Cutting-edge Tools to Change the Political World

Welcome to our Department

Our department combines world-class research with an innovative and intensive approach to teaching undergraduates and PhD students.  Founded in 1974, we are by far the youngest of the globe’s top departments – we are rated as the #7 program by the National Research Council, #9 by US News and World Report, and #6 in the London School of Economics and Political Science rankings.  UC San Diego Political Science took its place among our ivy-covered peers not by following their traditions but carving out our own paths, helping to change the way that our discipline approaches the study of the political world.  We bring the same passion for non-tradition into our classrooms, where we try to provide our students with courses on subjects they never knew existed, assignments that challenge them to perform professional-level work, and research tools they can use to explore their own questions.  

For our undergraduate students, we offer…

  • Courses that range from “Insurgency and Terrorism” to “The Voting Rights Act: 50 Years Later,” to “International Politics and Drugs” to “Bending the Curve: Climate Change” to “Democracy and its Critics” 
  • To complement courses taught by our permanent faculty, we bring in practitioners who channel their real-world experiences into courses like “How to Win or Lose and Election” and “Science, Technology, and the Law”
  • A Senior Honors Thesis program {link} and a Research Apprenticeship Program {link} that allow students to work with mentors to engage in independent research
  • A series of advanced data analytics courses in which you can develop the statistical, coding, and data visualization skills that will set you apart on the job market

For our graduate students, we offer…

  • A math boot camp and a sequence of methodological courses taught by leading scholars that provide you with the skills you need to conduct professional research
  • A core curriculum bringing together students in every subfield that introduces you to the fundamental questions driving political science
  • Workshops that include both specialized field meetings and broader general meetings so that you can receive both field-specific and discipline-wide feedback on your projects at the right stage of their development 
  • Opportunities to work as a research assistant on projects run by our faculty, and opportunities to fund your own fieldwork and research
  • A strong placement record {link} of our students in tenure-track jobs at universities including Harvard University, Columbia University, UCLA, New York University, U. of North Carolina, USC, U. of Texas, Austin, London School of Economics, The Ohio State University, University College, London, College of William and Mary, Emory University, U. of British Columbia, NYU Abu Dhabi, and American University in Cairo

Where do our students go?

      Political Science alumni are successful in a broad range of fields:

  • Tim Roemer ‘79 served in Congress and as Ambassador to India
  • Brian Frank ’91 currently runs global operations for LinkedIn
  • Raj Roy ’94 is the Chief Curator of Film at The Museum of Modern Art
  • Samantha Begovich ’91 is the deputy district attorney in San Diego
  • Serge Dedina ’87 is the director of WiLDCOAST/COSTASALVAjE
  • Katie Babineau ’09 is a Senior Communications Specialist at Sony
  • Debby Buchholz ’84 is the General Manager of the La Jolla Playhouse