There are many definitions of political science. But whether a definition focuses on the analysis of governmental structures, or influences on voter choice, or the relationship between national governments, or the best form of government, at base, political science is about the systematic study of power. Whether power is exercised formally, as is the case between government and the individual, or informally, as is the case between individuals, it is the systematic study of power relationships that provides the subject matter for the discipline. Students who pursue a certificate in political science obtain not only an understanding of the workings of government, but they also develop important skills in critical thinking and analysis. These skills make them ideal candidates for careers in law; in government at the state, national, and international levels; in business; in journalism; and in politics.
The certificate in political science requires sixteen (16) political science (Poli Sci) credits, of which twelve (12) credits must be taken on campus. Students can explore the certificate by taking one of our introductory courses in American Politics (Poli Sci 104), Comparative Politics (Poli Sci 120), International Relations (Poli Sci 140) or Political Theory (Poli Sci 160). The certificate pairs well with any major and provides political context to many areas of study.
Please consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Amy Gangl (firstname.lastname@example.org), with any questions about the certificate in political science.
declaring the certificate
There are no pre-requisites for declaring the Political Science certificate. Students can declare at any time. Political science majors are not eligible to declare the Political Science certificate.
requirements for the certificate
|Introductory Course (complete one)||3-4|
|Introduction to American Politics and Government|
|Introduction to Comparative Politics|
|Introduction to International Relations|
|Introduction to Political Theory|
|Introduction to Comparative Politics (Honors)|
|Introduction to American Politics|
|Reading and Writing in Political Science (complete one)||3-4|
|Indian Politics in Comparative Perspective|
|Political Economy of Development|
|Israeli Politics and Society|
|International Institutions and World Order|
|American Foreign Policy|
|History of American Political Thought|
|Nuclear Weapons and World Politics|
|Topics in Political Philosophy|
|Honors Seminar on Race and Politics in the United States|
|Proseminar: Topics in Political Science|
|Any additional "Reading and Writing in Political Science" course from the list above, or any of the following courses:|
|Politics in Multi-Cultural Societies|
|Introduction to Public Policy|
|The Political Economy of Race in the United States|
|Elections and Voting Behavior|
|United States Congress|
|Governments and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa|
|Social Movements and Revolutions in Latin America|
|Politics of East and Southeast Asia|
|Democracy (and Its Uncertain Future)|
|The Civil-Military Paradox in U.S. Politics and Society|
|The European Union: Politics and Political Economy|
|Theories of International Security|
|Global Access to Justice|
|International Political Economy|
|Principles of International Law|
|Contemporary American Political Thought|
|Literature and Politics|
|Islam and Politics|
|Study Abroad Topics in Political Science: International Relations|
|Selected Topics in Political Science|
|Wisconsin in Washington Internship Course|
|The American Presidency|
|The American Constitution : Powers and Structures of Government|
|The American Constitution: Rights and Civil Liberties|
|The Supreme Court as a Political Institution|
|Community Power and Grass Roots Politics|
|The American Judicial System|
|Gender and Politics in Comparative Perspective|
|The Politics of Human Rights|
|The Comparative Study of Genocide|
|Deception and Politics|
|Women and Politics|
|The First Amendment|
|Study Abroad Topics in Political Science: American Government|
|African American Political Theory|
|Study Abroad Topics in Political Science: Political Theory|
|Politics and Society: Contemporary Eastern Europe|
|Study Abroad Topics in Political Science: Comparative Politics|
Residence and Quality of Work
- Minimum 2.000 GPA in all certificate courses
- At least 12 certificate credits must be completed on campus
Certificate Completion Requirement
This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.
- Develop an understanding of and appreciation for the methods and approaches in Political Science and their relevance to important theoretical and pragmatic questions.
- Analyze different forms and practices of governance both democratic and non‐democratic.
- Argue effectively and defend propositions with intellectual integrity, while considering a range of alternative points of view and evidence.
- Analyze relations among individuals, civil society, political institutions, and states.
- Analyze the motivations and consequences of political decision‐making and activities.
Students who are declared or interested in the political science certificate have numerous advising resources available to them. The political science advising team is composed of professional and peer advisors who are excited to talk with students about everything from academic planning to professional development for future careers. Information on the political advising team, how to contact an advisor and how to schedule an appointment hours can be found on this website.
The Department of Political Science recognizes the importance of internships in helping students develop professional skills and explore potential career paths. Positions can vary depending on availability and students’ interests, but recent sponsors have included the WI State Legislature, the Office of the Governor, Sierra Club, and numerous non-profit, media, lobbyist and policy organizations in Wisconsin and throughout the country. Please see our internship board for examples of the wide array of opportunities. Political Science certificate students can also get academic credit in conjunction with an internship by taking Poli Sci 315.
Like internships, networking can be a valuable tool in opening professional doors and learning more about the professional value of the political certificate. The department often matches students with alumni mentors drawn from our Board of Visitors and other graduates who can help them get started building a professional network, answer questions about a specific field, provide guidance in applying for jobs or preparing for interviews, and provide general career advice.