About the Political Science Program

Political Science is the academic discipline dedicated to the study of power and justice, and how political institutions, processes, and governments shape the use of power. Political Science has four well-defined subfields: Political Philosophy, International Relations, Comparative Politics, and American Politics. Courses provide students the opportunity to understand political actors, political institutions, and what those people and institutions do. Also, students learn to evaluate fundamental concepts, including equality, freedom, and order, and to evaluate politics from a range of perspectives using evidence in analyses and arguments. Finally, Political Science provides civic education by offering students the means to better understand and engage in democratic politics and public life.

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Program Paths

Political Science

Associate in Arts for Transfer

This discipline introduces students to the major fields of study in Political Science. The program includes the study of American Politics (principles, institutions, and policies). Depending upon the student’s chosen course of study, the program may also include Comparative Politics (institutional structures, processes, and political cultures), International Relations (structure and operation of the international system), and/or Political Philosophy (ideas about human nature, power, justice, and the state).

Transfer Preparation

Many colleges and universities offer baccalaureate degrees in this field. Students planning to transfer to a four-year college or university need to know which courses completed at Santa Monica College will be accepted at the specific college/university. Please consult a Counselor. SMC has transfer articulation agreements with the many UC and CSU campuses, as well as many private and out-of-state institutions.



Potential Career Options

Career Exploration

Resources and Transfer

Students planning to transfer to a four-year college or university should meet with a counselor to discuss which courses need to be taken at SMC before applying to your designer colleges/universities.

Student Resources

We know college isn't always easy. We are here to help as you navigate through your SMC journey. This resource connects to information about Financial Aid, Tutoring Services, the Center for Wellness and Wellbeing and much more!


Political Science is a career education program that does not directly lead to transfer. Students planning to transfer should talk immediately with an Academic Counselor to discuss what SMC courses will help you transfer.

Career Opportunities

Consider scheduling an appointment with a career advisor with knowledge of the political science profession to discuss internship and jobs as well as steps you can take to become job ready.

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