Academic Programs

Our Majors

Our department awards two degrees – Political Science and International Affairs that provide students practical knowledge of the field and prepare them for multiple career paths in public and governmental service, law, graduate school, and the private sector. Here are some links you can explore to learn about the major, its requirements, major course descriptions and opportunities for majors. Our department also offers a minor in Security and Conflict Studies described below. The UMW Academic Catalog is the official source of information on the majors and the minor.

Political Science Major

Political Science, the study of how various political systems work, is a Bachelor of Arts degree program. Courses ranging from urban politics and government to international politics are offered. The department also provides many outlets through which students can gain practical knowledge of the field, including visits to Virginia’s state capital and to Washington, D.C., internships in governmental offices, and involvement in major political events, such as the United Nations’ student conference. Political Science is a good background for a career in law, urban planning, teaching, government, and private enterprise; it also lends itself to further study in graduate school. Here are some resources to learn more about the major.

International Affairs Major

The interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs is designed to provide the student with a broad knowledge of the contemporary international system as well as with specific expertise in a given geographic area and/or academic discipline. To this end, the major combines required courses that examine international affairs from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (i.e., economics, geography, history, and political science) with related field courses that permit students to pursue in depth their particular geographical and/or disciplinary interests. Students majoring in International Affairs have ample opportunities to pursue internships with the numerous governmental agencies and private “think tanks” located in Washington, D.C., which focus on different aspects of contemporary international economic, political, and social issues.

Our Minor

Security and Conflict Studies Minor

Security and Conflict Studies Minor Requirements

The minor in Security and Conflict Studies is designed to provide students with a foundation in the contemporary study of security and conflict in the world today. Students will learn and apply analytical frameworks that facilitate the selection of optimal policies for solving security and conflict problems. Students will also be exposed to and utilize frameworks that aide in the comprehension of unfolding events in security and conflict. Finally, students will learn about specific issues in security and conflict. Coursework covers topics encompassing the historical (e.g., the origins of World War II) to the contemporary (cyber warfare) and the conventional (threats to territorial integrity) to the cutting edge (disease as a security issue). Students completing the minor will be well equipped for graduate level inquiry and/or relevant careers in government or the private sector.