A UAlbany government intern inside the New York State Capitol building.

Bachelor of Arts in
Political Science

Program of Study


Progress through introductory, concentration, elective, and writing intensive capstone courses to build a comprehensive understanding of politics in all forms. Start your learning in our three gateway courses on American Politics, Comparative and International Politics, and Political Theory, and then advance through courses that you choose to deepen your understanding of your preferred concentration.

Use tools like historical and institutional analysis, interpretive approaches, and positive hypothesis-testing and modeling to deepen your comprehension of political issues. You may also opt to gain hands-on political experience through a wide range of internship opportunities, including in the New York State Assembly and Senate, and through our Semester in Washington Program.

Political science majors must earn at least 36 credits as follows:

Required Courses

  • American Politics
  • Comparative and International Politics
  • Political Theory
  • One 400-level Writing Intensive Course

Concentration Courses (12 Credits)

Political Science Electives (15 Credits)

American Politics

Learn about American political institutions including the presidency, Congress, courts, state and local government, and political parties; as well as political processes like elections, public opinion, urban politics, minority politics, political behavior, and public policy formation. With a location in the state capital, you will have unique opportunities to study ongoing research projects at the intersection of politics and public policy.


Citizenship is a central concept to the study of politics with deep historical roots and increasing tension in modern political life. Courses in this concentration focus on the concept from both the theoretical and empirical standpoints in the U.S. and globally. You will examine citizenship from the individual and institutional perspectives. You will also learn what it means to be a citizen from a legal and a normative vantage point, as a political identity, and in the public policy process.

Equality & Inequality

As discussions of economic and political inequalities become increasingly present in our political debates, issues of equality and inequality have become central to the polity. Courses in this concentration focus on these issues by examining the intersection of law and social policy as it pertains to underrepresented groups. You will examine debates about group identity, civil rights and liberties, discrimination and the meaning of justice in a democracy.

Global Politics

Learn about current changes in the world and the comparative study of political systems. Course topics include civil-military relations, political economy, gender and LGBTQ rights, human rights, political violence and terrorism, contentious politics, foreign policy, regional integration, nationalism, ethnicity and international relations, international conflict and security, international regimes, WMD, and economic statecraft. Focus in areas such as Latin America, Southeast Asia, Europe, Israel-Palestine and China.

Law & Institutions

The rule of law, often overlooked and sometimes contentious, plays a central role in everyday American life. Courses in this concentration focus on the development and operation of the legal system, the work of the branches of government and the interactions of these political institutions with the public. You will learn to consider how laws are constructed and implemented, how they affect ordinary citizens, and the impact they have on public policy debates and political change.

Political Economy & Development

Comparing policy in the U.S. with those in other nations will provide you with critical insight in a globalized world. Courses in this concentration build an understanding of macro level development by examining the connections between politics and economics. You will learn about nation building, social safety nets, the changing role of nation states and national institutions, and the controversial influence of money on people and policies.

Political Theory

Political theory encompasses studies from traditional texts to contemporary theory, including critical theory, deconstructive readings of political theory, theories of political judgment, and German social and political theory.

This program provides you with a firm grounding in the history of political theory, interpretive theory and the philosophy of the social sciences, and the various strands of contemporary theory.

Public Law

Public law at the University at Albany has a national reputation for the quality of its program. You will study with faculty in areas related to law, legal actors, and legal systems. Learn about  national and subnational legal processes, the relationship between law and state development, the relationship of law and the legal system to public policy, interest groups, the media, and the political system in general. You will also have opportunities to examine doctrinal issues in constitutional and public law, as well as the relationship of private law to public policy in the United States and around the world.

Security & Statecraft

International conflict and security dominate the politics of most areas of the globe and are key components of our foreign policy conversations. Courses in the concentration focus on the expanded understanding of the concept of security as states and non-state actors develop new strategies, tactics and tools to challenge the established order. You will study patterns of political violence, migration politics, and how nations and the international organizations respond to modern day threats.

Honors Program

The Honors Program provides you with the opportunity for a special educational experience in small seminars where you can develop your writing, speaking, and analytical skills.

Majors may apply for admission at the end of your sophomore year, or for junior transfers, upon admission to the University.

Admission requirements include an overall cumulative grade point average of 3.50, and a 3.70 in political science courses; and completion of 12 credits in political science before beginning the program.

The Honors Program requires 16 credits of honors work including Great Ideas in Political Science, two 1-credit honors tutorials in conjunction with existing 300-level courses and an Honors Thesis or a 4-credit version of an existing 400-level course.

UAlbany students on Empire State Plaza

Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Options

You can save time and money by beginning your graduate degree coursework while still enrolled as an undergraduate student. Up to 12 academic credits, billed at the undergraduate rate, will count towards both degrees – so you’ll complete your combined program in only 5 years and spend less than you would if you completed each program separately. Choose to combine your Political Science undergraduate degree with the following graduate programs:


MA in Political Science
This master’s program offers six career-launching tracks of study in American Politics; Applied American Politics (Elections, Lobbying, and Advocacy); Justice, Democracy, and Law; Law and Politics; and Public Policy.

MA in Criminal Justice
This top-ranked master’s program provides you with an advanced understanding of the criminal justice system and criminology for a successful career in areas like policing, law, crime analysis and research.

MPA in Public Administration and Policy
This top-ranked master’s program prepares you to help solve complex socioeconomic problems with concentration areas including non-profit management and leadership, public policy, healthcare management, information technology management, public economics and finance, and homeland security.

MIA in International Affairs
This master’s program studies foreign relations and global cooperation with concentrations in Global Public Management, Diplomacy and Global Governance, Global Economic Policy and Global and Homeland Security. You can also create your own custom concentration.

MS in Information Science 
This ALA-accredited master's program covers a broad range of interdisciplinary topics related to library science, information processing, information management and data analysis.


UAlbany graduate at Commencement
Internships for Political Science Majors

At Rockefeller, you can develop real-world skills through internships with New York State government that let you experience politics in action.

Recent UAlbany interns have been placed in the New York Senate, New York State Assembly, the office of the New York Attorney General, office of Lieutenant Governor, the National Women's Law Center, and America Votes.

As a political science major, you can also compete for opportunities to spend a semester in Washington D.C. witnessing political situations first-hand as they unfold in the heart of our nation’s capital.

Career Paths in Political Science


The political science major prepares you for diverse careers in government, nonprofits, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multinational corporations and other private sector businesses.

Sample alumni job titles include: attorney, public servant, advocate, lobbyist, campaign manager, journalist, civilian public relations specialist, teacher, and political advisor.

The BA in Political Science program also gives you a great foundation for graduate study in law, public administration, public affairs, economic development, international studies, and related areas.


"Rockefeller challenged me to think about policy issues with a solution-minded approach based on public interest. I’ve relied on this model throughout my career – it enables me to provide valuable input into many policy debates."

- Jennifer A. Manner, BA, ’86

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Bachelor of Arts
  • The student understands the content and significance of political ideas and the role of formal and informal institutions, power, and authority the operation of society.
  • The student grasps the range of intellectual perspectives constituting political science and the formal study of politics.              
  • The student develops and utilizes the techniques of critical thought.
  • The student develops and uses evidence-based reasoning and argumentation skills in political science.

What Makes The University at Albany Great

Student move-in day.

Living-Learning Communities

Live and take classes with other incoming freshmen who share your personal interests, passions or intended academic major.

A student abroad visiting a monument.

Study Abroad

Become a global citizen: international experience is crucial to success in business, education, research, and public policy.

A student conducting undergraduate research.

Undergraduate Research

Research, scholarship, and creative activities at the University at Albany is an option for all students, across all academic disciplines. You will be able to learn more about a specific academic field or career path all while building a long-lasting mentoring relationship with a faculty member or principal investigator.

Explore Minors

Build competency in a passion or strengthen your resume.

A minor consists of 18–24 graduation credits which must include a minimum of 9 graduation credits of advanced coursework at or above the 300 level. Most undergraduate degrees require completing a minor and it has to have a different title from your major.

Full List of Minors
  • Acting
  • Africana Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art
  • Art History
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Bioethics
  • Biology
  • Broadcast Meteorology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese Studies
  • Cognitive Science
  • Communication (Fully Online Option)
  • Computer Science
  • Creative Writing
  • Criminal Justice Studies (Fully Online Option)
  • Cybersecurity (Fully Online Option)
  • Documentary Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • Economics
  • Educational Studies
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Electronics
  • Film Studies
  • Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (Fully Online Option)
  • English
  • Forensic Science
  • French
  • Game Design and Development
  • Geographic Information Science
  • Geography
  • Globalization Studies
  • Hebrew
  • History (Fully Online Option)
  • Informatics (Fully Online Option)
  • Instrumental Performance
  • International Studies
  • Italian
  • Japanese Studies
  • Journalism (Fully Online Option)
  • Judaic Studies
  • Korean Studies
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Law and Philosophy
  • Leadership
  • Legal Studies
  • LGBTQ Studies
  • Library and Information Science
  • Linguistics
  • Machine Learning
  • Mathematics
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Music
  • Musical Performance
  • Musical Theatre
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Portuguese
  • Pre-Education
  • Psychology (Fully Online Option)
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy
  • Religious Studies
  • Russian
  • Russian and Eastern European Studies
  • Social Welfare Studies
  • Sociology (Fully Online Option)
  • Spanish
  • Statistics
  • Sustainability
  • Theatre
  • Theatrical Design/Technology
  • Urban Studies and Planning
  • U.S. Latino Studies
  • Vocal Performance
  • Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies