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This page is dedicated to answering questions frequently asked about Political Sciences and its programs. Be certain to consult other areas of the CSUB website for general questions about admissions, student life, financial aid, and of course, other majors, minors, and academic programs.
Do you have to major in Political Science to go to law school?
No. Political Science along with Business is an excellent major for what is the focus of much U.S. law. So is Criminal Justice, and today's increasing attention to Sociology and Psychology as aspects of criminal behavior understanding. The skills attorneys require are most associated with Philosophy, English, and Communications. Many other majors, Music, Physics, etc. are highly relevant to Intellectual Property areas of law. With all that said, Political Science is still one of the two or three most frequently taken majors for those intending to attend law school. Do your homework on law school by visiting the Law School Admissions Council website and meeting with the University PreLaw Advisor.
What do I do with Political Science if I don't teach or go to law school?
Political Science is one of the core arts and sciences, essential to understanding all organized human life. Thus, Political Science majors, with or without post-baccalaureate degrees, work in all areas of organized society. Among the most frequent of career paths are national, State, and local government. Another is business, especially in highly regulated economic areas such as banking, insurance, and energy. Another career area is non-profit organizations, nearly all of which depend upon government to provide a critical component of their funding and policy competence. In other words, there is no single dominant career path for Political Science graduates.
What are Political Science courses like?
Political Science at CSUB has a variety of courses designed to provide at least an introduction to all the kinds of work political scientists do. Some courses are about U.S. and foreign governments and popular politics. Other courses require practice of research, both quantitative and qualitative. Other courses such as Political Philosophy deal with normative and value questions. There are also courses focused on contemporary policy controversies, such as status of women, immigration, civil liberties, and regulatory policy, such as that in agriculture and food industry. In addition there are internships and courses providing practice in the discipline. Many of the courses also assist the student in connecting to other disciplines such as history, economics, and sociology.
What are minors, and why do I need one?
B.S. degrees in the natural sciences and business allow for a minor but do not require one. A minor is typically four to six courses that supplement a major and gives breadth and scope to the degree. The B.A. in Political Science requires a minor, and that can be from any area from Theatre to Mathematics. The Political Science minor requires four courses, and usually, at least three of which must be upper division, and which should be chosen in consultation with the major advisor and a Political Science faculty member who knows your career interests and life goals.
What is "assessment," and does it matter to Political Science majors?
It is most likely that you will hear the faculty and academic administrators refer to "getting assessment done." Assessment is the evaluation of student learning and degree programs that is independent of base data about how many majors graduate and with what GPAs. Assessment is mandated by our accrediting agency, the Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC). The Political Science faculty believes that the majors should be well informed about the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) and how we assess how well the majors are meeting such objectives. In some instances, the majors are asked for suggestions as to how we should assess, particularly if the assessment activity is not imbedded in specific course requirements. Never hesitate to volunteer your opinions about how the learning objectives ought to be assessed. You will find the objectives for each course in the course syllabus.
What impact will the semester calendar have on my graduation?
By Fall 2016, when the semester calendar goes into effect, all records for continuing students will have been updated and converted to degree requirements on the semester system. In most cases, students completing General Education and University-wide requirements under a quarter system catalog will have the option of completing the major and minor under either the "old" catalog or the "new" system. The key persons in assuring that students are are track are four -- the faculty advisor, the Department chair, the Department administrative assistant, and the student's Evaluator in Admissions & Records. Be certain you know the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of these individuals. In addition, be certain to consult your degree progress (What-If Report) in PeopleSoft.
What are the "waiver exams" in American Institutions?
These are exams that students who come from out of State, private colleges, or other circumstances take in order to satisfy the State of California's requirements that all students earning a bachelor's degree have courses in U.S. History, U.S. Constitution, and California State & Local Government. The Department of History administers the U.S. history "waiver" exam, and the Department of Political Science administers the other two. Very few students who try the test (instead of taking Political Science 101 or Public Administration 275) pass either exam the first time. If interested, inquire in the Department office 248A BDC or phone 661-654-2141. These exams are also often attempted by credential candidates who did not have U.S. Constitution and California State & Local Government coursework at the undergraduate level.