Political Science at California State University, Fullerton

For Accessible Web Version of Political Science

Is Political Science Right for You?

Whether your goal is to become an informed citizen, a community leader, or a player on the political scene, the major in political science will provide you with life-long skills well suited for a variety of career paths. Political scientists learn to apply sound reasoning and develop insightful critical thinking skills; they learn to do research and write intelligently about their findings; they develop the skills to work in collaborative groups and practice oral presentations. When our students leave Cal State Fullerton, they are prepared to excel in any field that seeks a well-rounded person with relevant, marketable skills.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Political Science?

Because of its emphasis on the processes of governments, many political science students seek careers in the public sector and in law. Our program has an excellent history of preparing students who go on to law schools, including programs at Harvard, Columbia and the University of California. Our graduates are city managers throughout California and are employed at every level of government. They also teach, do research, and enjoy careers in the Foreign Service, military, journalism, public relations, and business.

Learn More About a Degree in Political Science

We encourage you to learn more, and find out if a degree in Political Science is right for you! Visit our website or call to speak to an adviser who can answer all of your questions, and help lead you down the right path.

Talk to an Adviser

  • walk-in advisor’s email: pajadvising@fullerton.edu
  • or call: 657 278 3521

Julia Pavel

Recent Law School Graduate

Julia came to CSUF as a Political Science major. At that point in her educational career she was interested in developing her analytical, research, and writing skills while gaining a deeper understanding of the political topics that interested her.

Upon receiving her BA, Julia stayed on for the MA in Political Science program. For Julia, the program was a perfect fit, providing her with the opportunity to dive even deeper into the areas she was passionate about, while still giving her a well-rounded core curriculum.

Julia’s ultimate career goal has always been to become an attorney. And so, following the MA program, she entered law school. While in, and now after completing, law school and receiving her JD, the true value of her BA and MA have become increasingly apparent. “Having a solid background in topics such as constitutional law, civil rights, and due process gave me a strong foundation” Julia explains, “My degrees not only helped me while applying to law school by giving me a well-rounded application, but have also helped me tremendously when applying for internships and jobs.”

“I really enjoyed the variety of electives I was able to choose from, and the fact that I was able to customize my degrees to match my interests and my career goals.” Julia says, adding, “the caliber of professors, their attention to detail, and their passion for teaching the subject really enhance the program.” Just two of the many reasons that she highly recommends CSUF to anyone interested in pursuing a career in government, business, or simply wishing to further their studies in the field of Political Science.

Anthony Rendon

Speaker of the California State Assembly

Assemblyman Anthony Rendon can trace the spark that ignited a career passion for the environment back to a Cal State Fullerton classroom.

“It was my first exposure to environmental studies that later led to a decade of work in the environmental movement with the Los Angeles and statewide chapters of the League of Conservation Voters,” says Rendon ’82, ’94 (B.A. political science-public administration, M.A. political science).

Well before the speaker of the California State Assembly ran for political office, he prepared for a career as a nonprofit executive, challenging legislators to protect the environment, to value education and child care by investing in them, and to focus on California’s poor.

And he threw his hat in the ring because “the Legislature needed a voice that understood those issues and would fight for them,” says Rendon.

It’s as a Titan that Rendon says his eyes were opened to liberal arts courses and subjects in the humanities. “Art, literature and philosophy have become lifelong hobbies and passions,” he says.

As a graduate student in political science, he studied philosophy and government. Such a college experience once seemed lofty for a high school kid from Whittier who preferred punk music and soccer to studying. In retrospect, it was foundational.

“The experience wasn’t all that different from my current job, where we must be up to speed on a variety of policies — from the tax code to cybersecurity and insurance rates,” says Rendon, who went on to earn a doctorate at UC Riverside and completed postdoctoral work at Boston University.

Rendon, at the gavel since March, has the potential to serve eight years as speaker — longer than any speaker in the last 20 years — because of expanded term limits. He is now part of a club in which members’ tenures could stretch to 12 years in either chamber.

And his seat as speaker marks the first time both chambers of the California Legislature have been led by Latinos.

These “new” longtimers seem motivated to shift power from staffers and lobbyists to the lawmakers.

Although his acceptance speech included a pledge that he will not author bills this year, Rendon remains focused on the environment and education. He is eager to monitor how the 2013 Local Control Funding Formula shifts allocations of state funds to kindergarten through 12th-grade education.

“It’s our job to ensure it’s working as intended and that the appropriate funds are getting to students who most need the help,” Rendon says.

More can be done to improve access to affordable education, including at public universities, he adds.

“We must fulfill our responsibility to train students for the jobs of today, which means they must have access to education and training to be prepared for those jobs, as well as for their roles as informed and contributing members of their community,” he says.

When Rendon returned to CSUF to teach political science as a lecturer, his career and political aspirations offered new insight to students.

“I always reminded my students that all countries have an executive branch, but only democracies have a legislative branch,” he says. “The Legislature is the part of state government closest to the people, and it’s our responsibility to conduct the proper oversight of all government operations to ensure they are operating in an efficient and effective manner.”

Alumni Feature

Ronald Berdugo

Lobbyist, League of California Cities

"CSU Fullerton's political science professors and department will go above and beyond for its students that demonstrate a sincere enthusiasm in their academic and career pursuits."

“Other majors may be equally interesting, but learning about the allocation of limited resources and power was a priority for me.” says Ronald Berdugo. And for this reason, selecting Political Science as his major was an easy decision.

His passion is palpable, “Studying systems of government and political behavior, you learn that politics may be the only avenue where anyone with any background can have a meaningful impact on the public discourse.” Berdugo explains, citing grassroots protests and the cyclical fascinations that election years bring, “everyone seems to have an opinion on the right or wrong direction for their systems of government.”

“As a first generation Salvadoran, I've learned from my parents not to take anything for granted.” Berdugo recalls. A virtue that was evident in his ability to make the most of his time at CSUF. Berdugo believes that his degree gave him access to a career path that he might not otherwise have had, but that it was his ability to take advantage of the school’s additional resources that really got his foot in the door, and to where he is today.

Berdugo credits programs such as Model UN, the Cal State DC Program, and the Sacramento Semester program for propelling his career trajectory. He says he absolutely recommends a political science degree from CSUF, and advises new students to take advantage of every opportunity available to them while here, stating, “CSU Fullerton's political science professors and department will go above and beyond for its students that demonstrate a sincere enthusiasm in their academic and career pursuits.”

Contact Information

  • email: pajdiv@fullerton.edu
  • phone: 657 278 3521

About Our College and Campus

The Political Science program is a part of the larger College of Humanities and Social Sciences at CSU, Fullerton. H&SS offers its students more than 20 unique degree programs ideal for students who plan to continue their studies in graduate programs, or who want to work in areas such as education, law, politics, business, psychology, public administration, and more.

To learn more about our college and our campus, visit our Prospective Students and our College of Humanities and Social Sciences pages below.

Photo credits; Aerial view of Washington Monument by Carol M. Highsmith, CC BY-NC 2.0. Rhodes House by chensiyuan, CC BY-SA 4.0. All modified.

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