The field of political science concerns the study of citizenship, government and politics. Students learn about the role of government in a just society, the nature of democracy and different democratic institutions throughout the world. They also study the influence of globalization on developed and developing countries; the means by which citizens seek to influence government and public policy; the inner workings of Congress, the Supreme Court and other institutions and strategic interaction among nation-states. Graduates are in a better position to understand and confront many of the important challenges facing society throughout their lifetimes.
A bachelor’s degree in political science can be applied to many different career paths, from positions in government and business to journalism, teaching, non-profit management and public policy analysis and advocacy.
As with most liberal arts degrees, a BA in political science will not prepare a student for a specific job, but it will instill knowledge and a set of communication and analytical skills that are valued by employers. A BA in political science also provides a foundation for graduate study or advanced professional education in fields such as law, public administration and public policy.
The University’s Career Center is an important resource for students pursuing their career. Licensed counselors are available to provide strategies for mastering job interviews, writing professional cover letters and resumes and help students connect with campus recruiters, among other services.
The BA in political science degree requires 120 hours to graduate: 43 hours from the University’s core curriculum, 54 hours from the major and 23 hours of electives. Students must complete a set of core courses within the major. An 18-hour minor in political science also is offered through the school.
All undergraduates can arrange for internships through the Career Center. In addition, a UT Dallas professor acts as lead faculty member for the Archer Fellows program, which allows students to spend a semester in Washington, D.C., completing an internship and taking classes. Archer is highly competitive and open to the entire UT System, but UT Dallas students routinely earn a disproportionate number of slots. Another political science faculty member directs the Center for the Study of Texas Politics and teaches honors classes that involve field trips to Austin to meet with top government officials.
Pi Sigma Alpha is the political science honor society, and students also participate in a number of other political- or law-related organizations.
The Pre-Law Advising and Resource Center at UT Dallas, which is directed by a political science faculty member, works with students interested in pursuing a legal career. Their guidance begins in the students’ early years at the University and continues through preparation for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Many pre-law students at UT Dallas are admitted to the nation’s top 10 law schools, and the majority earns admission to law school on their first try.
Political science faculty and graduate students coach the moot court and mock trial teams, which students can take as classes. Undergraduates also may enroll in classes included in the school’s new master’s program in constitutional law studies.
UT Dallas undergraduates who meet the requirements for admission to graduate school and have at least a 3.25 UT Dallas cumulative GPA should consider the Fast-Track option. Fast-Track allows students to take up to 15 credit hours of graduate courses their senior year that count toward both their bachelor's degree and a master's degree. Students who successfully complete the Fast-Track requirements are not required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) before entering the master's program.
Every new generation inherits a world more complex than that of their forefathers, which prompts a need for new thinking about public policies that impact people's daily lives. While our colleagues in the School of Management or the Jonsson School of Engineering are creating new managerial or technological systems, we in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS) examine the implications of innovation and change for individuals and communities.
As an undergraduate in EPPS, you will have the chance to work with professors who are probing issues that will affect your future. You will develop the vital skills you need to thrive in a rapidly evolving, highly competitive job market. EPPS will prepare you for careers in government, non-profits and the private sector that enable you to make a real difference in the world of today and tomorrow.
Consider the following example of exciting work under way in EPPS. One of the most complex issues of our time is undoubtedly the question of how to improve public education. You hear rival opinions everywhere about the right way to fix our educational system. But researchers from a variety of disciplines within EPPS are working collaboratively to examine the hard data and measure efficiency, and their research could lead to improvements in educational practice and improve our children's ability to compete in a dynamic society.
EPPS is at the forefront of leadership, ethics and innovation in the public and nonprofit sectors. Our students and faculty look forward to new opportunities to study and address the complex and evolving issues of the future.
Research informs much of the instruction. The school has eight centers of excellence:
Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts: Criminology, economics, geography, geospatial information sciences, international political economy, public affairs, political science, sociology
Master of Science: Criminology, economics, geospatial information sciences, international political economy, applied sociology, justice administration and leadership
Master of Arts: Political science, political science-constitutional law, political science-legislative studies
Master of Public Affairs: Public affairs
Master of Public Policy: Public policy
Doctor of Philosophy: Criminology, economics, geospatial information sciences, public affairs, public policy and political economy, political science
The certificates offered through EPPS are:
Geographic Information Systems (GISc): a 15-hour graduate-level certificate focusing on the application of GIS in government, private sector and scientific areas, which can be completed in one year of part-time evening classes.
Remote Sensing: a 15-hour for-credit graduate certificate focusing on remote sensing and digital image processing, which can be completed in one year of part-time evening study.
Geospatial Intelligence: a 15-hour graduate certificate focusing on the application of geospatial ideas and techniques to national security and other intelligence activity.
Public Affairs: 15-hour graduate-level certificates in homeland security, local government management, city planning and nonprofit management.
School Of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences
The University of Texas at Dallas
800 West Campbell Road GR 31
Richardson, TX 75080-3021