Political Science

Acting Chair: Dr. Susan Needham
Department Office: SBS G322
Department Phone: (310) 243-3435
Advising: (310) 243-3435

U.S. Constitution Exam for Credential Students (Teaching Credential Students only)

Exam for Meeting the U.S. Constitution and California State and Local Government General Education Requirements (POL 101 Challenge Exam)

Program Description

The Political Science Program at CSU Dominguez Hills offers excellent opportunities for the study of government and politics.

Over 30 courses cover all the major aspects of the discipline. Students develop an understanding of human behavior as it relates to politics. They learn to discuss and analyze critically current public policy issues facing the United States and the world. They are taught how to critically observe and understand world affairs and comparative politics. They are trained in appropriate research techniques for the study of political processes.

The General Political Science Concentration is a relatively "open" one, allowing students to choose from a wide range of courses and subjects within a general framework. It is designed for students seeking broad exposure to the diverse subjects of the discipline. 

A five-course minor in political science also is available. While the minor most often is used in conjunction with such majors as communications, human services, history, economics and sociology, it can be paired with almost any major offered at this university.

Features

The political science faculty is an interesting and diverse group of scholars actively involved in their own research projects. Most have traveled extensively in this country and abroad.

Political science internships are available. One opportunity at the state level is the Sacramento Semester Program, which brings students from all 23 California State University campuses to Sacramento for one semester to take advantage of a unique learning experience at the State capital. Another is The Washington Center program in the nation's capital. Through the International Education Center, students can participate in study abroad programs.

The Department of Political Science is classified as an "Engaged Department" for outstanding work in the community.  This classification is granted by the campus office of community engagement (Center for Service Learning, Internships and Civic Engagement).

The department offers annually the Lori Cardenas Memorial Scholarship and Michael O'Hara Memorial Scholarship to outstanding students majoring in political science, sponsors the active Association of Political Science Students, and participates in Model United Nations conferences.

Students who work during the day should know that class scheduling permits completion of a political science major in the late afternoon and evening hours.

Academic Advisement

Political Science faculty recommend that new and continuing students visit the department for information regarding graduation requirements, transfer of credit, program planning, lifting of academic holds, and graduation approval. Student records and graduation change of major, add/drop, and other forms are kept in the department office.

Students needing assistance for more specialized interests should see specific faculty members for supplementary academic advising. For pre-law preparation contact Salvatore Russo; for internship opportunities, see Hamoud Salhi; for American politics see Jay Kaplan, Salvatore Russo or Annie Whetmore, and for international and comparative politics see Hamoud Salhi.

Preparation

High school students are encouraged to take English composition and social science courses, including civics, economics and history. Experience in journalism, debating activities and student government are helpful. A foreign language is not required for the degree. However, students who plan further study at the graduate level are encouraged to take a foreign language.

Community college transfer students should contact their counseling office or the CSU Dominguez Hills Political Science office to identify appropriate lower division major/minor preparatory courses. Typically, these would include a basic course in American political institutions, which would fulfill the state code requirements for U.S. Constitution and California state and local government. Transfer students must take POL 300 (Quantitative Methods of Political Analysis) at CSUDH as community colleges do not offer an equivalent course. Other lower division courses introducing students to the discipline of political science, international relations and comparative politics also are highly recommended.

Students at CSU Dominguez Hills should complete both POL 100 and 101 as a preparation for the major.

Career Planning

Graduates with Political Science majors or minors from CSUDH have pursued a broad variety of careers. These include teaching, law, law enforcement, public administration, business, journalism, and international service. CSUDH graduates, including those with advanced graduate and law degrees, are employed as attorneys, public administrators, business executives, and teachers in schools and universities. Others work as labor union officials and a few have been elected to public office. Graduates from our program are employed both within and outside the United States .

The best undergraduate education for all careers develop critical thinking, communication and research skills. Course work and extra-curricular activities such as participation in Model United Nations conferences, writing for the campus newspaper and experiential internships will improve these skills. Some professions require graduate or law school training after the Bachelor's degree. Faculty advisers in the department will help you select the courses and an academic program most appropriate for your career goals. They also will explain interesting extra-curricular opportunities supported by the department.

Teaching:

An undergraduate degree in Political Science is recommended for entrance to graduate school in Political Science, with the doctorate essential for teaching at the four-year college or university level. Students may prepare for a career in teaching History/Social Science at the secondary level (junior high or high school) by completing an approved "Subject Matter Preparation Program." Completion of such a program is the first step in meeting the state requirements for a teaching credential. As the program requirements for the "Subject Matter Preparation Program" in Social Science have changed recently, interested students should contact the History Department for current information.

Law:

Many Political Science majors intend to practice law as a career. We advise pre-law students to select the General Political Science Concentration and work closely with a pre-law adviser who will explain law school undergraduate preparation, entrance requirements, school choice and career possibilities.

Public Administration:

A major in Political Science with a public administration or public policy emphasis can prepare students for civil service careers at international, national, and local levels of government. These careers require both specialized skills and a general understanding of political processes. The General Political Science Concentration, internship experience and possibly graduate training are recommended for those interested in public administration.

Journalism:

A Political Science major can prepare students for an attractive career in journalism. The General concentration along with practical experience working on the university newspaper is highly recommended.

Business:

Many Political Science graduates have found employment in business. Preparation for this career involves a broad liberal arts background, combined with knowledge of governmental processes and organization, public administration, finance, decision-making, organizational behavior and the processes by which political decisions are made about economic policy. Political Science majors interested in business should consider selecting a business minor.

Other:

Enterprising individuals can use their Political Science degree to pursue a variety of interests in the field of politics. These include international and foreign service as well as political campaign management, speech writing, survey research, policy research, public relations, lobbying, fund raising and so forth. Opportunities result from the initiative of the individual, proper skill development and academic advising. All students should make a regular habit of discussing their academic and career plans with faculty advisers and fellow students including members of the Association of Political Science Students. The Association maintains a small library of materials on career and internship opportunities, law and graduate school catalogs and courses texts.

Graduation With Honors

An undergraduate student may be a candidate for graduation with Honors in Political Science provided the student meets the following criteria:

1.    A minimum of 36 units in residence at CSU Dominguez Hills;
2.    A minimum grade point average of at least 3.5 in all courses used to satisfy the upper division requirements in the major;
3.    Recommendation by the faculty of the Political Science Department.