Be a thinker for progress

students studying
Kayaking on Lake Champlain
Engaging classroom lectures
Lafayette statue in the moonlight
A campus near a lake
Looking up at the tower of Ira Allen chapel
Eileen Burgin lectures

Political science can be summed up as the study of power: how power is aggregated and exercised.

Political scientists examine the process of group decision-making and ethical implications, leading us to consider concepts of community, identity, justice and citizenship. In the American politics field, our department offers courses on the presidency, Congress, the courts, media and politics, parties and elections, constitutional law, civil rights, gender issues, women in politics and political leadership. Students can take courses in ancient, medieval and modern political theory as well as theory courses organized around themes like global justice, ethics, citizenship and religion and the state.

In the international field courses are offered on international environmental issues, international organizations, international political economy, American foreign policy and the causes of war along with courses on the regional international politics of East Asia, the Middle East and the European Union. Comparative courses include surveys of politics in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, and Russia and the states of the former Soviet Union, as well as thematic courses on democratization, political development, religion and politics, gender and politics, and ethnicity.


Each semester, the department designates one course at the 100 level as an honors course. Honors courses provide advanced students with seminar-type experiences that feature vigorous discussion, the opportunity to interact with other highly motivated students, and an intense commitment to developing writing skills. Learn more about the Honors Program in Political Science

Beyond the classroom

Political science majors and minors at UVM regularly complete internships locally, nationally and abroad. Learn more about internship opportunities and recent internships held by our students.


  • Law
  • Consulting
  • Research
  • Business and Finance
  • State, Local, and Federal government
  • Elected Office and Campaign Management
  • Journalism, Media & Communications
  • Community Service
  • Advocacy
  • Teaching
  • Higher Education

Where alumni work

  • Assistant to the Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives
  • Clerkship, Alaska Supreme Court
  • Clerkship, US Supreme Court
  • Journalist, New York Times
  • Lobbyist American Acadamy of Pediatrics
  • Professor of Political Science
  • Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives
  • Senior Analyst, Victoria Research Consulting
  • Staff in the Office of Patrick Leahy
  • Staff in the Office of Governor Peter Shumlin
  • Staff in the Office of Representative Peter Welch

Graduate Schools

  • American University
  • Columbia Law School
  • George Washington Law School
  • Harvard John F. Kennedy School
  • London School of Economics
  • Loyola Law School
  • Michigan Law School
  • New York University
  • Northwestern
  • Ohio State
  • Oxford
  • Syracuse Maxwell School

Related Information

Political Science Program Outcomes:

Area of Study Outcomes (all students are required to meet at least the basic level in each area while attaining higher levels in the subfield in which they do the most course work):

  • Master basic issues in political philosophy, using both classical and contemporary sources,  particularly such normative topics as freedom, equality, political obligation and dissent, justice, and the relation between morality and law.
  • Master basic information and theoretical concepts in international relations, includingsystemic, domestic and individual-élite levels of analysis for assessing foreign policy decisions, and demonstrate a basic understanding of questions of international conflict and  cooperation.
  • Master basic information about comparative political systems, understanding political behavior, structures, and processes from a cross-national perspective
  • Master basic information about American politics, particularly the institutions, processes and problems of American government.

Core Skill Outcomes:

  • The ability to read and comprehend complex political materials for both detail and thematic  content, and to demonstrate mastery of such content such content orally and in writing.
  • The ability to understand and act upon general ethical principles as they relate to academic  work in political science.
  • The ability to understand and explain political practices, arrangements, and cultures in settings other than the United States.
  • The ability to write analytically about topics in political science, including use of appropriate  methods of inquiry in the discipline.