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Major Maps

Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success

Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
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2021-2022

Political Science

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
Civil Rights, Comparative Politics, Human Security, International Relations, Political Theory and Methodology, Politics and Government, Public Policy and Administration, U.S. Government
Program description

Political science is the systematic study of institutions, behavior and ideas in order to further our understanding and explanation of government and politics at the local, state, national and international levels. The discipline has a rich history that bridges the present with the past and future, is pluralistic in its modes of inquiry and adopts a critical approach that makes use of qualitative and quantitative analytic methods.


The Department of Political Science uses its unique position on an urban campus located in the state capital and just a short distance from Washington, D.C. to provide our students with transformative learning experiences that promote active and engaged citizenship, domestically and globally. We integrate our teaching with cutting-edge scholarship that advances the boundaries of the discipline and meaningfully impacts public debate and policy.

Career opportunities

A bachelor’s degree in political science can lead to exciting careers in federal, state and local governments; law; business; international organizations; nonprofit associations and organizations; campaign management and polling; journalism; precollegiate education; electoral politics; research; and university- and college-level teaching.

Change of major requirements

There are no specific requirements to declare, but it is highly recommended that students speak with a political science advisor by emailing poliadvisor@vcu.edu before or soon after the major is declared.


Bachelor-level job titles
  • Compliance officer
  • Equal opportunity representative
  • Fundraiser
  • Insurance adjuster, examiner and investigator
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Legislator
  • Municipal clerk
  • Paralegal and legal assistant
  • Risk management specialist
  • Staff and legislative assistant
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • Attorney
  • Diplomat
  • Government Agency Administrator
  • Policy Advisor
Highest level of math required
  • Quantitative Foundations requirement only
Science required
  • Natural Sciences requirement only
Foreign language requirements
  • Yes
Additional tuition/fees
  • No
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0+ cumulative GPA, 2.0+ major GPA
Department name:
Department of Political Science
Building/room location:
Founders Hall, 827 West Franklin Street, Room 301
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
Email:
poliadvisor@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon [View Image]
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Get to know your political science librarian for research and papers in upper level political science classes.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Build academic and transferable skills in time-management, writing, and more at the Campus Learning Center.
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Familiarize yourself with internship opportunities by requesting information from the political science department's internship director.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Consider joining the Pre-Law Society at VCU.
  • Start conversations with faculty about areas of interest, collecting their insights, recommendations, and resources.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Talk to your political science advisor about how best to utilize open electives.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Finish general education and language requirements while starting to take more upper level electives and major courses.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Meet with your education abroad advisor and study abroad if you can.
  • Take courses in political science (and other departments) that expand your understanding of other cultures and ask your professors and advisors to help you identify suitable courses.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Continue conversations with faculty about your interests and build relationships with professors who could write letters of recommendation for graduate school and job applications.
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Complete your senior capstone, POLI 490 Senior Seminar.
  • Meet with your political science advisor to learn whether you already have enough credits that put you close to completing a minor that would complement your political science major.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Get involved with VCU’s Model UN group.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy eight months before graduation.
  • Talk to your professors about life after college and, if you plan to request letters of recommendation, give at least two weeks’ notice before the application deadline.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon [View Image]
2021-2022

Political Science

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
Civil Rights, Comparative Politics, Human Security, International Relations, Political Theory and Methodology, Politics and Government, Public Policy and Administration, U.S. Government
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNINGGET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITYBUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCEGET REAL EXPERIENCEPREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
ExploreYear 1
ExperienceYear 2
  • Get to know your political science librarian for research and papers in upper level political science classes.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
  • Build academic and transferable skills in time-management, writing, and more at the Campus Learning Center.
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Familiarize yourself with internship opportunities by requesting information from the political science department's internship director.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Consider joining the Pre-Law Society at VCU.
  • Start conversations with faculty about areas of interest, collecting their insights, recommendations, and resources.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
Year 3
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Talk to your political science advisor about how best to utilize open electives.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Finish general education and language requirements while starting to take more upper level electives and major courses.
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Meet with your education abroad advisor and study abroad if you can.
  • Take courses in political science (and other departments) that expand your understanding of other cultures and ask your professors and advisors to help you identify suitable courses.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
  • Continue conversations with faculty about your interests and build relationships with professors who could write letters of recommendation for graduate school and job applications.
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
ExcelYear 4
  • Complete your senior capstone, POLI 490 Senior Seminar.
  • Meet with your political science advisor to learn whether you already have enough credits that put you close to completing a minor that would complement your political science major.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Get involved with VCU’s Model UN group.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy eight months before graduation.
  • Talk to your professors about life after college and, if you plan to request letters of recommendation, give at least two weeks’ notice before the application deadline.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
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