Teacher talks at podium in front of lecture hall with projection screen

Explore how governments and institutions shape public life.

The UW Department of Political Science studies the theory and practice of government and politics at all levels, from local to international. We challenge students to evaluate conflicting perspectives on political controversies and explore how mass political behavior influences law and policy. As a political science major, you’ll use social science methods to address complicated issues. Our research centers, writing center and honors program strengthen our students’ research and writing skills. The department’s internationally-recognized faculty conducts cutting-edge research, often in collaboration with graduate students. 

Visit Department Site View Factsheet
Front of UW brick building with grass

Graduate Programs

A UW Political Science student walks outside the State Capitol Building in Olympia, Washington during an internship.
+70% Political Science students who complete an internship.


Students of political science develop skills in critical thinking, communication, research and data analysis that prepare them for a wide variety of careers and leadership roles. Department alumni work in government, nonprofit organizations, law, business, consulting, journalism, education and more. 

Career Paths

UW political science alumni job titles include:

  • State Supreme Court judge
  • Federal prosecutor
  • Legislative analyst  
  • Campaign manager
  • Elected official
  • Political researcher 
  • Data scientist 
  • Government relations manager
  • Advocacy director 
  • Tribal climate liaison 
Rows of books at the Allen Library at the University of Washington.

Experience what you study.

UW political science majors have many internship opportunities, with placements available in congressional offices; political campaigns; local, state and federal government; corporations; nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations; and more. We have a longstanding relationship with the Washington State Legislative Internship Program and the Washington Center Internship Program in Washington, D.C. You can earn academic credit for your internship by connecting your experience to your coursework. 

More About Internships

Find Yourself in Political Science

Evaluate systems of power and governance. Pursue academic inquiry that promotes participation in the political process.

Department of Political Science Stories

Tiana Cole + Brad Blackburn III seated behind a microphone.

Mentorship for Black Professionals, Earbuds Not Included

Identity Unboxed, a podcast created by alums Tiana Cole and Brad Blackburn III, explores the experiences of Black professionals in the Seattle area.

Alex Minami with Seattle Opera sign on the wall behind him

Building Connections Through Opera

Lokela Alexander Minami (BA, 2010; MA, 2012) turned a lifelong passion for opera into a career that introduces others to the art form.

Ghanaians waiting in line to vote.

Voting in Emerging Democracies, Despite the Challenges

Political Science professor James Long studies why many voters choose to participate in elections in emerging democracies despite the considerable personal cost.