Undergraduate Program

The Politics Department at UCSC encourages students to study political life broadly conceived-whether that be the institutions of government, or other structures of power relations. Our courses take up issues central to public life, such as democracy, power, freedom, political economy, social movements, and institutional reforms. We emphasize the study of institutionalized inequalities, whether those institutions be governmental, philosophical, or economic. We link the study of domestic politics to international politics and bring theoretical concerns to bear on the current and recurrent issues that mark the modern polity.

The most significant purpose of the politics major is to help educate a reflective and activist citizenry capable of sharing power and responsibility in a contemporary democracy. The curriculum supports this goal first by developing students' skills in comprehending and engaging complex arguments and phenomena. Second, the program emphasizes students' development of skills in articulating clear, sound, and compelling arguments of their own, based on appropriate evidence, in spoken and written presentation.

Therefore, a major in Politics is an appropriate background for students interested in careers in law, journalism, teaching, in political and governmental work from local to international settings, and in corporations dealing with global issues. Many UCSC politics graduates have gone on to do advanced work in distinguished graduate and professional schools. Others have found active and challenging careers in business and community organizing. Still others have turned to scholarship or other careers involving research or writing. We are collecting career-related resources here.

Many upper-division Politics courses can serve as important supplements to the work of students majoring in other disciplines of the social sciences and humanities.

No specific courses at the high school level are required for admission to the major in politics at UCSC. Courses in history, literature, philosophy, and the social sciences, whether taken at the high school or at the college level, are appropriate background and preparation for the Politics major.