Political Science - Public Service Major

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The Political Science - Public Service major is for students who wish to concentrate on the means by which policy is formulated, implemented, evaluated and interpreted.


In contrast to the Political Science major, the Political Science - Public Service major has an internship requirement and focuses specifically on the American political system. Students may choose from among internship opportunities with political, governmental and nonprofit organizations encompassing a wide range of activities and interests.

  • Major Requirements
  • Download the major requirements checklist.

    Check out our major overview video and presentation, where our 2023-24 peer advisor RJ provides a general overview of the components of the Political Science - Public Service major, including the internship and research requirements!
  • Internship & Research Requirements
  • The Political Science – Public Service major requires 6 units of a policy-based internship experience. Internships can be spread out over two quarters, or completed in one. There are several options for fulfilling the requirement:

    Quarter or summer program. The UC Davis Washington Program (UCDC) and UC Center Sacramento Program (UCCS) are quarter-long programs that give students the opportunity to spend a quarter in Washington D.C. or downtown Sacramento respectively, to participate in an internship and take policy-focused courses at the UC Center in D.C. or in Sacramento. Participating in one of these programs is one option to fulfill the internship requirement. UCDC and UCCS also offer summer programs. Please note that you must apply in advance and be accepted to these programs in order to participate. Visit their websites for more information. If you plan to participate in either of these programs to fulfill your internship requirement, please make sure to discuss your plans with a major advisor.

    Independent internship. Students can also fulfill their internship requirement by participating in an independent internship. In order to complete the internship requirement through an independent internship, students must secure their own internship related to their field of study (political science, public service, politics, policy, government, etc.) Once they have secured an internship, students can apply to receive internship credit units during the quarter in which you complete your internship, under POL 192. You can find more information and apply on the internships in political science page. Please note this credit is not available over the summer. Students are encouraged to discuss plans for an independent internship with their major advisor to ensure they meet the requirements.

    The Political Science – Public Service major also requires 2-4 units of research in practical politics. This requirement can be fulfilled through the UC Davis Washington Program or UC Center Sacramento Program. Please note that the Washington Program does not offer the research seminar during their summer program. If you do not complete the research requirement through one of these programs, you will need to fulfill the requirement by taking POL 193 at UC Davis. POL 193 is an independent, policy-oriented research project, guided by a faculty instructor for the course, that students must complete in the quarter during or quarter following their internship. POL 193 is offered fall, winter, and spring quarters. You can find more information and apply to take POL 193 on the internships in political science page. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss plans to complete the research requirement with a major advisor.

    To learn more about the Political Science – Public Service requirements, watch our video here. Please also utilize the advising resources available to you on our advising center page.

  • Career Paths
  • The Political Science - Public Service major offers excellent preparation for careers in municipal, state and federal elected office and support staff, advocacy, the legal profession, journalism, market research, public relations, urban policy planning, academics, political consulting, diplomacy, policy analysis and other fields.
  • Exceptional Internships
  • Political Science - Public Service students are required to complete an internship and research experience as a part of the major requirements. At UC Davis, there are incomparable internship opportunities for PPS majors that can place you in the middle of legislative and policymaking action at the local, state, or federal levels.

    The UC Sacramento Center, only one block from the California State Capitol, immerses participating students in the processes of formulating public policy and legislation in California. The UC Davis Washington Program similarly offers students the opportunity to combine course work, exciting field research and unparalleled internship experiences during a quarter's residence in Washington, D.C.

    Through either program, students can take advantage of internship opportunities in a wide variety of focus areas, including health care, civil rights, elementary and secondary education, higher education, public safety, environmental regulations, agriculture, water resources, criminal law, poverty, immigration, privacy, animal rights, small business, taxation, international trade, Second Amendment rights, political reform, energy, child abuse, women's rights, legislative reform, local government, veterans affairs, fiscal reform and other specialized areas. Both programs offer invaluable opportunities for completing the internship and research components of the major.

    Students can also earn academic credit for an internship in the political science or public service sectors outside of these programs. 

    For more information about internships in Political Science, click here to go to our Internships page.