A Political Science course taught in a lecture hall at the UW.

Explore how governments and institutions shape public life.

The UW Department of Political Science studies the theory and practice of government and politics at all levels, from local to international. We challenge students to evaluate conflicting perspectives on political controversies and explore how mass political behavior influences law and policy. As a political science major, you’ll use social science methods to address complicated issues. Our research centers, writing center and honors program strengthen our students’ research and writing skills. The department’s internationally-recognized faculty conducts cutting-edge research, often in collaboration with graduate students. 

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An exterior photo of Gowen Hall at the University of Washington.

Graduate Programs

A UW Political Science student walks outside the State Capitol Building in Olympia, Washington during an internship.
+70% Political Science students who complete an internship.

Careers

Students of political science develop skills in critical thinking, communication, research and data analysis that prepare them for a wide variety of careers and leadership roles. Department alumni work in government, nonprofit organizations, law, business, consulting, journalism, education and more. 

Career Paths

UW political science alumni job titles include:

  • State Supreme Court judge
  • Federal prosecutor
  • Legislative analyst  
  • Campaign manager
  • Elected official
  • Political researcher 
  • Data scientist 
  • Government relations manager
  • Advocacy director 
  • Tribal climate liaison 
Rows of books at the Allen Library at the University of Washington.

Experience what you study.

UW political science majors have many internship opportunities, with placements available in congressional offices; political campaigns; local, state and federal government; corporations; nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations; and more. We have a longstanding relationship with the Washington State Legislative Internship Program and the Washington Center Internship Program in Washington, D.C. You can earn academic credit for your internship by connecting your experience to your coursework. 

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Find Yourself in Political Science

Evaluate systems of power and governance. Pursue academic inquiry that promotes participation in the political process.

Department of Political Science Stories

Anthony Stokes

Seeking Justice, One Case at a Time

As an undergrad interested in criminal justice, Anthony Stokes has visited prisons, met with incarcerated men, and worked on court cases.

Randy Pepple and Cathy Allen wearing masks representing their political affiliations.

Mixing Politics & Friendship

Strategists on opposites sides of the political aisle co-teach a course on political campaigns.Good thing they're close friends. 

David Owens with his students outside courthouse, celebrating a successful case.

Justice for the Wrongfully Convicted

Civil rights attorney David Owens (2004) represents victims of police misconduct and wrongful conviction.