subpage flowers image

Political Science

About the Program

Political scientists analyze governmental institutions and the political behavior of human beings. Our courses offer specialization within the major, and the ADT degree makes for easier transfer to a CSU. 

The value of a political science degree is recognized by business, law schools and government agencies as it involves insights and a variety of critical, analytical skills demanded by higher education institutions and the labor market.

Why study political science?

Our Students 

Lilian at Sacramento Capitol

My name is Lilian Juarez Armenta and I am a student at Foothill College. When I first came to Foothill I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to major in Political Science. It was after I took Introduction to American Government & Politics (Poli 1) and Introduction to Political Philosophy/Theory (Poli 3), that I knew Political Science was what I wanted to major in.

I was also able to take my skills and knowledge to the California State Capitol where I advocated for community college students' needs

- Lilian Juarez Armenta

 The faculty of the Political Science Department has taken me under their wing in preparing me to succeed in this field. It was thanks to my Poli 1 professor that I was able to join the Faculty Association Political Action Committee (FA-PAC) Intern cohort. Through this internship, I was able to learn about political organization and advocacy. On top of that, I was also able to take my skills and knowledge to the California State Capitol where I advocated for community college students’ needs, such as financial aid for part-time, undocumented and homeless students.


Prior to my enrollment in Poli Sci I had little knowledge of what impact I could have on my community and on politics itself. After learning the basics I was able to apply it to an internship in the FHDA-PAC and made real changes in the community to better the lives of students around me. 

-Landon Rudolph

Why Major in Political Science?

The value of a political science degree is recognized by business, law schools, and government agencies as it involves the develpment of a variety of critical and analytical skills demanded by higher education institutions and the labor market. Our students have successfully acquired internships with campaigns, government offices, and grassroots organizations and have transferred to many competitive universities including Stanford and U.C. Berkeley.

$141,000 2024 average annual pay for political scientists

Transfer Students

Career Opportunities

Employment opportinities for political scientists in 2020-30 is expected to grow by 9%. Typically political scientists experience average stress levels and average work life balance, and high job satisfaction.  

What can you do with a degree in Political Science?

    Job Sectors

  • For-profit
  • Non-profit
  • Public sector

Job Categories

  • Business
  • Consulting
  • Community advocacy
  • Government service
  • Journalism & Communications
  • Legal profession
  • Teaching in elementary and secondary schools

Degrees & Certificates

View the list below for programs offered at Foothill. Then select a program map for a possible schedule that fulfills program and college requirements.

For program requirements and full course listings, view degrees and certificates information.

Associate in Arts for Transfer Degree

Associate in Arts Degree


POLI 1: Introduction to American Government & Politics (5 units)

Contemporary analysis of the structure and function of American Government and California state government, both their constitutional and political systems at the federal, state and local levels. Focus on the following topics: paradigms in the social sciences, models of justice and models of democracy, evolution of American elites and American constitutionalism, role of media in American political culture, political parties and political socialization, concept of the separation of powers: legislative, executive and judiciary branches, protest and protest movements, Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1991.

POLI 2: Comparative Government & Politics (4 units)

Introductory analysis of comparative governmental systems and politics emphasizing a variety of political forms, theory of political differentiation and development, and patterns, processes and regularities among political systems in developing and developed world.

POLI 3: Introduction to Political Philosophy/Political Theory (5 units)

Analysis of the history of political thought, the development of forms of political ideologies and their manifestation in forms of the state. Philosophical formulations of concepts of state of nature, natural law, natural rights, civil and political society explored as integral parts of philosophies of: Plato and Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas, Machiavelli and Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau, Bentham and Mill, Hegel, Marx, and Antonio Gramsci.

POLI 4: California Politics & Government (5 units)

Provides students with the opportunity to develop and formulate their own perspectives on California politics. The course will explore policymaking and the exercise of power within the federal framework, including but not limited to state and local issues and institutions. The course will begin by studying the basic constitutional framework of the state government, compare and examine the state's relationship with the federal government, and then focus on political issues that California is currently facing.

POLI 9: Political Economy (4 units)

 Analysis of the contending theoretical formulations of International Political Economy (IPE), emphasizing the interconnection between economics and politics in the broad context of a global economy and the formulation of national public policy. Economic and political policy issues of current national and international significance are emphasized.

POLI 15: International Relations/World Politics (4 units)

Analysis of the central elements of international relations, including: contending theoretical formulations of international relations, factors of sovereignty, nationalism, relations between the core, semi-periphery and peripheral countries, the role of the World Trade Organization in international trade relations, international terrorism and global warming. The international struggle for global hegemony and the impact of terrorism on world politics are systematically analyzed in the context of an increasingly unipolar world.

POLI 54H: Honors Institute Seminar in Political Science (1 unit)

A seminar in directed readings, discussions and projects in political science. Specific topics to be determined by the instructor.

Course Schedule

The general schedule below is provided to assist students with long term educational planning. It is not a guarantee of course offerings. 







 Y, W

Y, W

Y, W












 POLI 15

 IP(22) W(23)





IP(22) W(23)


































IP= In-person; Y=hybrid (Asynch-online/Synch in-person); W=Asynch-online; Z= hybrid (Synch-virtual/Asynch-online)

Course Sequence

While you can take the above courses in any order you choose, the department urges you to take them in the sequence listed.

Courses in geography, computer science, and statistics should be taken as electives to increase your marketability if you choose to major in political science.

See the course catalog for descriptions and links to currently scheduled classes.



New course announcement: POLI 4 Intro to California Politics & Government

 In this course we will take a deep dive into the political world of the United States' most heavily populated state and the world's fifth-largest economy: California.

Learn More

Join a Political Science Club

Check out the List

image descriptive text

We're Here to Help!

Kerri Ryer, Department Chair


Division Office Contacts

Aaron Korngiebel, Division Dean
Business & Social Sciences Division