Photo of Merrill College by Don Kenny.


The most significant purpose of the politics major is to help educate a reflective and activist citizenry capable of sharing power and responsibility in a contemporary democracy. Courses address issues central to public life, such as democracy, power, freedom, political economy, social movements, institutional reforms, and how public life, as distinct from private life, is constituted.

Degrees Offered

  • B.A.
  • Minor
  • Ph.D.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.A., Ph.D.; undergraduate Politics minor, graduate Politics designated emphasis
  • Combined Politics/Latin American and Latino studies undergraduate major available
  • UCDC Program in Washington, D.C. Spend a quarter at the UC campus in Washington, D.C., study and gain experience in an internship, politics.ucsc.edu/undergraduate/ucdc
  • 3+3 B.A./J.D. program with UC Hastings, an accelerated program to earn a B.A. and a J.D. in six years. 3plus3.ucsc.edu

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

No specific courses at the high school level are required for admission to the major in politics at UC Santa Cruz. Courses in history, literature, philosophy, and the social sciences, whether taken at the high school or college level, are appropriate background and preparation for the politics major.

Information for Transfers

Transfer students will find it helpful to complete college courses that satisfy UC Santa Cruz general education requirements. Courses from other institutions may be considered for the politics major only if they appear on the student’s transfer credit list on the MyUCSC portal. Students are allowed to substitute only one course taken elsewhere to satisfy a Politics Department lower-division requirement. Students should discuss the process with the department adviser.

California community college students may complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) before transferring to UC Santa Cruz.

Transfer course agreements between UC and California community colleges can be accessed at ASSIST.ORG.


  • Administrative analysis
  • Campaign management
  • Congressional staffing
  • Foreign service
  • Government service
  • International business
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Legislative research
  • Lobbying
  • Policy analysis
  • Political science
  • Public administration
  • Secondary school and college teaching

These are only samples of the field’s many possibilities.


We encourage students to attend EAP, UCDC, and other study opportunities. If students begin planning early in their academic career, they will be able to complete the politics major requirements, as well as attend EAP, UCDC, etc. Students should meet with the undergraduate advisor to discuss their plans and to ensure their timely completion of requirements. 

Alumni Focus

Dana Priest (B.A., politics, ’81), a Washington Post reporter, has won two Pulitzer Prizes: one in 2008 for her exposé of the mistreatment of wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital, and one in 2006 for her reporting on the U.S. government’s secret “black site” prisons, which also won her a George Polk award in 2006. Her 2003 book, The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America’s Military, critiques the trend toward soldier-peacekeepers. 

Department Website

General Catalog Information

More Information

University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Email: politics@ucsc.edu