Political Science

College of Arts and Sciences

Political science is the study of power and how political institutions and individuals engage in the public realm. In the major, students explore concepts like freedom and justice; governmental structures; how law and courts function; how economics affects political behavior; international conflict and cooperation; media; and how traits like race, gender and class are political and shape identity, institutions and policy. Undergraduates acquire knowledge of political institutions in the United States and around the world. Students learn to think critically as they evaluate conflicting claims about what government can and should do. They explore how mass political behavior influences law and policy and study how government capacities and popular commitments to democracy vary across time and location. As they read, write research and debate, they learn to evaluate complicated issues and communicate effectively on controversial topics. Graduates with this degree pursue careers in fields such as business, technology, law, nonprofit, government, media and communication and research.

Minor available

Major category: Minimum requirements

Curricular options: International Security, Political Economy

Topic: Social sciences

Applicant type


Freshmen can apply to the UW to begin autumn quarter or winter quarter (U.S. applicants only)

Read more about applying to the UW as a freshman, including details for programs that provide high school students with college credit (like Running Start).


Quarters of general admisson to UW: autumn / winter (U.S. applicants only) / spring / summer

Preparation for the major is a factor in transfer admission.

  • Use the information below to help you prepare for this degree
  • Visit MyPlan to run a degree audit.
  • Use the UW Equivalency Guide to find out how courses taken at a Washington state community or technical college will transfer to the UW.
  • UW college and school graduation requirements

Department admission information

  • Departmental application deadline:
  • You must enroll at the UW before applying to this major. Please contact the department for additional details.

Read more about applying to the UW as a transfer student.

Career outcomes