The Department of Political Science offers a B.A. degree with five different career pathways. Our program goes beyond textbooks, offering a dynamic curriculum that equips you with an understanding of global political landscapes. As a political science major, you’ll hone critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills essential for a variety of careers. Picture yourself influencing policy as a political analyst, shaping international relations as a diplomat, or championing social change as a public policy advocate. At Iowa State, you’re not just earning a degree; you’re gaining the skills to be a change-maker in our interconnected world.

Scott Feinstein

Choose your career path

You now have more freedom to plan your courses around your career goals. Our new curriculum allows you the opportunity to be recognized for completion of one or more career paths: Law, Justice, and Politics; Public Policy and Political Action; Global Engagement; Politics and Business; Environmental Politics and Policy.

Political Science core curriculum

All political science majors take 1010 Exploring Political Science, two additional 1000 level courses, two 2000 level gateway courses, and six upper-level courses (3000 or higher) at least three of which are 4000 or higher. Majors also take a research methods class (2610, 2620, or 4010) and do a capstone experience (internship, study abroad, senior thesis, or graduate level political science course).

Eleanor Chalstrom

Political science isn’t just a degree you can use to get to law school, you can do more. I can see myself applying to grad school for something similar or along the lines of what we’re doing here (analyzing results from the Iowa State University/Civiqs Poll).

Eleanor Chalstrom, ’24 political science, journalism and mass communication

Career pathways

Additional opportunities

  • Political Science with Teacher Preparation Focus

    Students seeking teacher certification in American government must meet all of the requirements of the political science major while taking the specific political science classes required for certification by the State of Iowa. This coursework must include POLS 1110 Introduction to American Government and a minimum of 12 additional credits in American government (see options below). Students must also complete at least one additional endorsement in either American history or world history.

  • Combined B.A. / M.A.

    Students with a graduate degree in political science typically earn higher incomes than those with just an undergraduate degree. It is possible to finish both degrees in five years at Iowa State—possibly even in four years if you come to Ames with college credits earned while in high school.

  • Minor in Political Science

    A minor in political science can give you the skills to navigate a world where political awareness is increasingly crucial. We offer a minor that may be earned by completing 15 credits of coursework in political science and fulfilling certain criteria.