Political Science MAJOR

You are passionate about engaging with the big challenges that societies and governments face. You are open minded, curious and able to think about issues from multiple perspectives. Study here and learn about the role that politics play in resolving conflict and making collective decisions in society.

Political scientists study important societal trends, including rising distrust in traditional democratic institutions and a turn towards authoritarianism; an increase in nationalist movements and a peak in globalizing forces; and changes to public discourse and debate in the internet age, often referred to as a post-truth and post-rational era. Political scientists study a diverse and often complex range of issues, from climate change and energy transitions to global terrorism, international and local inequality and pandemics.

As a political science major, you learn to understand and assess the power dynamics and interests shaping important global issues. You develop independent analytical thinking and communication skills while acquiring foundational knowledge that is necessary to conduct intelligent political analysis. Guided by dedicated faculty and supported by experiential learning opportunities, you leave the program prepared for a career in law, diplomacy, public policy, non-governmental sector management, journalism and more.

Career Ideas

What to expect

As a first-year student, your learning is primarily instructor directed and focuses on understanding the nature of politics and government. You learn about the concepts, theories, systems and actors that are crucial to the discipline of political science, and you develop the capacity to reflect on the broader relationship between the individual, the state and society. In these foundational courses, you begin to sharpen your critical thinking, research and communication skills.

In the second year of the program, you are introduced to the sub-fields of political science: international relations, comparative politics, Canadian government, political philosophy and public policy and administration. You take part in debates, discussions and team-oriented academic activities, learning to make arguments and to express your ideas clearly to a wide range of audiences.

In your third year and fourth year, you play a more active role in your learning through dynamic classes that use a question-and-answer approach to learning. You develop more in-depth knowledge within each of the sub-fields. Seminar classes are optional in the third year, but are a key facet of fourth-year courses. In your final year, you undertake major independent research under the guidance of a supervisor. At this level, you should be comfortable with in-class presentations and demonstrate a sharp understanding of the major theories and issues for higher-level political science courses.

By the end of the program, you understand that politics is about more than just political leaders, parties and elections. It is a discipline that helps explain how society interacts and governs itself and can help explain individual and group dynamics. You are able to raise the level of public debate and discourse in our democracy beyond what exists in the media and delivered by politicians.

Courses and requirements

This major is open to students in the Bachelor of Arts. Courses for your major are only one component of the degree requirements you need to graduate. You must complete the courses and requirements outlined in the academic calendar for the year you declare your major/minor or the year you are accepted into an honours program.

Courses & Requirements
Check the academic calendar to find the courses you need to take and the requirements you must fulfill to complete your program.
Academic Calendar
Declare your major/minor

Academic advisors in the Faculty of Arts and Science have prepared resources to help you understand how your major/minor fits within overall degree coursework. Consult the academic planning information to choose and enrol in courses and complete the major/minor declaration process.