Studying politics helps you answer the big and small questions about how people come together, govern themselves, work towards the common good through laws, policies and social movements—and why such efforts succeed or fail.

Occidental’s politics department will help you understand electoral outcomes, how systems of government differ around the world, and how social movements and identity influence political decisions. Questions of democracy, social justice, rights and liberties cut across all of our courses, training you to identify, analyze, and solve problems. This approach fosters a deep understanding of law, policy, and democratic citizenship that prepares students to become well-informed and engaged leaders in our increasingly complex, interdependent world.

A core strength of Oxy’s politics major is the curriculum’s combination of rigorous in-classroom work and community-based, experiential learning opportunities. Politics majors regularly accept internships in government agencies, public interest organizations, media firms, businesses and law offices. The department supports programs in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., and internationally. Its signature Campaign Semester program allows students to earn a full semester of credit while working full-time on a political campaign. The politics department also provides financial support to majors conducting research with faculty or holding internships—during the academic year and over the summer—through the competitive Anderson, Reath, McKelvey and Caldwell fellowships and awards.

As a politics major, you will develop broad and transferable skills that will help you work with others to arrive at just solutions to our knotty political challenges. Graduates find themselves well-positioned for a future in politics, law, education, business, nonprofit and public service, activism, international affairs, and media. If you're interested in majoring in politics, please see our worksheet.