Following UC Davis campus COVID protocols, all instruction for Summer Session 2021 will be remote.  In-person instruction will return for Fall Quarter 2021.  The department’s administrative functions have moved to remote work conditions until further notice.  At this time, the preferred method of contact for departmental staff members is e-mail; please visit our administrative staff contact page for further information.

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Political science is the study of politics and political systems at the local, national and international levels.

Political science concerns not only the institutions of government but also the analysis of political behavior, political values, political change and stability, political parties, interest groups, bureaucracies, administrative behavior, justice, national security, and international affairs.

The Department of Political Science undergraduate curriculum helps students develop and refine their analytical and argumentation abilities, as well as their proficiency in individual and collaborative research and writing. The course of study prepares students well for any number of careers, as well as advancement to graduate study.

Students in our doctoral program benefit from the mentorship of distinguished scholars and the proximity to Sacramento, the political center and capital city of California. Students in our graduate program have access to numerous resources for funding assistance, participation in workshops and conferences, and various other outlets for professional development. The many UC Davis Political Science graduates who have attained positions of prominence in politics and academia attest to our consistently excellent record of career placement.

Exceptional study opportunities

UC Davis Political Science students can take advantage of numerous enrichment programs, including internships and study programs in Sacramento (15 miles east of the Davis campus) and at the University of California Washington Center in Washington,D.C. Students observe and gain first-hand experience in the operations of government agencies, advocacy groups and other politically oriented organizations. The department also has a UC Davis faculty-led quarter abroad program at the London School of Economics and Politics.

Department composition

 The Department of Political Science is composed of distinguished faculty members organized among five specialized subfields:

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Political Theory
  • Methodology

Faculty areas of expertise

Our faculty members consistently earn nationwide and international distinction and recognition for their insights and scholarly contributions to the field. Collectively, they are authorities in:
  • voting behavior
  • political communication
  • campaigns and elections
  • income inequality and redistributive politics
  • political psychology
  • modern political thought
  • political party strategies
  • experimental methods
  • network analysis
  • bayesian methods and other areas of expertise.