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.
The main objectives of these courses are to enable students to use strong analytical
skills and critical thinking in their analyses of theories, institutions, and processes
in Political Science. Political Science is an exciting discipline because debates
rage over not only how to justly organize power, but also over the appropriate ways
to study politics and, indeed, what makes something "political" in the first place.
A student has any number of reasons to study Political Science. Political Science
provides a broad liberal arts education while focusing on politics and public life,
and develops important skills in critical thinking and analysis. These abilities make
students of political science ideal candidates for careers in law; in local, state,
national, and international government; in business; in journalism; and in politics.
Many undergraduates translate their majors into further education in graduate school
in Political Science or related humanities and social science disciplines.
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.
Degrees and Certificates
Associate in Arts Degree for Transfer - Political Science
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).
Program Level Outcomes
Upon completion of the program, students will:
Exhibit strong academic behaviors, evidenced by their timeliness, regular attendance,
participation in class activities, adherence to the College Honor Code, and awareness
of their opportunities and obligations as students.
Demonstrate through oral and/or written work knowledge of basic political processes,
institutions, theories, concepts, events, and facts, as well as familiarity with various
approaches to the study of politics, and their application to specific questions,
challenges, and debates.
Demonstrate the ability to evaluate evidence and make compelling arguments about political
processes, institutions, theories, and concepts as these operate in different historical,
national, cross-national, and cultural contexts.
Demonstrate a level of engagement in political science coursework that enables and
motivates the integration of acquired knowledge and skills beyond the classroom.
Potential Career Options
Need help planning for your major?
Our counselors are here to help you plan your academic classes, goals, and needs.
See an Academic Counselor
Special Departmental Programs