Speaker Talking at an Event

Political Science

Gain the knowledge and real-world experiences you need to become an active, responsive citizen and leader.

Why Study Political Science?

As a political science major at USD, you will learn to think creatively and collaborate effectively to solve the problems of our ever-changing world. Here you will find a variety of experiential learning opportunities ranging from internships on Capitol Hill to study abroad trips to Ireland, New Zealand, Tunisia and other destinations. Our program provides you with rich experiences in and beyond the classroom so you can pursue your career in politics and government, law, mass media or another public or administrative profession.

Become a civic leader who can face tomorrow's challenges with expertise, poise and thoughtfulness as a political science major.

Degrees & Offerings

Political Science (B.A., B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

A degree in political science prepares you for careers in politics and government, law, mass media and other public or administrative professions.

Political Science (B.A., B.S.) with Secondary Education Certification

  Vermillion Main Campus

A degree in political science prepares you for careers in politics and government, law, mass media and other public or administrative professions.

Political Science

  Vermillion Main Campus

A minor in political science will help you develop critical thinking and leadership skills that will serve you in any career. This program is a great complement to a variety of majors, including criminal justice, legal studies, history, economics and media & journalism.

Program Details






Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.

Student Opportunities

As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

The real-world experiences you gain through an internship will equip you with valuable skills that will set you apart after graduation. 

In the USD Department of Political Science, you will benefit from a robust internship program that has placed students with the United Nations, U.S. Congress, Department of State, British Parliament, state legislatures, governor’s office and many other notable offices. Our Farber Fund can help you with the expenses of these opportunities; each year, we provide eligible students up to $6,000 each to support their professional and personal development outside the classroom. Plus, with our network of alumni around the world, you can access invaluable advice on how to achieve the career of your dreams.

Do you have your sights set on Washington, D.C.? Italy? Turkey? New Zealand? Russia? The USD Department of Political Science can help you get there. Our students have participated in conferences and faculty-led courses around the world, and our Farber Fund helps make those experiences affordable.

Learn More

USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including several that are housed in the Department of Political Science. You may be interested in joining College Democrats, College Republicans, the Political Science League or the political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha to make friends, develop new skills and explore your interests.

Explore Student Organizations

As a political science student at USD, you can pursue unique research and creative scholarship opportunities that will enrich your college experience.

Undergraduate students who are interested in public service careers should consider working with the Government Research Bureau (GRB). The GRB is an academic research organization that combines intellectual risk-taking with current research methods to analyze issues affecting the the people, communities and government of South Dakota.

Additional opportunities are available through the Chiesman Center for Democracy, which supports research and civic education activities addressing the on-going challenges to American democracy.

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in political science.
Tom Brokaw Robert Legvold Aalfs Auditorium speaking event

Political Science

Whether you are interested in a career in government and politics, law, the criminal justice system, international relations or a related field, the real-world experiences and connections you find in the Department of Political Science will help you get there.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know faculty and staff in the Department of Political Science. Our faculty are experts in their fields, contributing research and scholarship in American government, criminology, victimology, international human rights, gender politics, race/ethnicity in politics, comparative political economy, international law and more. They bring practical experience in government, law and the private sector to the classroom.
Bio Image for Faculty Member David Earnest

David Earnest

Chair, Political Science/Director of the Farber Center/Professor


International Political Economy
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jenna Borseth

Jenna Borseth

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Michael Card

Michael Card

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member April Carrillo

April Carrillo

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Ilmira Dulyanova

Ilmira Dulyanova

Director of Online Graduate Programs & Coordination
Bio Image for Faculty Member Matthew Fairholm

Matthew Fairholm

Coordinator-Graduate Programs, Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Edwin Gerrish

Edwin Gerrish

Coordinator-MPA, Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Julia Hellwege

Julia Hellwege

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Joshua Houy

Joshua Houy

Senior Lecturer
Bio Image for Faculty Member Eric Jepsen

Eric Jepsen

Coordinator-Undergraduate Studies, Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Sandy Mckeown

Sandy Mckeown

Coordinator-Criminal Justice
Bio Image for Faculty Member Thomas Mrozla

Thomas Mrozla

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Shane Nordyke

Shane Nordyke

Coordinator, Chieseman Center/Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Timothy Schorn

Timothy Schorn

Coordinator-International Studies, Associate Professor
Students listening to a lecture and writing.

Gain Real-World Experience

Each year, the Department of Political Science puts more than $100,000 of funding toward student internships, study abroad experiences, research and conference participation and student organizations.
Student Talking During Mock Trial

Chase Your Dream Career

Whether you want to hit the campaign trail, apply for law school, enter the private sector or pursue another career path, a degree in political science from USD will set you up for success. 

The accomplishments of our students and alumni speak for themselves. Our students are leaders on campus and at student conferences, and our graduates have transitioned straight into jobs in their chosen fields around the state, region and country. Graduates have received funding to attend prestigious law schools and graduate schools from coast to coast. 

Surprisingly Affordable

USD offers low tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, as well as scholarships, financial aid and employment opportunities to help make your education even more affordable.

Undergraduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Undergraduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees. 

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.


USD awards nearly $9.5 million in scholarships each year. View our scholarships to see which ones you may qualify for and how you can apply.

Alum Success Story

Success story Belma Husakovic smiling.
What I liked most about the program is that there is a wide array of classes you can take, all of which are led by amazing professors who are dedicated in seeing their students succeed. There’s also always the opportunity to learn about (and apply for) different internships that both align with your studies as a Political Science student and also help you determine which career path you’d want to take following graduation.

Belma Husakovic

B.A. Political Science '20
Talent Acquisition, Sanford Health
Sioux Falls, SD

Take the Next Step