Considering a major in political science? If so, you'll be joining a highly motivated, active community of scholars where the focus is on providing our undergraduates with a well-rounded education that combines substantive knowledge of political systems and processes with theoretical and normative perspectives along with analytical and communication skills.
The Department of Political Science encourages student engagement with research. Interested students work one-on-one or as teams with faculty members assisting with various aspects of research, including qualitative and quantitative analysis. A great number of our faculty also engage in directed research projects with students where the students themselves do the research, overseen by a faculty mentor—both under the auspices of the department and through the Honors College’s BPhil program. We have routine undergraduate involvement as undergraduate teaching assistants, and are working on expanding and formalizing that process. The department also holds several events each semester that both undergraduates and faculty attend together, such as election-related panels, research talks, and alumni panels—and the informal interactions between faculty and students following these events builds further bridges for learning, connection, and collaboration.
Meet Award-Winning Faculty Member Andrew Lotz
I attribute much of my current academic trajectory to Andrew Lotz. I am graduating as a Politics & Philosophy major because, in the first class I took with him, I started falling for what seems to come more naturally to me in a way I feel other disciplines do not. Had I never been taught by Dr. Lotz, the politically agitated, philosophical spirit may never have been awoken in me and I’d be graduating with a degree that was merely instrumental and the education worth nothing to me in itself. Last spring, Dr. Lotz even took the time out of his busy schedule as a department advisor and lecturer to mentor me for the independent reading that set up the framework for my independent research in London; the personal and intellectual results that came from my work with Dr. Lotz on this research were invaluable.
-Ryan Trott (UHC ’15)
The faculty advisors in Political Science work with students to facilitate securing internships that will give them valuable insight and experience. Advisors also help students identify study abroad programs and courses that align well with their major and interests. Faculty advisement serves as the primary, but not only, bridge for many of our students in making their connections with the broader community.
Starting in the Fall of 2018, the department also has faculty involved in the first year programs academic communities programs, which involve faculty-led trips to Washington DC for first-year students who concentrate some of their classes on our International Relations course offerings. We also continue a strong tradition of linking to study abroad, both having offered political science-focused PittMap experiences for students with our instructors, as well as more established study abroad summer opportunities led by our faculty (such as the Pitt in Ireland program led by Professor Kris Kanthak). Finally, political science is among the departments contributing to the new “study away” opportunities envisioned by Study Abroad, where students do coursework in the United States but outside of Pittsburgh (a program focused on Environmental Policy Writing in Wyoming using political faculty is starting in the Summer of 2019).
For more information about our department, or to schedule a visit or tour, please contact the Dietrich School's Manager of Undergraduate Recruitment, Nicole Horvath, at email@example.com.