On-campus experience

Political Science

Political Science is the study of the nature, causes, and consequences of collective decisions and actions taken by groups of people embedded in cultures and institutions that structure power and authority.

Aristotle defined it as the study of state. At UBC, Political Science majors will explore the nature, causes, and consequences of collective decisions from the ancient Greeks through to the present day and beyond. The course of study will look at the structure power and authority from the most despotic regimes to modern mass democracy, from political stability to radical change, from decisions made at the micro level all the way through to cities, nations and even global governance. Courses will combine large classes with small group tutorials. At UBC, Political Science majors will develop the skills to synthesize facts, present arguments through research, and work on problems in groups.

Get experience at UBC

Building your career takes more than attending academic lectures. Get involved with research and complement your studies with relevant research and applied experiences. Whether you choose one of the experiences listed below or one of the many other great opportunities available, you’ll learn new things, make new friends, network, and set yourself apart. It all counts.

Political Science Students' Assocation

The PSSA is a faculty-supported student club for Political Science undergraduates at the University of British Columbia. They seek to provide a forum in which Poli Sci students can come together and engage in friendly debates and discussions on a range of topics. They also provide pertinent information regarding graduation, classes, employment opportunities, community, and so on. Most importantly, they bring issues that concern students to the Poli Sci Department. The PSSA can be thought of as architects: helping you to build an amazing undergraduate experience. Through their guest speaker series, social and academic events, and partnerships with other clubs on campus, they shall weave together a meaningful network of students, alumni, professors, and professionals. They are here to serve you as your nexus of student resource and opportunity. Find out more about the PSSA on their website or check them out on Facebook.

UBC Journal of Political Studies

The Journal of Political Studies is proudly run entirely by students, from its editorial board to its graphic designers. Each year the Journal seeks to publish the best undergraduate papers on politics by current and former UBC students. The Journal is a fantastic chance to gain formal experience in academic publishing, and students keen to take part in are highly encouraged to contact the Editor-in-Chief at editor.ubcpssa@gmail.com.

European Union Study Tour and Internship Program

The European Study Tour addresses the institutions, evolution, and current issues of the EU through visits to the major institutions of the European Union, located in Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg and Frankfurt. Building on ten years of successful tours, the Network is preparing a lively immersion in the life of the European Union. We are assisted by the continuing help of the European Commission and the Canadian Mission to the EU.

Arts Co-op Program

Gaining paid, full-time, relevant experience will help you explore career options in non-profit organizations, government, and the private sector across Canada and abroad. Completing an Arts Co-op term can help put you on a fast track for a successful career in your field of interest. Graduate with career skills, experience, and a network of professional contacts that will give you a competitive edge after graduation. 

Arts Internship Program

Build a career while you are studying through part-time, unpaid internships. Exciting internships are being created in diverse non-profit and social service organizations where you can build your network and gain transferrable skills and competencies that employers look for in any industry. Apply your knowledge to the world of work and gain industry contacts along the way. Community partners in this program are looking for students like you to help them achieve their goals.

Community experience

Work and learn in community settings like non-profits and inner city schools. Take a course with a community-based experiential learning (CBEL) component and develop an understanding of community contexts and the systemic factors underlying community needs. Whether it’s a course or signing up for Trek & Reading Week placements, International Service Learning or a grant project in community, you’ll build skills in real-world settings and make invaluable connections with people in community.

Student Directed Seminars

The Student Directed Seminars program provides upper-year undergraduate students (in 3rd year or later) the opportunity to propose, coordinate, and lead their own 3-credit seminar class with a small group of peers on a topic not currently offered at UBC-Vancouver.  Each seminar brings together a group of highly-motivated students that explore and investigate a topic through learning activities including group discussions, research papers, presentations, guest lectures, applied problem-solving, and Community Service Learning.  This is a fantastic opportunity for Arts students to share their passion for a topic, as well as build key skills in the areas of facilitation, time management, peer-to-peer learning, and more.

Go Global

Imagine studying Middle Eastern politics in Turkey or the south of France, learning about ancient political thought and ideologies in Singapore or Germany, or taking part in political science research in Ethiopia. From exchange to internships and global seminars, check out the range of international experiences.

Our recommended exchange destinations include, but are not limited to:

  • Universite Libre de Bruxelles, BELGIUM
  • University of Copenhagen, DENMARK
  • Sciences Po (Menton Campus), FRANCE
  • Universite Lumiere Lyon II, FRANCE
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences, NORWAY
  • Lunds Universiteit, SWEDEN
  • Uppsala Universitet, SWEDEN
  • National University of Singapore, SINGAPORE
  • University of Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA
  • University of Nottingham, UK

Learn more about international opportunities recommended by the Political Science department.

Join a network

Join the Ten Thousand Coffees platform to find a mentor or meet with classmates. Connect with peers based on your interests to share ideas, insights and advice over a cup of coffee.

Using your degree

A political science degree will equip graduates with a broad and deep understanding of the forces that shape law, society, the economy and the politics of the future. In addition, students will develop numerous skills that are valued in professional life such as the ability to conduct research, present arguments, and work and lead effectively in group situations. Among the many career possibilities, political science majors are well prepared for the public service, law, journalism as well as graduate programs in various disciplines. Because this discipline is the study of the structures of decision-making and power, graduates are well placed to lead in all aspects of the economy and society. Political Science graduates are engaged citizens that contribute to local, national, and global endeavors.

Career possibilities

Studying government policies, programs, and laws are the main tasks for Public Policy Analysts. Most Public Policy Analysts work for the government collecting and analyzing data, identifying policy issues, and making recommendations.

Foreign Service Officer

Advising governments on foreign policy and diplomatic matters, Foreign Service Officers analyze international political and economic issues. Their main job is to develop and manage foreign policy programs.

Other Potential Careers
Campaign/Elections Officer
Political Aide
Market Researcher/Analyst
Business Administrator
Diplomat/Embassy Officer
Legislative/Parliamentary Assistant
Financial Planner/Advisor
Human Resources
Foreign Aid Worker
Public Opinion Analyst
Human Rights Officer
Labour Relations Mediator
Intelligence Agent
Media Analyst/Researcher
Policy Advisor/Researcher
Speech Writer
Labour Organizer/Negotiator
Public Relations/Communications Officer
Immigration Officer
International Projects Leader
Public Affairs Manager
Financial/Economic Analyst
Social Policy Program Officer
Customs Officer
Economic Development Officer
Budget Analyst
Human Resources Specialist
Market Analyst
Public Opinion Analyst

Academic possibilities

  • Law
  • Public Policy
  • Journalism
  • MBA
  • Planning
  • Human Development/Learning/Culture
  • Education

Alumni profiles