- <a href="/live/image/gid/80/width/650/86527_Political_Science_main_image_2.jpg" class="lw_preview_image lw_disable_preview" tabindex="-1"><picture class="lw_image lw_image86527"> <source type="image/jpeg" media="(max-width: 500px)" srcset="/live/image/gid/80/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86527_Political_Science_main_image_2.rev.1607735197.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/80/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86527_Political_Science_main_image_2.rev.1607735197.jpg 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" media="(min-width: 501px)" srcset="/live/image/gid/80/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86527_Political_Science_main_image_2.rev.1607735197.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/80/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86527_Political_Science_main_image_2.rev.1607735197.jpg" alt="Political Science students meeting with professor Ben Gaskins. " width="720" height="690" data-max-w="1104" data-max-h="1058" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a><div class="hero-split_image_caption collapsable-caption"> Political Science students meeting with professor Ben Gaskins. </div>
Political science is the study of political values, institutions, processes, and policies. We believe in a hands-on approach to this study, and our goal is to use foundational and contemporary political theories to hone your skills in critical and analytical thinking, quantitative assessment, writing, and speaking—all excellent preparation for a career or graduate study.
Why Choose a Degree in Political Science?
Our classes are small, which allows for significant student-faculty interaction. At Lewis & Clark, political science is an independent department, which means you have a broader, deeper range of courses and resources available to you.You can also specialize, if you like, in the study of American politics, comparative politics, public law, or political theory.
What You’ll Study
Our program offers a major and minor. The study of political science questions power, authority, social values, and political manipulation—the ways that societies determine their collective priorities and attempt to bring them into being. In our rigorous but supportive courses, you will investigate questions such as: How do democracies become authoritarian regimes? How does religiosity mediate political belief? Is there a constitutional right to privacy? What are the moral responsibilities of citizens in a democracy? How can we best understand and construct public policy? The department is organized into four major fields of study: American government and institutions, comparative politics, political theory, and public law. Other subfields—methodology, public policy, and political economy—intersect with these main areas and provide avenues for more focused and advanced specialization.
We believe in collaborating with students on research projects—whether through classes during the academic year, a paid humanities research summer program, or both—and helping them find and secure internships in Portland and beyond. Many of our students earn course credit while on an overseas program.
Outside the classroom, we host an annual political science Pictionary party, as well as presidential debate and election night watch parties. We also throw the best senior barbecue of any department at Lewis & Clark—or any political science department in the country (if you ask us)—with plenty of steak, salmon, and veggies.
Complement Your Education With One of These Minors
What Students Are Saying About Lewis & Clark
What Can You Do With a Degree in Political Science?
Our alumni use their BA in political science to pursue a wide range of careers in politics, law, education, journalism, business, and finance, among other fields. Some of our alumni have been awarded the competitive Rhodes Scholarship, and many go on to pursue advanced degrees.
Our expert professors are your expert mentors. You will learn directly from faculty (no graduate assistants here!) that are nationally recognized in their fields of study and who love to work with and learn from their students. Your professors will inspire you to be a thoughtful and passionate participant in a diverse world. Your small classes will support you as you explore new ideas, find your voice, and speak your truth.
Lewis & Clark College has a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1.
of our students are from countries other than the U.S.
Invest in Yourself
A private liberal arts education is often more affordable than you think. Last year, Lewis & Clark distributed over $74 million in assistance from institutional, federal, state, and private sources. Additionally, we’re so confident that our first-year students will graduate with their bachelor of arts degree in four years that if you don’t, we’ll cover the extra semester of tuition.
Find Your People
Students can join a variety of student-run organizations that relate to their political science major. Don’t see what you’re looking for on the club list? Start something new and build your own community of peers!
Where Lewis & Clark Will Take You
- Rosemary Elliott Political Science & Psychology BA ’19More about Rosemary
Lewis & Clark taught me that I’m always learning and changing, and to not be afraid of that change.