Make a Difference with a Political Science Degree

If you have a passion for talking politics, a craving for current events, and an ambition to shape the future, political science may be your calling. UNE’s Bachelor of Arts in Political Science focuses on the most important – and most flexible – skills required by the American job market today: skills in analysis, critical thinking, and effective communication. Through coursework in political theory and American, comparative, and international politics, you will work very closely with faculty members to prepare for an in-depth, ambitious independent research project in your senior year that will set you apart in the eyes of employers and graduate schools alike.

Why UNE for Your B.A. in Political Science

Unlike other political science programs that offer a “tacked on” senior thesis, we focus from day one on this ambitious independent research project as an integral part of the major. Working very closely with a faculty mentor you will produce an impressive piece of scholarship that demonstrates your knowledge and skills to both graduate programs and employers.

  • Choice of four concentrations: Environmental, Global, Pre-Law, or General
  • Unusual variety of unique courses
  • Flexible curriculum, allowing for double majors and minors, including minor in Health, Law, and Policy
Testimonial Place Holder

Marissa Simoes '10

English, Political Science

I eventually landed in the right places at UNE — the Political Science and English Departments. I set my sights on becoming a journalist and took the steps to get there with a little (ok, a lot) of help from my professors and other faculty members at UNE.

UNE boasts "connections for life." And that is exactly what UNE gave me and what I value the most from the four years I spent there. UNE connected me with people that changed my life, ideas that I'll always live by, and, most importantly for me, UNE connected me with the rest of the world.

What is so amazing, and unique, about UNE is that you can mold your college experience to fit you. I was able to tailor my education to get out of it exactly what I was going to need. I have learned that you get out of college exactly what you put in, and at UNE — the faculty and staff — made it incredibly easy to put in copious amounts of work because the return was so rewarding.

I decided halfway into my freshman year that I wanted to go into journalism. At the time, UNE did not have a journalism program so I was afraid I had made a huge mistake. But, one of my professors convinced me that it was possible to use what UNE did have to my advantage. Luckily for me, he was right. By the end of my four years, I had traveled the world — thanks to the Global Education Program; I was the editor-in-chief and a founding member of the Nor'Easter News, UNE's first successful student newspaper; and I had a job, in my field.

My majors were small enough to allow me the flexibility I needed, and the professors I had in both departments were constantly challenging and engaging. They became more than just professors and are still actively involved in my life today.

UNE connected me with people that changed my life, ideas that I'll always live by, and, most importantly for me, UNE connected me with the rest of the world.

English, Political Science

What Will You Study? Political Science Degree Curriculum Overview

The Political Science major offers four different areas of concentration:

  • Pre-Law
  • General Concentration
  • Environmental Politics
  • Global Politics

Our Pre-Law program introduces you to legal issues specific to different disciplines, such as health care law, ocean coast law, and business law. We provide intensive advising regarding internships and law school.

B.A. in Political Science Courses

The following are some examples of the exciting courses that you can take:

  • Comparative Revolutions
  • Why Americans Hate Politics
  • Law and American Society
  • Politics and the Environment
  • Political Islam

Curriculum

CAS Core RequirementsCredits
Total Credits42–43
Program Required CoursesCredits
PSC 105 – Introduction to Political Science or PSC 202 – Politics as Social Science3
One (1) Introductory level course in American Politics including PSC 101, 103, 106, 203, 205, 207, or 2503
One (1) Introductory level course in Comparative Politics including PSC 100, 110, 204, or 2053
One (1) Introductory level course in International Relations including GLS 100, PSC 201, 240, or 2413
One (1) Introductory level course in Political Theory including PSC 100, 120, 200, 206, or 2073
One (1) Advanced level course in American Politics (300-level or higher)3
One (1) Advanced level course in Comparative Politics (300-level or higher)3
One (1) Advanced level course in International Relations (300-level or higher)3
Three (3) Political Science Electives (at least one (1) must be 300- or 400-level)9
PSC 490 – Senior Seminar3
PSC 491 – Integrative Essay3
Total Credits39
Open Elective Courses (as needed to reach 120 credits)Variable
Minimum Total Required Credits120

Double majors or minors of all types are encouraged. All students can pursue internships and study abroad opportunities while majoring in political science.

To learn more about the program visit the Academic Catalog.

Secondary Education

If you hope to one day be a high school or middle school social studies teacher, you can enroll in the necessary secondary education courses at UNE to meet the standards for State of Maine certification (grades 7-12) upon graduation.

Honors Program

We offer qualified students the option of graduating with Honors. This includes a research project of significant ambition under the direction of a faculty member. Interested students should consult with their major advisor. 

Angela Davis Speaks at UNE

On January 23, 2019, legendary political activist Angela Davis spoke before a packed crowd at the Harold Alfond Forum for UNE's annual Martin Luther King Jr. event.

Career Paths for Political Science Majors

The analytical and communications skills that you develop as a Political Science major and the on-the-job experiences you acquire through internships can be easily applied to a multitude of professions across a broad spectrum of fields. We count among our graduates an assistant vice president at a Fortune 500 company and a U.S. Senate staffer. Other Political Science graduates have found successful careers with professions such as:

  • Lawyer
  • Policy Expert
  • Elected Official
  • Consultant
  • Researcher/Analyst
  • Teacher
  • U.S. Foreign Service Agent
  • Media Specialist
  • Nonprofit Administrator

Whether you have a specific career goal in mind or a vague idea of the field that interests you, the Office of Career Services is here to help you plan your next step.

Taking Political Science Beyond the Classroom

The Bush Legacy Collection and Lectures

Our George and Barbara Bush Center presents another treasure trove of rare historic documents and artifacts. The Bush Legacy Collection houses materials related to the life of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, focusing on his family’s New England heritage. The George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture Series is an annual event honoring the legacy of President and Mrs. Bush as political and community leaders.

Watch Videos from UNE Political Science Events

2017 Constitution Day

2016 University of New England Constitution Day

Sabbatical talk by Ali Ahmida, Professor of Political Science

The 2016 Presidential Election and the Future of American Foreign Policy

The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity

Richard Toye - Should we always say what we mean, and mean what we say?

Peter H. Smith - Colossus in Decline? U.S. Relations with Latin America

Benjamin Powell - Sweatshops: Improving Lives and Economic Growth

UNE 2014 Constitution Day Lecture: Health Law and the Constitution

Laura Browder - Communism is Twentieth Century Americanism, or the Odyssey of Earl Browder

Sohail Daulatzai - To the East, Blackwards: Islam and Muslims in the Black Radical Imagination

Jeffrey Wasserstrom - Making Sense of a Fast-Changing China

2015 Constitution Day

Experiential Learning in the Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science Program

Whether you’re defending a “client” in a mock trial, researching political issues that affect social media for your senior thesis, or interning at a senator’s office, UNE’s Political Science major keeps you involved and engaged — because we believe in learning by doing.

Political Science Hands-On Activities

  • Conduct original research in an area of interest for your senior thesis
  • Participate in the National Model United Nations Conference hosted by the National Collegiate Conference Association
  • Join UNE’s Mock Trial Team in competition against other colleges and universities
  • Study abroad for international experiences
  • Get on-the-job experience through internships

Watch UNE Students Participate in a Mock Trial

Internships for Political Science Majors

Get a taste of local politics by plugging into Maine’s political scene through internships at elected officials’ offices, municipal governments, and district and county courts. You may also intern at law firms, local TV stations, newspaper offices, and corporations.

If you are a Political Science major with a general concentration, you must complete a 3-credit internship. And no matter your concentration you must work with a faculty member to research and write a senior thesis.

Internships are initiated under the guidance of a school faculty member and facilitated by the Academic and Career Advising Center. As an intern, you work under the joint supervision of a site supervisor and faculty sponsor.

Apply Today

Ready to begin your future in UNE’s B.A. in Political Science degree program?

Bachelor of Science in Political Science FAQ

What is a political science degree?

Political science explores the challenges and opportunities that arise in communities of varying sizes. A political science degree dives into coursework on governance, public policies, and political behavior, utilizing humanistic perspectives and scientific methods to analyze political decision making in the U.S. and nations worldwide.

Students who study political science acquire essential skills in analysis, critical thinking, communication, and writing, which are all crucial components of a well-rounded liberal arts education.

All levels of political science degrees, from associate to Ph.D., fall under the realm of social sciences. It is a rigorous and holistic field of study that combines qualitative and quantitive methodological academic enquires and approaches.

UNE offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science, providing classes in political theory, comparative politics, international relations, and American politics. This program emphasizes essential and adaptable skills demanded by today's job market. It includes coursework and a collaborative independent research project during the senior year, which can significantly distinguish graduates in the eyes of employers and graduate schools.

Learn more about UNE’s B.A. in Political Science degree program in Maine

Additionally, UNE offers a Minor in Political Science, allowing students from other departments to minor in Political Science with approval from the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences Academic Director.

What jobs can you get with a political science degree?

A political science degree offers versatility, serving as a stepping stone to careers in business, education, media nonprofits, policy, and politics. The acquired skills in research, communication, and data analysis find application in both public and private sectors.

For those with a B.A. or B.S. (each with varying course requirements), entry-level positions in administration, communication, or analysis are attainable in public sector organizations, businesses, or nonprofits. In addition, political science stands as a traditional undergraduate major for students aspiring to attend law school.

Students who graduate from UNE with a political science degree in Maine have achieved remarkable success in various professional fields. Their career paths encompass roles such as lawyers, policy experts, elected officials, consultants, researchers/analysts, teachers, U.S. foreign service agents, media specialists, and nonprofit administrators.

UNE students can work with our Academic and Career Advising Center. It doesn’t matter if you have a clear career goal or just a general interest in a field.

Learn more about Career Advising at UNE

What classes are required for a political science major?

A typical political science major combines lecture coursework, seminars, group projects, and hands-on tasks. Introductory political science courses establish the basics of political theories, structures, and policies. From there, students apply these fundamental concepts to projects, real-life situations, and internships.

UNE political science majors have a choice of four concentrations:

  • Pre-Law
  • General Concentration
  • Environmental Politics
  • Global Politics

UNE’s Pre-Law program introduces students to legal issues across various law disciplines such as healthcare, ocean coast, and business. Alongside this, our program offers thorough guidance concerning internships and preparation for law school.

Students at UNE interested in obtaining teacher certification in Political Science have two options: pursuing a double major in Political Science and Secondary Education, or a major in Secondary Education with a concentration in Political Science. UNE's secondary education courses are designed to assist you in meeting the certification standards of the State of Maine (grades 6-12) upon completing your studies.

Learn more about Middle and Secondary Education with a Certification major at UNE

No matter which track you choose, we offer a variety of unique courses including:

  • Comparative Revolutions
  • Why Americans Hate Politics
  • Law and American Society
  • Politics and the Environment
  • Political Islam

UNE’s political science curriculum is flexible, allowing for double majors and minors, including a minor in Health, Law, and Policy.

How long is a political science degree?

It usually takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science. Whether you are working toward a B.A. or a B.S. in political science, you will need to complete 120 credit hours.

UNE’s B.A. in political science requires a minimum of 120 credit hours. This includes:

  • 42–46 credits of College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) core curriculum
  • 39 credits of program required courses
  • Open elective courses as needed to reach 120 credits

Learn more about UNE’s political science curriculum

How much is a political science degree?

The cost of a four-year bachelor’s degree in political science depends on several factors:

  • Residency status – in-state vs. out-of-state
  • Type of school – public in-state vs. private
  • Fees outside of tuition including room and board, and other costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate degrees at UNE in Maine

UNE is Maine's largest private university. We offer merit-based scholarships independent of whatever degree path or major you choose. We are committed to affordability in education. Here are some relevant statistics:

  • 98% of undergraduates receive merit-based scholarships
  • The average total award package for our students is $26K
  • $42M awarded annually in institutional scholarships

Learn more about grants and scholarships available for students at UNE

A degree in political science is absolutely worth it. It unlocks a wide range of job possibilities in both public and private sectors. In addition, completing your bachelor’s degree helps pave the way for law school or graduate school.

Should I major in political science?

Many political issues hold significance for college-aged students, including climate change, college affordability, gun control, racial equity, women’s rights, and LGBTQ+ rights. If you want to channel your passion into a career involving research, advocacy, or direct action, you should consider majoring in political science.

Political science is a good major for prospective college students who want to make an impact on the world. As a political science major, you’ll learn about American government and politics, comparative politics, political theory, and international relations. You’ll study concepts such as democracy, ethics, and justice.

Read testimonials from political science majors at UNE

Few degrees offer as broad a range of career options and employment prospects as a political science degree. Graduates can pursue various career paths, each with impressive earning potential. Zippia reports that American graduates with a major in political science earn an average annual salary of $52,859. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 6 percent job growth for political scientists from 2021 to 2031, which is on par with the average growth rate for all U.S. jobs.

Which colleges have the best political sciences degree program for me?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which college or university has the best political science degree program for you.

Faculty

To identify the most suitable political science faculty for you, consider their areas of expertise and research focus, aligning them with your academic interests and career aspirations.

UNE political science faculty collaborates closely with students on their senior thesis, a significant independent research project that's a core component of the political science major. This notable scholarly work showcases expertise and abilities valuable to both graduate programs and employers. In addition, all political science interns work under the joint supervision of a site supervisor and faculty sponsor.

Our small classes and abundant individual attention from faculty give students ample opportunity to hone marketable skills.

Meet faculty and professional staff in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Curriculum

To determine the ideal political science curriculum for you, assess the courses offered, the specialization options available, and how they align with your academic and career goals.

UNE’s political science degree program offers a flexible curriculum, allowing for double majors and minors, including a minor in Health, Law, and Policy. Students have a choice of four concentrations: Environmental, Global, Pre-Law, or General. No matter which concentration you choose, we offer a variety of unique political courses.

We also offer Political Science majors the opportunity to select all Secondary Education certification courses as their electives to become Maine middle or high school teachers (grades 7–12) in the area of social studies.

At UNE, we believe in experiential learning – learning by doing. Highlights include:

  • Conducting original research in an area of interest for your senior thesis
  • Participating in the National Model United Nations Conference hosted by the National Collegiate Conference Association
  • Joining UNE’s Mock Trial Team in competition against other colleges and universities
  • Studying abroad for international experiences
  • Getting on-the-job experience through internships

Learn more about the full Political Science curriculum

Career goals

To select the best political science degree program for your career goals, evaluate factors such as the program's focus areas, opportunities for internships or research, and how well the program aligns with your long-term aspirations.

As a Political Science major at UNE, you will have the ability to work with our Academic and Career Advising Center. It doesn’t matter if you have a clear career goal or just a general interest in a field. In addition, UNE’s Pre-Law program provides intensive advising regarding internships and law school.

Learn more about Career Advising at UNE

Political science internships at UNE provide students with hands-on experience in Maine's political landscape, involving placements in elected officials' offices, municipal governments, and district and county courts. Students also have opportunities to intern at law firms, local TV stations, newspapers, and corporations. Internships are initiated with guidance from a faculty member and facilitated by the College of Arts and Sciences Internship Office.

The experience offered through each student’s independent research project nurtures students’ analytical and communication skills, fostering readiness for life after college.

Location and environment

Ask yourself what kind of environment suits you best. Figure out if you want to stay in your state or if you wish to move. See if you will be inspired or challenged by your fellow students and faculty.

UNE is Maine’s largest private university. We have three unique campuses that provide diverse learning opportunities. In Maine, two campuses in Biddeford and Portland offer renowned undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. Additionally, our Tangier, Morocco campus hosts a unique semester abroad program for UNE students.

Learn more about UNE’s campuses and how you can visit us

Outside of the classroom, UNE’s George and Barbara Bush Center offers a valuable collection of historical documents and artifacts. The Bush Legacy Collection holds materials about George H.W. Bush's life, with a focus on his New England family heritage. The George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture Series is an annual event that celebrates the Bushes' legacy as political and community leaders.

UNE’s Global Education Program provides the opportunity for all students to study abroad. Our program offers English-language courses in the sciences, humanities, business, and the arts, as well as language study in Arabic, Spanish, and French.

Learn more about studying abroad at UNE

Additionally, UNE boasts small class sizes. Overall, we have a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio and an average class size of 20.

Learn more about some quick facts about UNE

Financial Aid

Consider whether the school you're contemplating provides financial aid or scholarships to support your educational journey.

A UNE undergraduate education is very affordable. Our tuition is 16% below the average tuition for private universities in New England. Plus, all incoming full-time undergraduate students at UNE will receive Merit Scholarships in amounts from $5,000 to $22,000 per year.

Learn more about grants and scholarships available to students at UNE