Political Science and Criminal Justice

Two students sit at a table and hold signs and stickers encouraging others to vote.


If you are interested in politics, how and why government works the way it does, how society responds to crime, international political issues and systems, political theory, or the law, then join us in the Political Science and Criminal Justice Department. We offer bachelor's degrees in criminal justice, international relations, political science (with options in U.S. politics and legal studies), and public administration. We also offer the paralegal certificate and several minors. At the graduate level, we offer the Master of Arts in Political Science and the Master of Public Administration (with options in Health Administration and Criminal Justice ).

Our department’s accomplished, committed, and energetic faculty offer a variety of courses on wide-ranging topics and will guide you through a program suited to your interests. Our program advisors are the best on campus.


The Political Science and Criminal Justice Department supports numerous internships, service learning opportunities, study abroad, and other activities such as the award-winning Model United Nations, the Community Legal Information Clinic, the Moot Court competition, Pi Sigma Alpha (the national political science honor society), the Pre-Law Society, and the Criminal Justice Student Association. Moreover, we are pleased to offer more scholarships and awards than any other department in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Our department has been the proud host of the California State University, Chico Town Hall Meeting since 2009. The Town Hall Meeting provides students in our American government courses with a public arena for sharing their research and their perspectives on public policy. This experience is designed to illustrate the meaningful nature of research in the world beyond the University as it brings students into dialogue with a wide array of participants, including community members with a stake or interest in the policies under discussion. Students consider solutions to real policy problems and discuss how they can become involved in activities to promote the solutions they propose. Several years of assessments indicate that the Town Hall Meeting is beneficial to students by improving course content learning, self-perception, civic participation, self-esteem, and retention rates.


The mission of the Political Science and Criminal Justice Department is to provide students with the educational experiences and environment to become familiar with and competent in the attitudes, subjects, and skills of the disciplines of political science, legal studies, international relations, and criminal justice. While each major and program in our department also has its own mission and goals, we strive for all our students to gain a sense of civic responsibility and to have the capacity to attain career success that allows them to utilize the knowledge, skills, and judgment acquired in our programs.

Our graduates fill staff and management positions in local, state, and federal government, as well as business and industry. Some sit in Congress and in statehouses. A large number work as staff to elected political officials. Many work as lobbyists, journalists, and in government and public relations. Because our department sponsors a legal studies and paralegal certificate program, many excel in careers in law.