Department of Political Science
University at Buffalo, SUNY
520 Park Hall (North Campus)
Buffalo, New York 14260

Phone: 716-645-2252
Fax: 716-645-2166

Professor Jacob Neiheisel, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Email: jacobnei@buffalo.edu

Pamela Menshel, Undergraduate Coordinator, Email: pamela@buffalo.edu

CAS Student Advisement Services: 275 Park Hall   Phone:   (716)645-6883
Darren Portis: deportis@buffalo.edu

Mike Kustreba: mpk22@buffalo.edu

Our Undergraduate Program

Two key components of the Department of Political Science’s mission is to provide undergraduate political science majors with both a broad and deep understanding of government and politics as well as the analytical skills by which this knowledge is acquired and the communication skills necessary to convey it to others, and to offer both introductory and advanced political science courses that are enlightening to undergraduate students in other majors.

By clicking on the titles on the left panel of this page you may learn about the requirements for a major or minor in Political Science, the courses being offered in the Department, how to obtain advising in the Department, and various other services and opportunities for political science undergraduate students–from internship and independent study possibilities to awards and honor programs.

Why Major in Political Science?

Aside from the Fact that the Subject of Politics is Important and Interesting–

The Political Science Major is a Good Investment*

A frequently asked question at major and career fairs by students and their parents is “What do I do with a political science major?” The question is often suggests a skepticism of the practicality and value of a social science major, and particularly a political science major. In many respects, this perspective reflects a misunderstanding of what political science is about.

Political scientists are primarily concerned with generating and testing generalizable theories about human interactions, specifically in the political arena. Because of this, much of what students learn in political science is a variety of methods for understanding human behavior, theorizing about it, rigorously analyzing data, and speaking and writing about these ideas clearly and concisely. This develops important analytical skills useful in a variety of diverse career paths. Political Science Majors have gone to work for polling firms in DC, national and local elected officials, and large companies like Microsoft. Recent graduates have gone to pursue doctoral study at places like Oxford and University of California, San Diego, as well as Master’s study at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

To offer some hard data about the tangible worth of the Political Science Major, PayScale.com released data on the average earning potential of recent college graduates. Political Science majors make on average $39,900 as a starting wage just out of college and an average $80,100 by mid-career. This places Political Science as the major with the second highest earning potential among the social sciences, only behind Economics. The mid-career number puts Political Science in the top 30% of all majors in terms of earning potential, including the 14 majors in PayScale’s data that include the word “engineering.” The cohort of majors that Political Science majors have similar mid-career earning potential to (+/- $2000) includes Mechanical Engineering Technology, Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Film Production, Biotechnology, Occupational Health and Safety, Information Technology, and Industrial Technology.

Careers In Political Science**

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 teaching. Political science majors gain analytical skills, administrative competence and communication abilities that are valued in a wide spectrum of potential career areas.

Examples of Careers for Political Scientists

The following are small sample of careers for political scientists.  For more on the career potential for those with degrees in political science, check out the career booklets and pamphlets available from APSA.

Activist, Advocate/Community Organizer
Administration, Corporate, Government, Non-Profit, etc.
Archivist, Online Political Data
Banking Analyst or Executive
Budget Examiner or Analyst
Campaign Operative
Career Counselor
CIA Analyst or Agent, Intelligence Officer
City Planner
City Housing Administrator
College or University Administrator
College or University Professor
Congressional Office/Committee Staffer/Legislative Analyst
Coordinator of Federal or State Aid
Communications Director
Corporate Analyst/Corporate Economist
Corporate Public Affairs Advisor
Corporate Manager
Corporate Information Analyst
Corporate Adviser for Governmental Relations
Corporate Executive
Corporation Legislative Issues Manager
Customs Officer
Editor, Online Political Journal
Federal Government Analyst
Foreign Service Officer
Foundation Program Officer or President
Free-lance writer
High School Government Teacher
Immigration Officer
Information Manager
International Agency Officer
International Research Specialist
Issues Analyst, Corporate Social Policy Div.
Journalist/Political Commentator
Juvenile Justice Specialist
Labor Relations Specialist
Management Analyst
Plans and Review Officer, USIA
Policy Analyst
Pollster/ Public Opinion Analyst/Survey Analyst
Public Affairs Research Analyst
Research Analyst
State Legislator
Systems Analyst
Urban Policy Planner

* adapted from Professor Josh Dyck’s personal website.

**from the American Political Science Association’s website

Careers In Political Science.

Summer Courses

As part of the College of Arts and Sciences expansion of UB’s summer program, the Department has increased its summer course offerings. This provides students with the chance to accelerate through the program or to take an extra course in which they are especially interested. It also offers non-traditional students more choices of topics and times to find a course of interest offered at a more convenient time. Find out more about UB’s expanded Summer Program.

The courses are intensive six week classes and many are offered in the evening. The courses are offered in two sessions. The first extends from late May through late June and the second is from early July to mid-August.

More information will be posted about the Summer offerings as the information becomes available.