Politics is the study of public power: Who has it? Who influences it? How does it work? Political science focuses on local, state, national, and international levels. The lessons of politics apply in all areas of life, including family and job relationships.
The BA in political science offers great flexibility; students choose courses from a rich curriculum, providing close student-faculty contact. Significant work experience and internship opportunities are offered in the state legislature, with lobbying groups, political parties, candidates, and in the offices of U.S. Senators and Representatives. The MA program offers preparation for community college teaching, work in government and politics, and for the PhD in political science, international relations, or public policy.
The BA option in legal studies provides students with an innovative course of study with a law-related emphasis. The option offers five patterns of study: alternative dispute resolution, law and the environment, law and theory, law and social interests, and paralegal studies. All patterns give students an opportunity to gain practical experience in internships. The pre-law concentration is unique to Chico. The public law intern program gives students practical experience through contact with lawyers, judges, prisoners, and persons in the community. Students work in areas of the law such as housing, penal, consumer, welfare, and the environment. Students also participate in moot courts in a simulated courtroom.
The BA in public administration provides training for careers in public service or non-profit organizations. The MPA program offers outstanding program options in Health Administration and Local Government Management. A major feature of this program is administration in a non-metropolitan setting.
The BA in criminal justice emphasizes courses in the criminal justice system, substantive criminal law, criminal justice policy, and criminal procedure, as well as interdisciplinary learning. Students may gain practical experience through internships in a variety of criminal justice settings.
The BA in international relations combines intensive study of international relations with area and interdisciplinary study. Maximum latitude is allowed in selecting courses offered in political science and related departments. In addition to gaining a broad liberal arts education, students receive excellent preparation for advanced graduate study, the foreign service, or careers in international affairs, business, or non-profit institutions.
Alternative Dispute Resolution and Paralegal Certificates
A growing number of institutions are using paralegals and adopting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as a means of solving conflicts. The ADR program provides course work and internships focused on mediation and arbitration. Paralegals work in legal aid and public defender offices, consumer protection programs, senior citizen projects, government agencies, and private law firms. Under a lawyer’s supervision, students in both programs engage in research, conduct interviews and investigations, and represent clients before administrative agencies.
The Department of Political Science supports the concept of international education and encourages students to investigate opportunities for study at CSU international program centers in foreign countries. Students should consult the International Relations advisor or the Center for International Studies for information.
BA and MA graduates fill staff and management positions in local, state, and federal government, as well as business and industry. Some sit in Congress and in statehouses. A large number work as staff to elected political officials. Many work as lobbyists, journalists, and in government and public relations. Since Chico sponsors a unique and nationally known pre-law and paralegal studies program, many excel in careers in law.