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Political science (BA major)

Admissions

Learn everything you need to know about becoming a UVic student, from choosing a program and reviewing admission requirements to submitting your application and reporting your grades.

If you have questions, talk to a student recruiter or attend one of our events.

Courses

You’ll need to complete 7.5 units of political science courses at the 100- and 200-levels and 15 units of political science courses at the 300- or 400-level to earn a major in political science.

Program requirements

All POLI courses

Honours program

The honours program helps students develop skills designed for graduate school or for writing/research intensive careers. You will be part of a close-knit student cohort and work closely with a faculty supervisor on your honours thesis.

Admission to the honours program requires a GPA of 6.0 in at least 7.5 units of political science courses numbered at the 100- or 200-level. We recommend that students take a broad range of political science courses including at least one on Canadian politics, one on comparative politics, one on international politics and one on political theory.

If you're interested in pursuing an honours degree, contact the honours advisor, Dr. Amy Verdun, before your third year.

Honours program requirements 

Our 2024 Honours students and their thesis titles

Saiyah Aujla, "Interrogating Racecraft: A Critical Analysis of the 'Model Minority' and Sikh Subjectivity in Canada" (Committee: Feng Xu, Matt James)

Emma-Jane Burian, "'Mr. Speaker I don't belong here': The Reality of Institutional Discrimination inside Canada's Parliament" (Committee: Feng Xu, Avigail Eisenberg)

Jenna Inch, "Leveraging Affect in the Wake of a Disaster: From 'Hell or High Water' to Resiliant Calgary" (Committee: Justin Leifso, Sarah Sharma)

Jarica Kritsky, "How Consumer Choice is Influenced by Labour and Environmental Conditions in the Global Cosmetics Industry: A Study of Students' Purchasing Decisions at the University of Victoria" (Committee: Jamie Lawson, Justin Leifso)

Acacia Lee, "Are We Human? The Recognition and Denial of Humanity to Some: Interrogating the Origins of the Dehumanization of People with Disabilities through the Lens of Early Modern and Modern Theory" (Committee: Mara Marin, Andrew Wender)

Megan Ryan-Lloyd, "The Duty to Consult: A Philosophical and Historical Investigation" (Committee: Matt James, Jamie Lawson)

Mack Stanbridge, "Constructing the Modern Homeless Figure in Urban British Columbia: A Case of Neoliberal Subject-making" (Committee: Justin Lefiso, Mara Marin)

Ben Thompson, "The Slippery Slope towards Democratic Decline: A Comparative Analysis of Populism in Israel and Turkey" (Committee: Andrew Wender, Michelle Bonner)

Jasper van Weelderen, "Europe in the Sahel: Analysing the Failures of Capacity Building" (Committee: Amy Verdun, Will Greaves)

Raheem Uz Zaman, "Understanding and Exploring the Impact of Various Independent or Political Variables on Women's Descriptive Representation in National Parliaments: A Comparative Study of Australia and New Zealand via Feminist Institutionalist Lens" (Committee: Jamie Lawson, Matt James)

Double major

You can pursue a double major of political science in combination with other disciplines. Reasons you might want to pursue a double major:

  • political science and environmental studies for a career as an environmental policy analyst
  • political science and gender studies for a career in women's advocacy and policy development
  • political science and economics for a career in international relations and economic development

There are a few combinations not allowed, but generally you can be creative.

Degree basics

Minors & specializations

minor is an optional program that allows you to study in an area outside of your major program area. A minor in political science requires:

  • 6 units of courses numbered at the 100 or 200 level
  • 9 units of courses numbered at the 300 or 400 level

Option in European Studies

The European Studies Option is designed for majors and honours students in political science who want to graduate with a concentration in European politics.

Opportunities include internships and study tours to the EU institutions in Brusselsexchange opportunitiesWest Coast Model EU and many others.

Related programs

Funding

UVic offers scholarships, bursaries, awards and other funding opportunities to help you further your education and succeed in your studies.

Political science scholarships

Most scholarships are awarded based on recommendations made by the department. However, some require a separate application form. 

Explore funding options 

Awards for political science students 

Our recent scholarship winners

Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards (JCURA)

The Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Award (JCURA) supports students who complete a research project under the mentorship of a faculty supervisor.

Full-time third and fourth year students with a GPA of 7.0 or above are eligible to apply. Each successful student receives a $1,500 credit in their UVic account.

Our 2023-24 JCURA award winners

Valerie Kuehne Undergraduate Research Awards (VKURA)

The Valerie Kuehne Undergraduate Research Award is an internship opportunity for first- and second-year students to gain research-enriched and applied experiences in their field of study. Students gain experience working within a research environment that is collaborative and collegial with direct support from a faculty mentor. 

Career options

Our graduates are well-trained and learn skills in research, writing, data and policy analysis and public presentation. Political science students find work with government agencies and non-profit organizations. They also work across the private sector, in journalism and consulting. Many of our students go on to law school or graduate school.

Some career options for political science majors 

Meet some of our alumni

Co-op

Our optional co-operative education (co-op) program gives you hands-on paid work experience related to what you're studying. It's the perfect way to develop your skills and find a career you love.

Learn more about what co-op ishow it works with your degree and what to expect as a co-op student

Political Science co-op students get work experience in research, policy analysis and development, project management, community development and media/communications.

Sample jobs and employers

  • BC Healthy Communities – Victoria Youth Council coordinator
  • National Defence and the Canadian Forces – Geopolitical and Maritime Security research assistant
  • Victoria Disability Resource Centre – workshop program coordinator
  • Land Trust Alliance of BC – community outreach officer
  • Parks Canada – Gulf Islands National Park Reserve survey coordinator

Co-op program requirements 

Hands-on learning

Legislative and Parliamentary Internship Programs

The BC Legislative Internship Program lets Canadian university graduates observe the daily workings of the Legislature first-hand and assist Members of the Legislative Assembly during the parliamentary session. The program is open to BC residents who have a recent bachelor’s degree from a Canadian university. Application deadline: January 31.

The Parliamentary Internship Program welcomes young professionals to Parliament Hill September-June. The paid, non-partisan interns are selected through a national competition. Parliamentary interns meet with senior policymakers, diplomats, journalists, scholars, politicians and leaders in civil society. Application deadline: January 31.

UVic contact: Dr. Jamie Lawson 

Thailand Field School

We’ve partnered on a new field school in northern Thailand examining policies of development and the environment. Read about the Thai Field School in the Ring.

The 1.5 unit, third-year level cross-listed course (POLI 391 / GDS 391) involves a week of intensive classroom study at UVic then it’s off to Thailand for 2.5 weeks of experiential learning.

This field school is unique as priority is given to students usually underrepresented in overseas opportunities. Funding covers the entire costs of the field school for up to 7 students and partial funding for another 3.

For more information about the next Thai Field School, contact Robyn Fila in the Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives (CAPI).

Community Engaged Learning

Community engaged learning

With community-engaged learning (CEL), you'll connect course content with real-world experiences. You’ll contribute to communities and build your understanding, your CV and your network. There are over 100 opportunities for CEL in the social sciences at UVic.

Examples of CEL activities in Political Science:

  • The B.C. Legislative Internship program offers first-hand experience in our parliamentary system and contribute directly to the work of the executive and legislative branches of government.
  • The Model UN Club simulates UN discussions and formats. Students organize conferences in Victoria and attend the annual National Model UN conference in New York City.

To find out more about CEL opportunities in Political Science, contact celc1@uvic.ca or 250-472-5667.