One degree, many career options

Is a political science degree a wise investment? Absolutely! It will provide you with a deep understanding of politics, government, and international affairs that can lead to countless career opportunities in public service, law, diplomacy, academia, and more.

Explore degree paths
Student speaking at Nevada Legislature

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

Offers an in-depth study of political institutions and policies across five areas including American government and international relations.

Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs

An interdisciplinary major exploring a range of topics from international environmental studies to political economy.

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Secondary Education

Combines political science with secondary education, preparing students for state licensure and teaching certification in social studies.

Minors in Political Science

Minor in political science with options in general, foreign affairs, public administration and policy, American government, and more, including Asian and Latin American studies.

Accelerated Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts in Political Science

A five-year program to earn both B.A. and M.A. degrees in political science or public administration.

Master of Arts in Political Science

Covers the discipline's substance and methodology, focusing on sophisticated political analysis.

Master of Public Administration

Develops understanding of public programs' environments and enhances managerial skills.

Ph.D. in Political Science

Provides advanced study in politics and policy, emphasizing research methods and allowing for personalized study paths.


Political science and international affairs majors offer excellent pre-law training, education and exposure. Our degrees prepare you for the rigorous analytical reasoning and clear, logical, written and oral communication skills you will need for law school, for a career in law, or in a related field.

Find out about pre-law
People sitting in courtroom during trial

Department highlights and announcements

Dr. Elizabeth Koebele wins Emerging Scholar Award

Associate Professor Dr. Elizabeth Koebele has been awarded the 2023 Emerging Scholar award by the American Political Science Association's Science, Technology, and Environmental Politics Section. The award is given in recognition of a researcher, within ten years of their PhD degree, who is making notable contributions to the field of science, technology, and environmental politics.

Two Outstanding Domestic Graduate Student Scholars

Ph.D. students Keely Eshenbaugh (advisor Dr. Ian Hartshorn) and Shannon Hartmann (advisor Dr. Susanne Martin) have been awarded the Outstanding Domestic Graduate Student Scholarship from the UNR Graduate Student Association. Ph.D. student Miskat Jahan (advisor Dr. Jeremy Gelman) has been awarded the Outstanding International Graduate Student Scholarship from the UNR Graduate Student Association.

24 students complete internships at Nevada State Legislature

During the Spring 2023 semester, 24 of our students are interning with the Nevada State Legislature. Assigned to individual legislators, students are getting firsthand experience in the inner workings of the Legislature, and direct experience with the policy process and policy research. They are helping present bills and participate in interactions between legislators and advocates from a variety of interests. The program is supervised by Dr. Amber Joiner, UNR Political Science Ph.D. '18, who herself was a legislative intern and a two-term Nevada State legislator.

Political Science articles in Nevada Today

Headshot of Russell Wald

Gallagher Dialogues explores the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and public policy, Feb. 8

The Guinn Center welcomes Russell Wald, deputy director for the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), for its second annual fundraising event

Lahontan Reservoir Dam in 2014

University awarded nearly $1.8M for collaborative research project to study rural perception of climate change

NSF’s EPSCoR RII Track-2 program funds 11 projects in highly-competitive process

Head shot of Jelena Subotic.

Religious Studies Committee presents Jelena Subotic for Kutten lecture

Departments of Political Science and Gender, Race and Identity collaborate to host guest speaker, Jelena Subotic


Scholarships and funding opportunities

Thanks to the generosity of alumni and other donors, the Department of Political Science 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.

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.

The student experience

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

Political science internships allow students to broaden their exploration of political life by augmenting coursework with real-life experience. Political science internships offer students the opportunity to explore potential careers in the field, network, apply coursework, build their résumé and receive academic credit. Internship opportunities are available at the local, state, national and international levels in various public, non-profit and private organizations.

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 Nicholas Seltzer.