Political Science (BA)
Shape the political landscape in your community and nation
MBU students can declare a major in Political Science until August 2024.
Students who have already declared a major or will declare one from the existing course catalog prior to August 2024 will be able to complete their major on schedule through courses offered at Mary Baldwin.
All great challenges require political skills. At Mary Baldwin, you’ll gain sophisticated tools and methods for exploring political issues whether that be in government or in the voting booth, in business or among friends debating the hot topics of the day.
- In-person, Hybrid, Online
- Degree Type
- Bachelor of Arts
- American Politics
- Political Science
Why You Should Major in Political Science at Mary Baldwin
Are you curious about how politics shape our world? With political science, you can explore the dynamics of politics from a global perspective. From the decisions of world leaders to the impact of policies on society, you’ll learn how politics affects every aspect of our lives. Delve into the study of ideologies, institutions, policies, and more, and gain valuable insights into the complex systems that govern our society.
Mary Baldwin’s political science program offers lots of opportunities to get involved on campus and in the community, so our graduates develop high quality interpersonal skills, event planning skills, and team leadership. Our students plan events on campus such as voter registration, debate watch parties, and candidate forums. They also have the opportunity to present research at the National Undergraduate Research Conference in Washington, D.C., each spring.
- Small class sizes
- Discussion-based learning
- Opportunities for simulations and quantitative analysis
- Field trips and experiences in Washington, D.C.
- Internships and professional experience
- Senior thesis project to use in job or grad school applications
Students love our courses
Our courses offer unique opportunities for understanding human political behavior and systems.
In our course, Political Behavior, students use national election study data in the lab to create and analyze tables that help to explain voting behavior. In our State and Local course, students participate in local city council meetings and follow local and state policymaking.
Some other popular courses include:
Learn about production, consumption, and the import/export of food in a U.S. political context. Food politics and policies have critical implications for the environment, public health, political equality, budget priorities, and relations among states. We’ll examine “food fights” in the U.S. and with trade partners, controversy around agricultural subsidies, labeling requirements, taxes, farming practices, education, and more.
Explore causes and consequences of underdevelopment in the global South. We’ll study national-level political institutions, processes, and outcomes in the “developing nations” of Latin America and Africa with three main questions in mind: 1) Why are these countries less wealthy than industrialized European nations and their former North American settler colonies? 2) What are the political determinants of economic success & failure? 3) What are the political consequences of low economic development?
First we’ll address two big questions: 1) What factors make nation-states more or less susceptible to civil war? 2) What factors explain the duration and outcomes of civil wars? Then we’ll scrutinize popular explanations and evaluate them in terms of explanatory power. Lastly, we’ll apply our new theoretical knowledge to current events.
Unique student support
The McCree Center for Life Success assists current students and alumni in finding the best opportunities throughout their career development. We work closely with both faculty and employers to identify how your valued education best matches the needs of today’s evolving marketplace.
What you can do in political science
Our students have completed government and congressional internships. Recent internship sites include:
- European Division, Office of Research, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
- Public Affairs Office for U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, Washington, D.C.
- Anti-Fraud Unit, U.S. Department of State: U.S. Embassy, Manila, Philippines
- Mision Permanente de Nicaragua, Organizacion de los Estados Americanos (OAS), Washington, D.C.
- Office of U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (GA), Washington, D.C.
- Office of U.S. Rep. Karen Thurman (FL), Washington, D.C.
- Office of U.S. Rep. Richard Gephart (MO), Washington, D.C.
- Office of U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA), Washington, D.C. and Staunton, VA
- Office of U.S. Sen. Bill Frist (TN), Kingsport, TN
Careers that count
With a degree in political science from Mary Baldwin, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and network to pursue a wide range of careers in politics, government, law, journalism, education, and beyond. You’ll be ready to tackle the most pressing issues of our time, and to make a positive impact on your community and the world.
Cost & Financial Aid
A great education is worth it. Here’s how Mary Baldwin helps you pay for it: Generous financial aid packages, a broad range of scholarships, transferring maximum credit hours from previous coursework or relevant work and life experiences — the list goes on. Our mission is to help you level up and bring your aspirations to life.
MBU helps you fast-track your path to a political science degree with the opportunity to transfer up to 18 credits (6 courses) through direct course equivalents from the Virginia Community Colleges System.
- Cost per credit hour: $486
- Credits required for a bachelor’s degree: 120