Political Science

Why Study Political Science

The political science major is designed to provide a systemic understanding of the functions and structures of different levels of government, their constitutional and philosophical foundations, and the dynamics of the political process. Our program prepares you for a variety of government-oriented careers as well as providing a strong foundation for law or graduate school. Our graduates have gone on to work in the political system, as well as other fields that demand fine writing, communication, and analytical skills.

Your undergraduate degree in political science can take you many places — from policy analysis at the state government to helping shape the careers of the nation’s lawmakers in DC. Wherever you end up, you’ll have the support of Ship’s large alumni community.  

Why Study Political Science at Ship

Shippensburg University, 40 miles from the state capital and 95 miles from the nation’s capital, is well situated for the study of government. The university has an impressive government documents collection housed in the Ezra Lehman Memorial Library. The library also is home to the 8,000-volume Pennsylvania collection.

Shippensburg University’s Political Science Department faculty all hold doctorates from major universities and most have practical experience outside the classroom, which allows networking connections and opportunities for guest lecturers—each brings diverse approaches to both academia and public policy. Undergraduate classes are taught by subject matter experts in public sector labor law, 20th century political ideology, policy analysis, and a range of other topics representing the full spectrum of academic political science.

With a low student to instructor ratio, students in the undergraduate political science program at Shippensburg University have the ability to learn from their professors directly. Collaboration between students is also encouraged with small class sizes.

Internships are strongly encouraged. Our students have worked in the offices of members of the US Congress and the Pennsylvania General Assembly. If you are interested in campaigns there are opportunities to work with candidates nearly every election cycle. Internships with national, state, and local government agencies and not-for-profit organizations are also an option.

Career Opportunities and Salary Estimates

College graduates with strong communication and analytical skills and a solid understanding of the operation of government, at all levels, are in demand. Not only are our graduates holding positions in the offices of elected officials, but are also found in the civil service at local, state, and national levels. In addition, political science is an excellent major for students with interests in business and journalism, not to mention non-profit agencies of all types.

The average salary for political science jobs in PA is $60,000.

Majors must take core courses in American government, international relations, and research methods. Students complete a senior-level research project that serves as a capstone of the culminated knowledge, communication and research skills acquired over four years of study in the department. Students must also take courses in four substantive areas, including global politics, government, political behavior, and political theory or law.

To earn the Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, you must complete 18 credits of required core courses, 12 credits of your chosen concentration area, 9 credits of Political Science electives, and 19 credits in Allied Fields (Economics, Sociology, Mathematics).

We also offer an 18 credit Political Science Minor.

Shippensburg University has an active chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, as well as a club for students interested in attending law school. Field trips, internships, speakers, and a variety of other activities enhance the classroom experience. 

Political Science
424 Grove Hall, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1718
Department Website