Political Science degrees

Why study political science?

Through studying Political Science or International Affairs you learn how collective and authoritative decisions are made — and how you can have a role in them — impacting all the arenas of your life and the lives and communities of others. You'll develop the critical thinking, analytic, writing, and intentional communication skills needed to examine the forces that shape our world. These skills and knowledge open the doors to careers in the public sector, private industry, law, politics, education and more. Our highly flexible majors allow you to personalize your electives from an array of specialized areas; you may also combine your Political Science or International Affairs major with an additional major or minor to help customize your training to fit your career goals.

Political Science isn’t just the study of “how a bill becomes a law;” it’s the study of why a bill becomes a law, the study of drug trafficking, of political violence, voting behavior, dictatorships, the military and politics, the bases of political authority, identity politics, tribal government, cybersecurity, public personnel management, what constitutes justice, why are some countries well-off and others are not, among many topics. You’ll have the opportunity to learn in depth about particular areas of the world, if you wish.

With International Affairs, you can learn about international security, but you can also learn about almost anything from global environmental policy to international trade to multiculturalism in Spanish film and literature. Working with our faculty mentor, you customize your program of study to maximize your training and knowledge in fields that address your areas of interest and your career goals. We offer undergraduate research opportunities with faculty, a dynamic Model United Nations course, and multiple internship options, including with the Nevada State Legislature.

The Department of Political Science offers a Master's in Political Science, a Master’s of Public Administration, as well as a doctoral degree in Political Science designed to provide students with the critical thinking and communication skills that prepare them for challenging and rewarding careers in some of the most in-demand fields.

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  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

    Political science is the study of power—who wields it and to what end. Political science majors study how governments interact with individuals or other governments and examine the results of those interactions.

  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Secondary Education

    The Bachelor of Arts with majors in Secondary Education and Political Science provides students with a broad background in political science and allow students to take all the necessary courses to meet state licensure to teach social studies, together with secondary teaching certification. Students who successfully complete the program are prepared to pursue secondary school teaching, graduate school, or an immediate career in a professional field.

  • Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs

    The International Affairs Program is an interdisciplinary major for undergraduate students, as well as a venue for various community outreach projects. Areas of study and the departments offering courses for International Affairs students include economics, geography, history, political science, foreign languages and cultures.

  • Political Science Minor

    Students who choose to minor in political science can choose to study from four interest subjects: general, foreign affairs, public administration and public policy, and American government.

  • Asian Studies Minor

    A minor in Asian Studies is offered through the College of Liberal Arts and is coordinated by the International Affairs program. It is supported by Chinese and Japanese language instruction on campus and by Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai language instruction available through the University of Nevada, Reno's University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) programs in China, Japan, Korea and Thailand.

  • Latin American Studies Minor

    An undergraduate minor in Latin American Studies is offered through the College of Liberal Arts and coordinated by the International Affairs Program. It includes study of Spanish beyond the minimum college requirement and integrates regional courses taught through six cooperating departments and programs. It also takes advantage of established University Studies Abroad Consortium programs in Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Spain.

  • Renewable Energy Minor

    The renewable energy minor provides students with the technical skills, economic and political background, and analysis and design skills needed to apply the knowledge gained in their major to the nationally important issues of alternative and renewable energy.

  • Accelerated Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts in Political Science

    The Accelerated B.A./M.A. combination degree option allows undergraduate students to pursue coursework to complete their Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts political science degrees in five years. The program culminates in either a thesis or non-thesis M.A. degree suitable for students pursuing careers in public service, public administration, nongovernmental organizations or further study in a doctoral program outside the University of Nevada, Reno.

  • Master of Arts in Political Science

    The Master of Arts in political science offers students an opportunity for advanced, specialized courses in the discipline of political science, leading to a graduate degree. It also prepares for a career in teaching, politics, public service and government or to complement their present careers.

  • Master of Public Administration

    The Master of Public Administration program prepares students for careers in public administration and policy analysis while improving managerial competence of persons presently in public service through the advanced study of administrative processes and problems, and through an increased understanding of policy issues and research skills.

  • Ph.D. in Political Science

    The strength of the Ph.D. program in political science lies in its small size and the diversity of its faculty. Students accepted into the doctoral program are expected to have a major and minor field in the areas the department offers as specializations, which include: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, public administration, or public policy.