• <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>

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

The most popular minors for our political science majors are economics, environmental studies, and rhetoric and media studies.

What Students Are Saying About Lewis & Clark

  • When I decided on a career in law, Lewis & Clark was the perfect fit for me, not only because it’s close to home but because of the outstanding political science department.

    Ashtyn Aponte BA ’26
    Political Science | Milwaukie, Oregon
    More about Ashtyn
  • Being a psychology major is something that I knew I wanted to major in from the start, and it remained this way as I’ve continued through L&C.

    Savannah Bishop BA ’25
    Psychology | Political Science | Portland and Bend, Oregon; Budapest, Hungary; Accra, Ghana
    More about Savannah
  • I am endlessly grateful for the opportunities that the political science department has provided to its students.

    Madeleine MacWilliamson BA ’24
    Political Science | Data Science | Campbell, California
    More about Madeleine

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.

Dedicated Faculty

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.

Meet the Professors

  • 125 

    of our undergraduate students are Third Culture Kids.

  • 96% 

    Within six months of graduation, 96% of the Lewis & Clark Classes of 2018–2022 were already changing the world through employment (76%), continuing studies (19%), and service work (1%), like the Peace Corps.

  • Top 

    For the seventh time in 10 years, Lewis & Clark has been named a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Top Producing Institution for 2023–24.

  • Top 100 

    Lewis & Clark is in the top 100 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2023–24 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” list.

  • 2,188 

    As of fall 2022, there are 2,188 degree-seeking students enrolled at Lewis & Clark College.

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

More News and Events →