Department of Political Science

Portland State University’s undergraduate and graduate Political Science programs are preparing the next generation of civic leaders.

Welcome to the Department of Political Science 

Political Science programs are about power, conflict, political challenges and social change in today’s democratic and globally connected environment. What role will you play?

Students graduating with a degree from the Political Science department of the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government obtain or advance careers in law, politics, public policy, foreign aid, sustainable global development and poverty reduction, international justice, communications, and education. Career possibilities abound because PSU’s Political Science department allows students to customize their degree program around hands-on concentration options, multi-disciplinary opportunities, and rigorous curricula — all within Oregon’s largest and very politically active city.

Department of Political Science's Values and Mission

The Department of Political Science is dedicated to the principles of academic freedom, intellectual honesty, and professional excellence. We expect our faculty, staff, and students to reflect the following values:

Excellence in Research and Teaching

As scholars, we aspire to conduct innovative research that meets the highest standards of analytical and methodological rigor. 

As teachers, our foremost aim is to empower students through learning as we instill a sense of responsibility for individual intellectual growth. 

Contribution to Public Good

We value education as both a private and public good. In our role as educators, we believe it is important to prepare students not only for their futures as workers, but also as lifelong democratic citizens. Thus, in addition to imparting historical and theoretical knowledge, we strive to instill a love of learning, critical thought, and civic participation. 

Service to Community

We are committed to empowering students to leverage the knowledge and skills they gain in our classrooms to serve the needs of their community and the wider world.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity

We recognize the value of diversity, especially the assortment of values, experiences, and worldviews that emanate from variations in background and culture. The diversity of our students, faculty, and staff is a critical source of innovation, inspiration, and creativity in the learning environment. 

We endeavor to foster an atmosphere conducive to learning, mentorship, and research for all members of the university community. Doing so requires that we be responsive to historical patterns of exclusion and disadvantage that continue to impose barriers to some students’ success.

Department Programs

Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate Political Science offerings are robust, with rigorous, hands-on options that include legal studies, public service, and international development programs.

Graduate Program

Graduate students in Political Science enter a world of intense scholarship and analysis to prepare for doctorate-level study or leadership careers at non-governmental organizations, think tanks, or in political consulting.

Doctoral Program

The Hatfield School offers two interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree programs that capitalize on the full gamut of academic resources within CUPA as well as resources from our Portland, Oregon community.