Department of Political Science

Political Science

Join us in the study of politics, public policy and administration

We emphasize research and teaching that links theory with real world issues and action through politics, public policy and administration. With a degree from our Department, you will be prepared to develop innovative approaches to current and emerging local, national and global challenges.

Political Science academic programs

The Department of Political Science offers a range of academic programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

The Bachelor of Arts in Political Science offers students five different areas of study, from American government and politics to international relations, helping them develop an understanding of the institutions and policies that underpin modern politics.

Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs

The Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs is an interdisciplinary major for undergraduate students that allows them to explore topics ranging from international environmental studies to international political economy and more.

Master of Arts in Political Science

The Master of Arts in Political Science broadly covers the discipline, in both substance and methodology, teaching students how to conduct sophisticated analyses of political institutions, processes and policies.

Master of Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) develops student familiarity with the social, political and economic environment of public programs and helps advance their managerial skills.

PhD in Political Science

The PhD offers students rigorous advanced academic training in the study of politics and policy. The program provides a strong foundation in research methods and substantive content, and allows our students to develop a program of study that meets their individual interests and career goals. 

Student activities, groups and scholarships

Model United Nations

Model United Nations logoInterested in international politics and affairs? Have you ever wondered how countries negotiate in formal settings? How do they persuade other countries to go along with their proposals? How much informal politicking goes on behind the formal presentations and votes? How effective are they at ameliorating critical problems such as famines and civil war? Find out and learn by participating in the Model UN Club, and by taking our IAFF300 Model United Nations course. Students in the Model UN course have the option of participating in the regional Model UN Conference that takes place late Spring, annually, in San Francisco. Thanks to the generosity of the Judy Nowland & Harry M. Chase, Jr. Scholarship Endowment, we have funds to pay students’ travel expenses.

For more information, contact Nicholas Seltzer.

Pi Sigma Alpha

Pi Sigma Alpha logoPi Sigma Alpha is the national honor society for political science. Founded in 1920 at the University of Texas, its purpose is to stimulate scholarship and intelligent interests in political science. The Delta Xi chapter was established at the University of Nevada, Reno in 1964 and has inducted more than 900 members. Members enjoy the recognition of their achievement, the opportunity to participate in national conferences and leadership opportunities within the organization.

For more information, contact Ian Hartshorn.


Political Science scholarships

Thanks to the generosity of alumni and other donors, the Political Science Department has a number of scholarships specific to Political Science and/or International Affairs majors. Some, such as the Adam Gregory Thomas Legislative Internship Scholarship Endowment, support the Nevada State Legislature Internship program, others, such as the Senator William J. Raggio Free Enterprise Scholarship Endowment, support students’ expenses. There are many more, with support and awards ranging from about $500-$4,500.

Don’t overlook these opportunities!

New student scholarships

Your application to the University is your scholarship application. No further applications are required. Applications received by February 1 are given priority consideration

Continuing student scholarships

If you are a continuing student, to be eligible to be considered for scholarships and awards, you must complete the Graduate & Undergraduate Scholarship (GUS) Application in your MyNEVADA account between October 1 and February 1 annually by going to Student Center, Supplemental Forms, Scholarship Application. The GUS application is available until May 31 but scholarship application preference is given to those that complete by February 1. The GUS application is required to be eligible for scholarships/awards offered by OISS and many other University departments.

Research opportunities for students

We have a number of faculty members engaged in individual and collaborative research efforts, which are widely published by academic presses and in political science journals. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty members in areas of research including American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and public administration and policy.

Internships for experience

Students can earn real-life experience by participating in an internship during their education. The department offers credits for internships and opportunities exist at both the domestic and international policy levels. In addition, internship positions are available in various state‐level campaign offices.

News from the Department of Political Science

Ronald Reagan and Paul Laxalt shaking hands

Paul Laxalt U. S. Senatorial Papers now open, available for research

Collection provides research opportunities for users wanting to understand Laxalt’s former legislative role

Elizabeth Koebele

$1.5 million NSF Grant awarded to political science professor and team

University of Nevada, Reno Assistant Professor Elizabeth Koebele awarded significant National Science Foundation Grant to study urban water systems and water planning with interdisciplinary group

Front of Thompson Building with pillars

Political science department welcomes new chair

Carolyn Warner is the new chair and Vail Pittman Professor of political science