Congress, the presidency, world nations, the courts, local governments, interest groups, academics, the media, and citizens all engage in a multifaceted struggle over policies and the exercise of power—a struggle that affects every one of us every day. The political science discipline studies those entities and relationships, the forces they apply to shaping society, and how the results of this grand debate affect our lives.

As a political science major, you’ll learn about behaviors, organizations, and philosophical frameworks across local, national, and international environments. You’ll become well-equipped to advocate for civic engagement and strong leadership within a democratic society. You’ll be able to demonstrate intercultural sensitivity and awareness of issues that impact modern political debates. You’ll learn how to explain complicated global and cross-cultural political issues. You’ll be taught effective oral and written communication skills and how to apply abstract concepts and theories to real life scenarios. You’ll be able to work independently to collect, analyze, and interpret complicated data and theories with plenty of opportunities for effective and efficient collaborative teamwork.

The political science discipline at UMN Morris is a small, supportive department with a big program. You’ll benefit from both behavioral and institutional approaches to political science. Areas of focus include:

  • Political behavior
  • American public policy at the state and federal levels
  • Korean-Russian relations
  • Comparative political theory
  • Environmental political theory

Student Learning Outcomes

By completing a degree in political science you will be able to

  • communicate about significant processes, concepts, principles, and theories in political science research;
  • use multiple methods of analysis and synthesize your knowledge and skills to design, conduct, and present independent political research;
  • compare, contrast, and explain perspectives on global and cross-cultural issues at the state, national, and international levels; and
  • demonstrate effective oral and written analysis through identification and production of the parts, relationships, and organizing principles of political research communication.

General Education Requirements

The University of Minnesota and its faculty are committed to providing an education that invites you to investigate the world from new perspectives, learn new ways of thinking, and grow as an active citizen and lifelong learner. The University’s general education requirements are designed to be integrated throughout your four-year undergraduate experience. These courses provide you an opportunity to explore fields outside your major and complement your major curriculum with a multidisciplinary perspective.

Careers & Graduate School

As a political science student at UMN Morris, you’ll work closely with faculty in seeking opportunities that lead to meaningful and fulfilling employment. 


Because our political science discipline focuses on lifelong skills, civic engagement, and analytical capabilities your political science degree from UMN Morris is flexible, as demonstrated by the wide range of occupations held by UMN Morris political science graduates:

  • AmeriCorps or Peace Corps worker
  • Attorney
  • City planner
  • College professor
  • Communications specialist
  • Congressional aide
  • Diplomat
  • Elected official
  • Environmental advocate
  • Human services professional 
  • Journalist
  • Judge
  • Law clerk
  • Legislative staffer
  • Lobbyist  
  • Nonprofit leader 
  • Policy analyst
  • Political consultant
  • State and national civil service professional
  • Teacher
  • Writer/editor

Graduate School

If you’re interested in continuing your work at the graduate level, we have an exceptional record of placing graduates in prestigious positions and graduate programs. Many UMN Morris alumni hold doctoral degrees and can be found in almost every part of the political and policy sector. 

Graduate and professional schools attended by UMN Morris political science graduates include:

  • Arizona State University
  • George Washington University
  • Georgetown University
  • Harvard University
  • Northwestern University Law School
  • University of California
  • University of Munster (Germany)
  • University of Oregon

Many UMN Morris political science graduates have gone on to graduate and professional academic programs, such as:

  • American culture studies
  • Economics
  • History
  • Human resource development
  • International relations
  • Labor relations
  • Law
  • Mass communications
  • Public affairs
  • Public policy
  • Urban/regional studies

Research & Engagement


As a political science student at UMN Morris, you’ll be able to get involved in research early and often, doing your own work under the guidance of a faculty adviser first, then moving to independent projects.

You’ll have ample opportunity to share your work with the campus community. In addition, you may be able to travel to regional and national conferences—both undergraduate and professional—to meet colleagues, present research, and begin taking an active part in the broader political dialogue. This is a great way to forge connections and discover emerging trends.

Undergraduate research in political science at UMN Morris also includes research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and directed studies. Specific examples include:

  • Rural identity survey
  • Soil/water conservation survey
  • Congress/Presidents international human rights engagement
  • Political science conference presentations
  • Research on social media influencers
  • Public statue removal

Faculty research funding obtained independently via grants or from other awards may also create paid positions for students to assist in research projects.


During your senior year, you’ll be able to put what you’ve learned to work with a comprehensive capstone research project that is presented to the academic community. The capstone allows you to 

  • reflect on what you’ve learned as a political science major; 
  • demonstrate your knowledge by preparing a portfolio of materials; and 
  • think about how the knowledge, skills, and insights you’ve acquired through the study of political science can be used and applied outside of the university. 

If you’re a political science honors student you can also choose to pursue individual research with honors thesis via directed studies.


Political science at UMN Morris is more than just learning theory; you’ll have the chance to participate in community forums that are frequently convened in response to current events, deliver a paper at a conference, and take an active role in the processes that create policies. You’ll also be able to get involved with political clubs and organizations: 


During your course of study and after, faculty will work with you to find an internship that fits your interests and goals. This may kick off a successful career or, perhaps, be an opportunity to influence the political process. A political science internship will likely give you close access to important political entities, allowing you to see first–hand how political systems operate. 

Political science internships generally are with an organization or office related to local, city, state, or federal government or politics, academic institutions, economic development organizations, land projects, and law offices. Recent examples include: 

  • City halls, including Morris
  • Urban Scholars, Twin Cities
  • Association of Minnesota Counties
  • MN Senate and House of Representatives Internship Program
  • Governor’s Office Internship Program
  • Campaigns for MN House, Senate, and Governors
  • U.S. Congressional offices
  • Library of Congress, Office of Congressional Relations
  • State health departments
  • PPIA Junior Summer Internship Program
  • EUSA, Dublin, Ireland
  • Several law offices

The Jooinn Lee Lecture Series, which began in 2009, honors Jooinn Lee, professor emeritus of political science and former chair of the Division of the Social Sciences. Created on the occasion of Lee’s retirement in 2007, the endowed lecture series showcases the political science discipline and cutting-edge scholarship by bringing to campus distinguished alumni, scholars, and prominent practitioners representing the field of politics. The Jooinn Lee Lecture Series is made possible through charitable gifts to UMN Morris.

Past Lectures


Sean Parson: "Apocalyptic Anxieties: Science Fiction, Climate Change, and the Politics of Doom"


Joel S. Wit: Senior fellow at the US-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior research fellow at Columbia University Weatherhead Institute for East Asian Studies.




Gary Segura: Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and principal/co-founder of the polling firm Latino Decisions. “Latino America: How America’s most dynamic population is poised to change the politics of the nation”


Michaelle Browers: Associate Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University “The Struggle for Equality and Citizenship in Arab Political Thought: Ideological Debates and Conceptual Change.”


Eric Schwartz: Dean of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs “Human Rights and the Responsibility to Protect Civilians at Risk: Promise or Pipe Dream?”


Dr. Caroline Hartzell: Professor of Political Science at Gettysburg College and 2010-2011 Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the US Institute of Peace “Ending Civil Wars and Producing Peace.”


Dr. Sarah A. Binder: Brookings Institution senior fellow in governance studies and George Washington University professor of political science “Inside Congress: Legislating in Polarized Times”


Michael Armacost: Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, US Ambassador to Japan and the Philippines & Shorenstein Distinguished Fellow at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center “Shifting Balance in Northeast Asia: Implications for the United States.”


Dr. John Barry: Reader in the School of Politics and International Studies and Philosophy and associate director of the Institute for Sustainable World at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland “Vulnerability, Resilience, Justice and the Inevitable Transition to Sustainability.”

Quick Facts

Program Offerings
  • Major
  • Minor


University of Minnesota Morris
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