Political Science

Central's political science program lets you benefit from professors’ expertise in areas such as American and international politics. This major is excellent preparation for graduate and law school, as well as a wide variety of careers in government, politics, law, business, mass media and education, as well as effective participation in civic and community affairs.

You'll learn about government rules and institutions, and how individuals and groups interact at local, state, national and international levels through coursework and practical experience. Political science students learn to do original research and undertake civic engagement projects that allow them to connect with professionals and develop a resume of experience. Many students also take part in experiential and service-learning projects or career-focused internships in Washington, D.C., Des Moines or while studying internationally.

Many political science majors study abroad or in Washington, D.C., through The Washington Center
of grads are placed in jobs, graduate school or volunteer service within six months
Less than an hour from the state capitol in Des Moines, many students intern or work in state government

The Central Difference

Off-Campus Experiences

Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.

Political science students have always been among the highest participators in off-campus experiences, gaining life-changing, career-shaping experiences through internships to learn firsthand about foreign and international politics.

Next Stop: Kazakhstan

Sarah Frese Nickel ’09 followed her eclectic education into a career in international business.


In fall 2009, the new 57,748-square-foot Roe Center opened to provide new classroom, office and instructional space for the political science, education, communication and psychology departments, along with Central’s nationally recognized community-based learning department.

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

Central College graduates have found successful careers in political science fields.

  • Melissa Charlton Carpenter ’18, Compliance Analyst, Principal Financial Group
  • Jordan Fox ’18, Associate Attorney, Kintzinger Law Firm
  • Jordan Rouse ’16, Assistant Blackhawk County Attorney, Black Hawk County Courthouse
  • Tyler Ernst ’13, Associate Attorney, LaMarca Law Group
  • Kendra Haack Weston ’12, Founder, Executive Director and Attorney, Lavender Legal Center
  • Adam Gregg ’06, Lieutenant Governor, State of Iowa

Central RED Welcomes Alumnus and Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor

Central Red welcomes Adam Gregg ’06, Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor.


  • Mock Trial
  • Student Senate
  • Pi Sigma Alpha (national honor society of political science)
  • College Republicans
  • Young Democrats

Graduate Placement

  • Ph.D. Program at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Ph.D. Program at The University of California, Riverside
  • Ph.D. Program at The University of Iowa
  • Ph.D. Program at The University of Arizona
  • Ph.D. Program at The University of Texas, Austin
  • Ph.D. Program at The University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • M.A. in Public Administration Program at The University of Kansas
  • M.A. in Public Policy Program at The University of Chicago
  • M.A. in Public Policy Program at George Washington University


We will work one-on-one with you to select and apply for an internship that will complement your courses and enhance your career prospects. Students are placed in governmental and non-governmental positions at local, state and national levels in the U.S., as well as in governmental and non-governmental positions through our off-campus experiences, including at the British Parliament, United Nations and U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.

Recent internship examples include:

  • Akerman Senterfitt, government relations department law firm, Washington, D.C.
  • British Parliament, London
  • Iowa Governor's Office, Des Moines
  • White House, Washington, D.C.
  • U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
  • Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chicago, Ill.
  • U.S. Embassy, Santiago, Chile
  • Iowa Attorney General's office, Des Moines
  • United Nations Commission International Trade and Law, Vienna, Austria
Central College student

Courses & Faculty

Political science courses prepare you for work in a variety of areas. Central offers courses in the major sub-fields of the discipline, including: American government and politics, public policy, international politics, comparative politics and research methods.

Central's expert faculty are leaders in their fields, conducting research and authoring papers and articles that expose students to the latest scholarship.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty

  • Andrew Green, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Institutional Research Director
  • Keith Yanner, B.A., Ph.D., Professor of Political Science
  • Jim Zaffiro, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Political Science

Sample Coursework

First Year

  • Introduction to American Politics
  • Introduction to International Politics
  • Core courses and electives

Sophomore Year

  • Methods of Political Research
  • Major electives
  • Core courses and electives
  • Off-campus experience and/or career-related internships

Junior Year

  • Major electives
  • Off-campus experience and/or career-related internships

Senior Year

  • Research Seminar
  • Major electives
  • Off-campus experience and/or career-related internships


Learn More

Want to find out more about Political Science at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.


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