Political Science and Public Policy

Political Science Major

Major in Political Science

You’ll learn about political systems and leaders, government policies and domestic and international conflicts as a political science major at Merrimack College.

What You’ll Learn

As a political science major, you will:

  • Analyze a political situation from multiple perspectives and connect it to theoretical models or practical experiences.
  • Explore society’s vital questions about law, government, justice and humanity.
  • Apply your knowledge by pursuing an internship in government.
  • Develop your writing and critical thinking skills, which will help you become a thoughtful, engaged member of society.

You might also consider double majoring or minoring in related fields, such as pre-law, economics or environmental studies and sustainability.

Hands-On Learning

Why not take your skills out of the classroom and into the political arena? Debate constitutional issues against national teams in Moot Court, explore a public service internship or spend a semester during your junior year with the American University Washington Semester Program or abroad.

Career Options

As a graduate of our program, you’ll be well equipped to pursue a graduate degree — in law, history, political science or a related topic — or to begin your career working in the public or private sector. Our graduates go on to jobs in business, government, international relations, public administration, academia and more.

Recent graduates hold a variety of exciting positions, including:

  • Analyst, Library of Congress
  • Attorney General, State of Vermont
  • Director, Lowell (Mass.) Planning Board
  • Judicial Law Clerk, New Hampshire Superior Court
  • Legislative Aide, U.S. Congress
  • Mayor, City of Lawrence, Massachusetts
  • Prosecutor, Tewksbury (Mass.) Police Department
  • Research Assistant, Citizens for the Constitution
  • Secretary, Executive Office of Health and Human Resources, Massachusetts
  • State Senator, Massachusetts
  • Systems Analyst, Massachusetts Department of Revenue

What You’ll Take

All political science majors take a combination of required and elective courses to satisfy the 42-credit requirement.

Required Courses (complete all)

POL 1100 Politics of the United States
POL 1500 Comparative Politics
POL 2000 Political Science Methods
POL 4800 Senior Seminar
  • We recommend that POL 2000 Political Science Methods be completed by the end of your sophomore year.
  • You are required to take a writing intensive course in the discipline. This course rotates among upper-level elective courses.

U.S. Politics and Government (choose at least two)

POL 1300 Intro to Public Administration (formerly POL 2121)
POL 1400 Politics of Public Policy
POL 2010 Political Ethics
POL 2120 Government, Business & Law
POL 2122 Law and Society
POL 2181 American Political Thought
POL 2300 The Politics of Food
POL 3111 Massachusetts State & Local Government
POL 3112 Congress and the Legislative Process
POL 3113 The American Presidency
POL 3122 Issues in Public Policy
POL 3130 Campaigns and Elections
POL 3140 Mass Media and American Politics
POL 3141 Political Communication
POL 3150 Criminal Law
POL 3151 American Constitutional Law
POL 3152 Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
POL 3153 Politics & Religion
POL 3160 United States Foreign Policy
POL 3161 Politics of Immigration and Human Movement
POL 3171 Music and Politics
POL 3600 Special Topics (when course pertains to a US topic)

World Outside the United States (choose at least two)

POL 1900 International Politics (formerly POL 2510)
POL 2200 Global Issues
POL 2581 Intro to Political Theory
POL 3520W Modern China
POL 3525 Politics of the Middle East
POL 3530 Democracy, Development and Violence
POL 3531 Politics of Developing Nations
POL 3540 International Political Economy
POL 3541 Cyber Security: The Intersection of Technology and Policy
POL 3600 Special Topics (when course pertains to a global topic)
POL 4599W Issues and Cases in United States Foreign Policy

Remaining Courses
Select the remaining three courses from the electives above. Qualified students may choose all or some from the following list:

POL 4700 Directed Study
(Moot Court may only be taken twice for credit toward a political science major - 4 credits max)
POL 4850W Public Service Internship
POL 4851 Public Service Summer Internship
POL 4852 Public Service Fall or Spring Internship


  • Only two political science courses may be double-counted between a political science major and a pre-law minor.
  • Only two political science courses may be double-counted between a political science major and an international studies major.