Explore Careers

Picturing a career in law? Global affairs? Business? Government? Activism? The political science major offers career paths that connect to your career goals!

The Prezi below shows you an overview of how our six (6) optional career paths lead you through the program, from introductory to advanced courses and career objectives.

Why Study Political Science?

Read about examples of career paths and actual alumni jobs.

Career Path Certificate of Completion

Political science majors may be awarded up to two (2) career path certificates of completion. We recommend that students mention these certificates of completion on their resume to communicate expertise and career objectives to future employers and graduate schools.


  • Declare political science as your major and pick your career path.
  • Complete the gateway course for your career path.
  • Enroll in upper division courses from the career path course list.
    • Develop skills in 300-level courses.
    • Refine skills in 400-level courses.
  • To receive one (1) career path certificate of completion, a PS major must complete the Gateway course and four (4) upper-division courses from the path.
  • To receive two (2) career path certificates of completion, a PS major must complete the Gateway course and 4 (4) upper-division courses from each of the two (2) career paths. A student may complete ONE (1) upper-division course that appears on both lists, such that there are four (4) upper-division courses from each path and there are at least seven (7) unique upper division courses. In other words, there may be one “double-dip."
  • Courses must be taken for letter grade and passed with C- or better.
  • Check in with an academic advisor to be sure you meet political science major and university requirements along the way. Discuss how you can receive political science credit for an internship and consider working toward graduating with honors.
  • Submit a career path certificate of completion application during your term of graduation by Friday of week 10. The department will review coursework and send email confirmation to applicants within four (4) weeks after the term of graduation. Certificates of completion will not be awarded without submission of the application.

Track Your Progress

The student degree guide will track career path coursework in a section following the political science degree requirements. Once a career path Gateway course has been taken, the degree guide will list upper-division courses for that career path. We hope this will assist students in course selection.

If a student finishes coursework for one (1) path, the degree guide will list that path as complete. If a student has completed coursework for two (2) or more paths, the degree guide will perform an “overlap check” and select the first two (2) paths in which coursework has been completed. These two (2) career paths will be listed on the degree guide. However, students can choose to complete coursework in ANY two career paths that they wish. The department will review coursework based on the student’s selections on the career path certificate of completion application.

Career paths are not indicated on diplomas or transcripts. Career paths are optional and are not required for political science majors. The department does not provide replacements or reprints of certificates.

Email questions polisci@uoregon.edu.

Career Path Certificate of Completion Application

Pick Your Career Path

The guides below will lead you through each path and its related courses. And remember: These paths are road maps, not requirements—you can always go “off road” and define your own path.

Public Policy and Political Action

Interested in a career in local, state, or D.C. government, whether engaged in party politics or working on public policy for local, regional, national, or international agencies? The Public Policy and Political Action career path offers you expertise in governing institutions and political processes, preparing you to make your own contribution to the public good.

Gateway course: PS 201-US Politics

Public Policy and Political Action Course List

Politics, Law, and Justice

Law and the pursuit of justice shape our society and the world in profound ways, and the Politics, Law, and Justice career path gives you the skills to understand and shape the world yourself. Along this path you will learn to protect civil liberties, defend the rights of marginalized interests and groups, and craft or challenge the rules of the political system.

Gateway course: PS 275-Legal Process

Politics, Law and Justice Course List

Politics of Business

Political science prepares you for a career in business by teaching you the fundamentals of political economy and helping you to understand power and authority in organizations of all sorts. This is essential for understanding how politics and culture shape business and economic-policy debates, both in the U.S. and abroad. We’ll also give you the concrete skills you need to succeed: analyzing data, using information to understand and solve problems, debating ideas, and making clear arguments.

Gateway course: PS 210-Politics of Business

Politics of Business Course List

Global Engagement

This career path opens doors to global careers by giving you knowledge of how power and authority work around the world and skills in analyzing data, making clear arguments, and debating ideas. Learn about the dynamics of a region that interests you—Asia? Europe? Latin America? Africa? The Middle East?—and about the broader dynamics of international trade, war, terrorism, human rights and migration, or the environment.

Gateway course: PS 205-Introduction to International Relations

Global Engagement Course List

Sustainability, Development, and Social Action

This career path aims at students looking to analyze and tackle real-world problems for social action, whether as an NGO activist, lobbyist, journalist, or policy analyst in a think tank. It offers you expertise on social issues, from the environment to human rights, poverty, health, or immigration, and the knowledge to formulate and implement innovative ideas. We’ll also give you concrete skills you need to succeed: analyzing data, using information to understand and solve problems, debating ideas, and making clear arguments.

Gateway course: PS 297-Introduction to Environmental Politics

Sustainability, Development, and Social Action Course List

Ethics, Identity, and Society

Are you interested in political, economic, and racial equality?  The Ethics, Identity, and Society path is focused on questions of social justice, political identity, and political philosophy, with courses ranging from the early roots of democratic equality to contemporary debates about political inclusion and economic fairness. This career path will help you develop skills of ethical, historical, and cultural analysis, and to recognize the ideas and presumptions beneath the surface of everyday politics. This is a great path for those who want to study several areas of law, work for national and international NGO’s, serve in analysis or outreach for urban, state, or tribal governments, or take part in public debates about policy.

Gateway course: PS 206 Ethics, Identity, and Society

Ethics, Identity, and Society Course List