Don't just change the policy, change the system.

The Politics Brochure

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Citizens who think critically and are engaged in governance are necessary for a viable and functioning democracy. Simply voting is not enough. At UC Santa Cruz, we focus on how
to enable a more just, more inclusive, and more equitable society. We focus on how and why policies are created and sustained. We equip students to ask the big questions,
examine the bases of complex and entrenched policy structures, and take action towards tangible change


We pursue research and teaching that addresses large-scale social problems. Our work both explains and exposes the origins of unjust policies and issues such as social inequity, poverty, or corruption and identifies paths to improve them. Our conception of “political” is much broader than traditional political science departments. Our work encompasses:

Politics by the numbers

• 3,929 students enrolled in politics classes
• 391 undergraduate majors
• 44% of majors are first-generation college students
• 31 Ph.D. students
• 19 faculty
• 10 teaching awards since 2000
• 69 students sent to Washington, D.C. as interns annually

• Subnational, local, and urban politics

• Social movements

• Global security issues, including defense and migration

• Environmental politics

• Public policy, including social policy and defense policy

• Politics of economic development

• Politics and history


In order to increase our visibility, recognition, and impact, we are focused on these specific goals:

• Support student fieldwork
To fully understand how politics is conducted, students need to be exposed to political venues such as University of California’s program in Washington D.C. and other field-based internships.

• Create an endowment to fund faculty and graduate student research
In a time of decreasing funding, it is essential that both faculty and students have the opportunity and the necessary time to conduct their research.

• Initiate practical intervention research
We believe in creating positive change. That’s why we want to focus on initiating policy-shaping research locally, nationally, and globally.

• Enhance the Ph.D. program
Greater financial support for students will attract highly qualified applicants and enable students to progress more quickly through the program.

• Attract funding for the proposed John H. Schaar Endowed Chair in Politics
The appointment of a nationally known scholar to this chair, or another endowed chair in politics, will enhance the reputation and visibility of the department.

“All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.”


Politics makes the world go ‘round—but not without an educated and engaged citizenry. A gift to fund the activities and needs of the UC Santa Cruz Politics Department will help ensure the future of our department, our university, and our country.

Your gift makes all the difference.