Skip to main content

2014-2015 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

Search Help

Political Science - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section in this catalog.


At GVSU, political science students learn to analyze political phenomena from the perspectives of the four major disciplinary subfields: political theory, American politics, comparative politics, and international relations.

The department offers a wide range of elective courses in each subfield. American politics courses include Congress and the presidency, environmental policy, state politics, American election campaigns, mass media and constitutional law. The department also offers courses in international relations, including human rights, international political economy, and international law. Course offerings in comparative politics include European politics, Chinese politics, African politics and politics of developing areas. Political theory courses include courses in classical, modern, contemporary and U.S. political thought. In almost all cases, classes are small and students receive much individual attention.


In addition to classroom work, students participate in a variety of internship opportunities, including working in local law firms, the Michigan office of U.S. representatives and senators, or in a variety of political offices in Lansing, including the state house and state senate, the Governor's office, state political parties, and legislative research offices. Students also serve as interns for local, national, and international non-profit organizations. Students can earn up to six credits in the intern program. The emphasis of the program is on broadening students' experience and knowledge about politics through a practical involvement that is firmly founded on and tied to strong academic curricula.

A faculty member coordinates the internship program. Students also have the opportunity to perform an internship and learn in Washington D.C. through our GV in DC program, a partnership program with The Washington Center.

GVSU political science and international relations majors have access to GVSU's Laker Jobs site.

To get started, click on the internships link at

For information on the GV in DC program see:

Honors Organizations

Phi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society, was established at the University of Texas in 1920. It is the only national honor society for college and university students of government. There are currently 621 chapters of Pi Sigma Alpha around the United States, including the Kappa Phi chapter at Grand Valley State University.

Initiation into Pi Sigma Alpha is a prestigious award for upper division students who have demonstrated consistent excellence in political science and related majors and minors. Initiation into Pi Sigma Alpha also establishes one's eligibility to participate in Pi Sigma Alpha scholarship and internship grant programs, and to publish research in the Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Journal of Politics. For information about eligibility requirements and campus activities contact Paul J. Cornish, Advisor to the Kappa Phi chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha at (616) 331-3502 or [email protected]

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Political Science

Legal Education Admission Program (LEAP), Political Science

Political Science Minor

Political Science and Law

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.