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 abroad.

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

Internships and Study Abroad

Political science students have always been among the highest participators in study abroad, gaining life-changing, career-shaping experiences through internships abroad to learn firsthand about foreign and international politics, particularly in the London Program’s Parliamentary Internships option. To learn about federal, state and local government in the U.S., internship programs are also available in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Des Moines. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.

Liberal Arts and Management

Study abroad experience led Amy Coughenour ’87 to an international career as CEO of a high-tech nonprofit.


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

  • Acting lieutenant governor, Des Moines
  • Staff and legislative assistant to Senator Tom Harkin, Washington, D.C.
  • State public defender, Des Moines
  • Owner of Link Strategies (Political Consulting Firm), Des Moines
  • Iowa State House Republican caucus secretary, Des Moines
  • Political science professor, Penn State University, University Park, Penn.
  • Political science professor, Allegheny College, Meadville, Penn.
  • Associate legislative research analyst, Office of the Tennessee Comptroller
  • Paralegal, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Houston, Texas

Green to Host City Council Forum with Bob Leonard

Andrew Green, professor of political science, will co-host a forum of potential Pella City Council candidates.


  • 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 at our study abroad sites, including at the British Parliament, United Nations and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

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., Professor of Political Science
  • 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
  • Study abroad and/or career-related internships

Junior Year

  • Major electives
  • Study abroad and/or career-related internships

Senior Year

  • Research Seminar
  • Major electives
  • Study abroad 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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