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Department of Political Science

Why Political Science at URI?

Top 5 Reasons to Major in Political Science at URI

1. The Right Major for the Times

As Political Science students you will learn that seemingly diverse fields must combine their respective insights to find solutions to our greatest challenges. By understanding the interconnected nature of economic systems, international organizations, cultural norms, and political institutions our students develop the tools to effectively navigate the complex maze of challenges facing the world in the 21st century. Increasingly, pundits, political leaders, and scientists recognize that to solve the world's big problems it is not enough to simply promote advances in one narrow field such as biology, engineering or finance. Indeed, many of the key innovations needed to solve our greatest challenges already exist; the barriers to success are often political, not technical.

2. Study with Dedicated and Distinguished Faculty

Our faculty are widely recognized as top scholars, outstanding teachers, and community leaders. URI has acknowledged the teaching excellence of multiple Political Science faculty with URI's most prestigious teaching award. Our faculty have received national awards from the American Political Science Association identifying their research as among the best scholarship produced in the United States. In addition, faculty contributions reach well beyond the walls of URI, with our faculty regularly appearing on NPR and PBS, consulting for the World Bank, writing for CBS News on Election-Night, administrating mentor programs for Rhode Island's elementary and middle school students, chairing state-wide environmental committees, and leading overseas undergraduate learning programs.

The research interests of the faculty are remarkably diverse, and include such topics as political tolerance, environmental regimes and regulations, resource extraction and conflict, classical political philosophy, the economic consequences of remittances, the possibility of statehood for U.S. territories, the impact of new information technologies on political campaigns, post-Cold War Russian relations, the role of emotions in political decision making, and the similarities and differences between the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Given the breadth of these concerns, the Political Science Department employs both social-scientific and humanistic methods of inquiry and regularly holds out of class research workshops open to all students.

Political Science faculty seek to maximize the educational experiences of their student. Students are encouraged to visit their Political Science professors frequently. For information about office hours and contact information visit our faculty pages on this website or drop by our Washburn Hall office for more information (206).

3. Preparation for Advanced Academic Study

Majoring in Political Science at URI serves as excellent preparation for graduate school. Political Science continues to be the most popular undergraduate major for students pursuing a degree in law. URI Political Science majors also frequently pursue a variety of other graduate degrees in both academic (e.g. PhD in Political Science) and applied fields (e.g. Masters in Public Administration). Our curriculum, with a focus on building advanced research skills, gives our students a comparative advantage over students from other programs. We also provide first-rate advising. We have a pre-law center and pre-law advisor within the Political Science Department and we offer open workshops that specifically help our majors prepare and apply to graduate school.

Common Post-Graduate Studies

  • Political Science
  • MSR (Masters in Survey Research)
  • Law
  • Journalism
  • Public Administration
  • Policy Administration
  • Business Management
  • Social Work
  • Urban Planning

4. Experiential Learning

Political Science majors have ample opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. In fact, unlike most majors, experiential learning is a required part of our undergraduate curriculum. Every 300-level Political Science class includes the immediate application of the classroom knowledge to the outside world. Not only does this experiential learning make for a more exciting educational experience, the skills developed directly translate into post-URI educational and employment activities.

We also offer a number of internships, including but not limited to Rhode Island's legislative and governor's offices, the Naval War College, Law firm, DA, and Public Defender's offices, K-8 schools throughout RI, and in various outlets in Washington, DC. Many of the internship opportunities help gain practical experience that employers desire when hiring college graduates. As important, internships establish a network of professional contacts, outside mentors and potential advocates for after graduation. Many of our students are interested in international politics and we strongly encourage our students to study abroad in one of the many study abroad opportunities available at URI.

5. Skill Development for your Career(s)

Adaptors will rule the 21st century. Today, college students can anticipate changing jobs many times throughout their lifetimes and probably even have more than one profession. An undergraduate education in Political Science prepares you for flexibility in employment, as the major will help you develop your reading, writing, research, presentation, and analytic skills. These skills will not become obsolete. Think of it this way: training in political science does not prepare you for a specific job that may not be in demand in a decade but will give you skills that you can use in almost any job.

A recent report from CNN shows that recent graduates with a degree in Political Science earn nearly $10,000 more per year on average compared to other recent graduates majoring in Communications, Journalism, History, English, and Psychology. See the CNN report here:

Common Career Paths

  • Law
  • Business and Finance
  • Journalism and Communications
  • Research
  • Federal Government and Politics
  • State or Local Government and Politics
  • Interest Groups and Community Organizations
  • International Organizations and Foreign Service
  • Campaign Management and Political Polling
  • Teaching
  • Personnel Management

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