What will I learn?

Cesar Chavez. Ronald Reagan. Indira Gandhi. Mao Zedong. Sojourner Truth. These are all such different people with different political goals, and yet they all have something in common: they all understood the nature of power and political action, and they used their knowledge to change the world. A political science degree from Portland State University will give you the tools to understand power and to make changes in the world that you believe in. Maybe these changes will be very small, maybe they will be very big, but the knowledge you gain from getting a degree in political science will give you what you need to take your vision for our neighborhoods, city, state, country, or world and put it into action.

Your classes in the political science department will teach you the nature of power in our world through an option of lenses based on your interest. We offer a wide variety of perspectives so that you can pick the approach that is most interesting to you.

  • In our American Politics classes, students learn about the political system of the United States, as well as the history, culture, and social movements in this country. Classes in this field also engage the local politics of Portland as well as state politics in Oregon.
  • In our Comparative Politics classes, students learn about the domestic politics of other countries. If you wonder about how the Prime Minister is chosen in Germany, how Augusto Pinochet -the former dictator in Chile- overthrew the democratically elected government, or how government restrictions affect the lives of women in Iran, this is the field for you.
  • Our International Relations classes teach our students to understand how governments interact with one another. This sometimes means the study of war, but more often means learning about the role of international organizations and international law in facilitating negotiation and communication among countries.
  • Students in our Political Theory classes read books that challenge commonly held views of what constitutes politics and how political change occurs. In exploring contending ideas of power, justice, authority, freedom, and so forth, political theory students develop their own theories of politics.

At Portland State University, we offer four specializations in American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory, along with two Political Science tracks in International Development and Public Service, and two minors in Law & Legal Studies and Political Science.


The standard major offers a traditional course of study in political science that involves some exposure to four basic areas of the discipline. In addition to meeting the University’s general education requirements, a student wishing to pursue a basic major in political science must take a minimum of 48 credits in political science distributed as follows. The distinguishing feature of the B.S. degree is that it requires either PS 295 or PS 495 as one of the Upper Division Requirements, while the B.A. does not require either of these courses.

Here is a list of the top careers for Political Science majors:

  • K-12 Teacher
  • Policy Analyst
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Legislative Assistant
  • Lawyer and Judge
  • Political Consultant
  • Political Campaign Staff
  • Elected Official
  • International Assistance Staff
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Political Journalist

Which department am I in?

College of Urban and Public Affairs

Study options

Full Time (4 years)

Tuition fees
US$29,837.00 per year

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

Expected September 2022


Portland State University

1825 SW Broadway,



97201, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

To apply as a freshman (first-year student), you must have completed secondary/high school (university preparatory), equivalent to U.S. secondary/high school, with a cumulative (overall) grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 when converted to the United States 4.0 grading scale.

For international students

To enroll as a freshman (first year), you must have completed secondary school or high school. Your education must be equivalent to United States secondary school or high school education. You must have a cumulative (overall) grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.5 when converted to the U.S. 4.0 grading scales.

English Language Requirements

IELTS: 6.0 overall (minimum 6.0 in reading and writing)

TOEFL IBT: minimum overall score of 71; minimum subscore of 15 in reading and writing

PTE: 53 overall

SAT: 560 or above in the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About Portland State University

PSU has been empowering students for 75 years and is known for its sustainability and commitment to social justice.

  • Based in the center of Portland, Oregon
  • One of the nation’s most innovative universities
  • More than 200 degree and certificate programs on offer
  • 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio

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