services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Research graduate/professional schools at least 1 year in advance of deadlines. Study for and complete any exams the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Join job listserv sites that provide access to job postings in desired fields. Revisit gap analysis assessment and continue adjusting strategic career plan with Career Services.
Excel Year 4
  • Apply to graduate at the start of your final semester.
  • Complete Senior Seminar POLI 490.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met. 
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations.
  • Take relevant/elective coursework (E.g., politics of race class and gender, women in global politics, global ethics/world religions, intercultural communication).
  • Present at the Diversity Scholars in Research Week.
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisors, alumni, professionals).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other conferences. 
  • Gain practical experience related to your career goal through internships, externships and skill building.
  • Expand your network and remember that you can network anywhere.
  • Complete exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for after graduation.
  • Research 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 and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Engage with the VCU Alumni Association at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and by joining a VCULink Industry Network and alumni chapter as you prepare to graduate.