UConn political science majors learn by doing.
Our classes give you a solid bedrock of theory to tackle complex problems that face the field of political science today. But you can also apply your knowledge beyond the classroom by getting involved in hands-on experiences like internships, independent research projects, clubs, and organizations. Along the way, you'll develop interpersonal and professional skills that will prepare you for a career in any field.
In addition to courses offered by the department, students are encouraged to think seriously about taking advantage of internship opportunities, which can occur both domestically and abroad. Students will earn three credits in POLS 3991 for most internships.
Political science students can enhance their skills by participating in research experiences. Research assistantships and independent projects help students grow intellectually and professionally, allowing them to dig deeper on a specific topic and, in many cases, work closely with a faculty mentor.
Clubs and Organizations
Undergraduates can also gain hands-on experience through membership and leadership positions in student clubs and organizations. Below are a few student organizations that are affiliated with the Department.
Pi Sigma Alpha
Pi Sigma Alpha is the national honorary society for political science majors based in Washington, DC. Membership signifies academic achievement within the field, and all members receive a certificate of membership as well as permanent enrollment in the society’s membership rolls maintained by the National Office. The purpose of Pi Sigma Alpha is to stimulate scholarship and interest in the subject of government by providing tangible recognition to students who have excelled in the field.
At the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, the department’s faculty advisor will issue an open invitation for qualified majors to join UConn’s chapter. Information regarding membership requirements, chapter activities, frequently asked questions, and an application form are all provided below. The present faculty advisor is Professor Kristin Kelly.
Membership is open to all students who meet the following requirements:
- A declared political science major
- A grade point average of 3.300 or higher in the major (Not Internships)
- The completion of at least 3 2000-level political science courses
If you meet these requirements, you should fill out the online application.
Frequently asked questions regarding membership:
Can I join if I am taking my 3rd 2000-level course this semester?
No, you need to have grades for those 3 courses factored into your major GPA before you can join. You may join during the semester following completion of the 3rd course.
My G.P.A. in my major is listed on my transcript, right?
No, actually it’s not. What’s listed on your transcript are your GPAs for the semester (SGPA), division (DGPA), and total average (TGPA). The only place to find your major GPA is to look on your Academic Requirements Report. Or you can do the math yourself to make sure you have a 3.300 GPA in the major. Find the grade and grade point chart in the general catalog (listed under academic regulations), assign the correct grade point to all the political science classes you have taken (A=4.0, A-=3.7, etc.), and then divide the total by the number of political science classes you’ve taken. This is your GPA in the major.
I fit all the requirements, but no one asked me to join. How come?
We send out membership invitations based on overall GPA rather than major GPA; hence some students who do not qualify for membership received one, while some students who do qualify did not receive one. We sincerely apologize if you belong to this latter category, and we would still be excited to have you become a member. Membership is a nice thing to list on your resume, but it really is just restating what your transcript already reveals — that you are a good student.
How much does it cost to become a member?
Submitting an application to become a member of Pi Sigma Alpha is free. If your application is accepted, you will be provided with a code that will enable you to officially register as a member on the National Website for Pi Sigma Alpha. To become a member you will be required to pay a one-time fee of $35.00. This fee covers the cost of your induction certificate and ensures your permanent enrollment in the society’s membership rolls maintained by the national office. At graduation, Pi Sigma Alpha members are entitled to wear honor society regalia. Graduating members of the Honor Society can purchase cords and/or medals from the national website.
Does the chapter meet frequently, what kinds of activities does it plan, and what is its organizational structure?
The answers to each of these questions varies tremendously from year to year. Precisely how active the chapter is depends on the enthusiasm and interest of its members. One dynamic that seems constant is that most students join when they are seniors, which means not only that they are already very busy, but also that membership roll-over is very high. It is not uncommon for the chapter to have 90% new members each year. In order to handle paperwork and financial issues, volunteers within the group are usually solicited. Monthly meetings have sometimes proven to be useful venues for the exchange of information on graduate and law school applications and preparations. The level of activity and the nature of organizational responsibilities are really up to each year’s members.
UConn Undergraduate Political Review
The UConn Undergraduate Political Review is a scholarly publication dedicated to providing a diverse analysis of political events and issues. Learn more about the publication and view their latest issue.
Undergraduate Political Science Association, also known as UConn Stamford Politics Club (Stamford Campus)
The UConn Stamford Politics Club is a nonpartisan, student-led, professionally-run organization committed to creating a space that encourages intellectual dialogue, facilitates civil discourse on political subjects, and helps students grow intellectually, socially and professionally. All students from the Stamford campus are welcome, and students from other campuses are welcome to attend our special events. Events include debate watch parties, candidate debates on campus, town halls, strategy meetings, and presentations. For more information contact email@example.com.
University of Connecticut Model United Nations
UConn Model United Nations (UCMUN) is a tier two student organization. They host an annual conference during the fall semester and invite high school students to represent a country in a simulated United Nations committee. The organization was founded in 1999 and seeks to expand and improve upon its conference every year. UCMUN offers a wide variety of positions to interested students including assistant director, director of committees, topic specialists, executive positions, and secretary and director general positions. UConn Model United Nations seeks to foster international awareness through the process of simulation.
- Assistant Director – For this position, students join during the fall semester and are paired up with a director. Assistant directors assist in debate and are generally first time UCMUN staff members.
- Directors – These members apply in the fall semester after the conference and direct existing committees or create their own, with the approval of the director general. Over the year directors chose topics and create background guides for students to use during the conference.
- Topic Specialists – Topic specialists apply in the spring semester and are tasked with doing extra research above what Directors have done. During the conference they may be called upon to give informative speeches to delegates.
- Executive Staff – There are several executive positions that often change on a yearly basis. These students are each responsible for a specific area of UCMUN duties necessary for the conference. These positions are appointed by the director general and secretary general. They are usually reserved for more experienced UCMUN staff.
- Director General – The student with this position is tasked with hiring directors, assistant directors, and topic specialists and in conjunction with the secretary general hires executive staff. Director general is an elected position.
- Secretary General – The secretary general is this highest ranking member of UCMUN, they are responsible for overall conference and organizational success. This is an elected position.
Studying abroad is a transformative experience that can expose you to different cultures and perspectives. Through careful planning with your advisor, you can take part in one of UConn's many study abroad programs while potentially earning credits toward your major. Examples of programs include:
- Summer Collective Action for Social & Migrant Justice in the Borderlands, where you will spend 10 days engaging with human rights organizations at the U.S./Mexico border.
- Winter in Costa Rica, a three-week winter program where you'll travel the country and meet professionals working in human rights.
- National University of Singapore, where you can take courses in topics like International Relations of Northeast Asia and Governance & Politics of Singapore.