Political Science

Master the complexities of the American political system and learn strategies to influence decision makers and enact meaningful change through Suffolk’s political science program.

As a political science major, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of how institutions, ideas, and human behavior shape politics, policy, and decision-making. Our courses will help you create a strong foundation in domestic and global politics, research methodologies, and data analysis, while providing unparalleled hands-on learning opportunities to expand your skillset and build your resume.

Student standing in the Massachusetts State House rotunda

At Suffolk, students are only a short walk away from the Massachusetts State House and other major centers of local, state, and federal government throughout Boston.

Students in our political science program will:

  • Analyze and leverage real-world data to answer substantive political science questions
  • Develop writing skills in a variety of policy domains, including policy analysis, op-eds, research papers, and policy memos
  • Learn how to code using R, an open-source statistical software
  • Develop communication strategies and skills to engage people from different local and global cultures

Experience is Everything

Program Options

The Major

Core classes of the political science major include Introduction to American Politics, Evolution of the Global System, and Research Methods, where you’ll build a solid understanding of domestic and international politics and develop your analytical skills. Your elective options will depend on your concentration, but many students chose to complete part or all of their requirement through an internship. Popular internship sites include Boston, Washington, D.C., London, Brussels, and Edinburg.

This concentration provides a broad overview of the American political process. It will prepare you for graduate school and for a professional career in public policy, public service, private institutions, and/or political organizations in the United States.

This concentration offers you a framework for understanding the legal underpinnings of public policy as you critically analyze state, federal, and international legal issues and the institutions in which legal decisions are made. It's a solid foundation for your advanced studies in law and public policy, as well as a professional career in public policy, public service, private institutions, or political organizations. You can get pre-law advising in this and any other concentration if you're planning to apply to law school.

This concentration offers you an understanding of the principles, concepts, norms, and assumptions that inform public policy. You'll consider the meaning of justice and the nature and source of legitimate authority. This is a valuable foundation for your advanced studies and a career in public service, private institutions, or political organizations.

View the Political Science Major Curriculum

The Minor

Learn about the issues facing the world today and how to become an active and engaged part of the solution by minoring in political science. You’ll take two required courses – Introduction to American Politics and Research Methods – and three electives of your choosing.
View the Political Science Minor Curriculum

Customize Your Degree

Many political science students choose courses, minors, or double majors in areas that will complement their skills such as:

Political Science Degree in Three

Earn your political science degree in just three years and start making a difference sooner. By taking classes during summer sessions, you’ll save tuition money and graduate earlier to accelerate your career or graduate studies. You’ll also get special advising to keep you on track to graduate within three years based on your choice of concentration. See a sample of your course breakdown based on concentration and degree:

Please note that students enrolled in this program are still eligible for any available financial aid programs (federal and institutional) and can receive their allotted institutional financial aid benefit throughout their three years here, including summers.
Learn more about the Political Science Degree in Three

Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s

Save time and kickstart your career by completing your undergraduate degree and an MA in Applied Politics in only 5 years. You can apply to this dual-degree program in your junior year at Suffolk, during the spring semester, and take your first graduate course the following fall.
Learn more about the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s 

“I didn’t really realize how ingrained Suffolk and the area of Boston were until I got here. It’s awesome to meet so many professors that are still working in [the political] world today and are teaching about it, because they love it. I’ve definitely found that all of my political science professors are passionate about what they do, and really love it, which makes learning it so much easier for me.”

Jack McDonnell, Class of 2025 Political Science Major, Public Policy & Law Concentration

Beyond the Classroom

Download the video transcript [PDF]

Since 1978, Suffolk University has partnered with The Washington Center to offer students unique and powerful career-building experiences in our nation’s capital.

Go straight to the epicenter of American politics, advocacy, law, media, and more: Washington, D.C. Engage face-to-face with leaders in government, news outlets, embassies, and think tanks, and network with D.C.-area Suffolk alumni. Our students participate in a range of programs, including:

  • Inside Washington Seminar: Participants have met and spoken with leaders like US Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Joe Kennedy; former RNC Chairman Michael Steele; and former Secretary of State John Kerry.
  • Campaign & Inauguration Seminars during presidential election years
  • National Security Seminar with national security experts
  • Semester- and summer-long internships at advocacy groups, nonprofit organizations, law and public relations firms, and government departments such as the Department of Education, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Trade Commission, the House Parliamentarian Office, and the offices of several members of Congress.

Student working at a computer

Go behind the scenes with leading pollster David Paleologos as you learn how to ask the right questions and analyze data that drives the political conversation. Not only will you craft and field a real poll on a topic the class chooses, but you’ll also have the opportunity to contribute questions to national polls conducted by the Center. It’s a unique resume-building experience that’s helped launch alumni directly into careers in the industry.

Established in 2002, the Suffolk University Political Research Center (SUPRC) conducts statewide and national surveys as well as bellwether polls. It examines political races and analyzes voters' opinions on key issues. Suffolk’s presidential polls have predicted outcomes in key battleground states, and its innovative Cityview polls provide valuable insight into major urban areas across the country. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com ranked the SUPRC at the top of its list of “The Most and Least Accurate Pollsters of 2021-22" for its polling of the 2021-22 Senate, House and gubernatorial races.

Students sitting across each other at a table and smiling

Suffolk is consistently ranked among the best colleges for student voting—and your involvement doesn’t have to end there. Suffolk Votes is a non-partisan, university-wide effort to get students registered, educated, and out to vote in local, state, and national elections. Our students organize voter walks to help others find their polling places and staff the polls themselves to keep democracy functioning.

In the fall leading up to the 2022 midterm elections, Suffolk Votes Ambassadors visited more than 50 classrooms, helping to reach over 1,000 students. It’s youth involvement like this, says former Center for Community Engagement director Adam Westbrook, that has helped increase the number of 18-24 year-old registered voters in Massachusetts by 33% from the last midterm election in 2018.

Audience member asking a question at a public forum

When leaders speak, don’t just listen—join the conversation. In partnership with the GBH Forum Network, Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University, and The Washington Center, our “open classroom” event series brings leading voices in policy, law, media, academia, and other fields to campus to discuss the most pressing issues we face today.

Panelists have explored Politics in the Time of Global Pandemic, and the challenges facing the Biden administration in its first one hundred days and heading into the 2022 midterm election. The latest series, Our Issues. Our Voices. Our Votes., examined complex topics such as gun violence and the proliferation of misinformation.

Suffolk students ask questions of every panelist—including current and former members of Congress, leaders from organizations such as The Brookings Institution, The ACLU, The NAACP, Atlantic Council, and the Rand Corporation, and journalists from Vox, Politico, ProPublica, The Boston Globe, C-SPAN, The New York Times and The Washington Post—and appeared alongside distinguished experts during a series on youth voter engagement.

Success after Suffolk

Here's a sampling of recent graduates’ current job titles and employers.

Junior Data Analyst
HUB International
Digital Communications Manager
Office of U.S. Congressman Adriano Espaillat
Operations Analyst
Probation Case Specialist
Suffolk County Superior Court
Arbitration Law Intern
Al Tamimi & Company
Commercial Loan Specialist
Citizens Bank
Field Director
Committee to Elect Sumbul Siddiqui
Protocol Scheduler
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Program Coordinator
Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc.
Pabian Law
Deputy Finance Director
Committee to Elect Kim Janey

Questions? Get in touch!

Rachael Cobb

Rachael Cobb

Associate Professor & Department Chair of Political Science & Legal Studies

Email [email protected]

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