Political Science


What is Political Science?

Political Science is an academic discipline that includes theory, philosophy, institutions, comparative governments, international relations, and public policy and dates back to before even Plato. Our department focuses primarily on modern institutions both at home and in the world.

Why is political science a required course for California college students? Because we live in a democracy, we need to understand how governments work; how the U.S. interact with the nations of the world; and how we can affect public policy.

What courses does West Valley offer in Political Science?

American government is the most popular class as it fulfills the History and Institutions requirement for the State of California. This course covers the structure and functions of the American national, state, and local governments with emphasis on the development of democratic institutions.

The Comparative Government course compares and contrasts our system with others throughout the world, and the Introduction to Political Science course takes this a step further provides by analyzing basic and theoretical concepts of political science in a comparative way. Finally, the International Relations course examines how governments interact not just with each other, but with nongovernmental organizations, interest groups, and even individual citizens within the international arena.

Why study Political Science?

The study of political science helps develop skills in writing and communication, research and analysis, as well as critical and independent thinking. A degree in Political Science often leads to law school, business and public administration careers, government careers, journalism careers, international and trade organization work, community organizing, electoral politics, interest group work, lobbying, and public life.

What are the Department's Learning Outcomes?

After completing courses in Political Science, or an A.A. degree in Social Science with an emphasis in Political Science, a student will be able to:

  • Describe the structure and functions of American government.
  • Explain the ideas of the great political thinkers and how those ideas apply to our democracy and to our world today.
  • Identify the institutions, players and processes in American national and state governments.
  • Analyze the exercise of power in governmental institutions.
  • Analyze how public policy is formulated, legislated, implemented and evaluated within our democratic framework.
  • Compare the U.S. political system to others in the world.
  • Describe the political relations among nations and the transnational relations practiced by people, organizations, and institutions across national boundaries.

Career Options

  • Researcher/Analyst
  • Political Economist
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Attorney
  • Lobbyist
  • City Planner
  • Teacher
  • Administrator
  • Elected Official
  • Journalist
  • Legislative Aide
  • Political Scientist
  • City Manager
  • Business person
  • Campaigner
  • Advocate
  • Community Relations Director
  • Congressional Aide
  • Consumer Advocate
Last Updated 1/30/19