Explore and analyze politics as part of the Political Science department at Inver Hills Community College, a top value educator for students in the Twin Cities
Political Science

Politics is people exercising power to decide what will be done on public matters. As a political science student, you will examine differing viewpoints and interest groups that often conflict on the nature and outcomes of public issues. You can study politics on the local, state, national or international levels.

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Political Science

Contact Information

Zachary Sullivan, Ed.D.
Political Science Instructor


Admissions Team

College Center

If you love politics and all things political, you can complete an A.A. degree with Emphasis in Political Science and transfer as a junior to a four-year college or university. Political science majors develop strong debating skills and an even stronger aptitude for civic engagement. Politics determines the state of our schools, food, infrastructure, environment, natural resources, criminal justice system and security. Political scientists excel at understanding the policies and decision-making that can exercise significant influence our daily lives.

The field of political science is typically divided into six distinct sub-disciplines:

  • Political theory
  • Comparative politics
  • Public administration
  • International relations
  • Public law
  • Political methodology

The political science curriculum at Inver Hills delivers courses that analyze political issues from global and national perspectives. You can also explore the nature of politics in Minnesota, constitutional law and environmental policies. Specialized courses are occasionally offered that investigate a current topic. You can complete an internship at an NGO or government organization, including the Minnesota state legislature.

Our political science instructors have tremendous experience in government functions and activities, legal analysis and public policymaking. Many former political science students at Inver Hills have become high school teachers, journalists and employees in the service of local, state and federal government. Some have run for elective office; others have enrolled in graduate or law school.


A.A. with Emphasis, Political Science – 60 credits

To prepare students interested in continuing political sciencerelated studies at subsequent colleges and universities and, ultimately, for a wide range of careers in federal, state and local governments; law; business; international organizations; nonprofit organizations; political campaign operation and polling; journalism; K-12 education; and university and college teaching and research.

Note: To earn the A.A. with Emphasis, students need to complete all requirements for a general A.A. degree incorporating the specific requirements of their chosen emphasis. Careful planning with an academic counselor is strongly suggested to tailor the emphasis to meet the requirements of the student’s chosen four-year institution.

Coursework   Program Planning Guide

Political Science Curriculum

Incorporate the following political science coursework into the requirements of an A.A. degree as part of the MnTC or within the elective category.

Course Number Title Credits
POLS 1111 OR
POLS 1101
American Politics & Government OR
Intro to Political Science
3 cr
Choose three additional courses from:
POLS 1111 American Politics and Government (MnTC Goals 5, 9)
POLS 1101 Intro to Political Science (MnTC Goals 5, 9)
POLS 1121 State and Local Government (MnTC Goals 5, 9)
POLS 1131 Intro to World Politics (MnTC Goals 5, 8)
POLS 1141 Intro to Environmental Politics (MnTC Goals 5, 10)
POLS 1161 Constitutional Law (MnTC Goals 5, 9)
POLS 1190 Political Science Field Experience

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum – 40 credits

Courses from the Political Science curriculum may be applied to the MnTC requirements. The specific requirements for the MnTC are outlined as part of the Associate of Arts degree. See A.A. degree requirements section of the catalog.

Electives – 18 credits

Courses from any department numbered 1000 or higher. Courses from the Political Science emphasis not applied to the MnTC should be incorporated into the elective category.

Health/Physical Education – 2 credits

The specific requirements for Health/Physical Education are outlined as part of the Associate of Arts degree. See A.A. degree requirements section of the catalog.

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Course Descriptions

POLS 1101  Introduction to Political Science   3.0 cr

Introduces students to major topics, approaches, and methods in Political Science with an emphasis on comparative analysis. Topics will include: purpose and methods of comparison and classification, understanding political processes and public policy (what is politics; purpose of government; common policy challenges). Specifically, you will explore the following foundational concepts: sovereignty, authority, power, institutions, citizenship, society, the state, and political and economic change. In your comparative exploration of the Political Science discipline and contemporary issues, you will critically examine your own political values, experiences and behaviors.

POLS 1111  Introduction to U.S. Politics   3.0 cr

Analyzes United States national government, political parties, campaigns and elections, public opinion, interest groups, media coverage and current political issues. The course will also examine principles of the Constitution, and the structure and behavior of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. In your exploration of contemporary U.S. domestic and foreign policy issues, you will critically examine your own political values, experiences and behaviors.

POLS 1121  State and Local Government   3.0 cr

Examines state and local government political institutions, behavior, public policies, tax and spending issues. The course will also analyze structure and behavior of state legislatures, governors, courts, and political parties, including the nomination and election process of state and local officials. The course emphasis will be on the Minnesota political system. In your exploration of contemporary Minnesota policy issues, you will critically examine your own political values, experiences and behaviors.

POLS 1131  World Politics   3.0 cr

Requires you to examine and compare the major issues, conflicts, and challenges facing today's global political environment. The course will focus on the following main topics: (1) causes and consequences of globalization, (2) the politics of intervention, (3) cooperation and conflict in global institutions, (4) development, foreign aid, and trade, (5) the politics of human rights and the environment, (6) the politics of arms races, and (7) contemporary case studies of international conflicts. You will learn about related institutions and processes, public policies, and social scientific theory while examining your own political values, experiences and behaviors.

POLS 1141  Introduction To Environmental Politics   3.0 cr

Requires you to critically consider and address the history, organizations, interest groups, and processes that shape domestic and global environmental issues. The course will focus primarily on the following areas of study: (1) political and policy processes, (2) the public lands debate, (3) the politics of waste and toxins, (4) the politics of energy, (5) the politics of water, (6) the politics of air quality, (7) the politics of endangered species and biodiversity, (8) the politics of global environmental issues, (9) the politics of human population growth, and (10) the politics of environmental sustainability. Using cutting-edge social scientific theory and research, you will be asked to examine your own political values, experiences and behavior regarding contemporary environmental problems and potential solutions.

POLS 1161  Introduction to Constitutional Law   3.0 cr

Provides students with an overview of the nature and scope of American Constitutional rights and liberties based upon the United States Constitution as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court. In your exploration of contemporary U.S. Constitutional issues, you will critically examine your own political values, experiences and behaviors.

POLS 1190  Political Science Internship   cr

Combines internship at a public policy-related governmental or non-governmental organization with an examination of power, politics, and leadership. Students are responsible for securing their own internship opportunity with the support and guidance of Political Science faculty. Students spend approximately three hours per credit per week at internship location, meet with faculty coordinator at least three times during the semester, develop specific learning goals with both faculty coordinator and internship site supervisor, and submit writing assignments that integrate Political Science concepts with internship experience. Must obtain permission from coordinating faculty member prior to registering for this course.

POLS 2250  Special Topics   3.0 cr

Teaches the individual and societal benefits of the continued study of political science. Students will learn about political institutions and processes, public policies, and social scientific theory while examining personal political values, experiences and behaviors. This course may be repeated under different topics.

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Transfer Information

The A.A. with Emphasis in Political Science at Inver Hills has an articulation agreement with the following four-year institution:

Metropolitan State University: B.A. in Social Science (Disciplinary Track: Political Science)

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Meet the Faculty

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Employment Information

Understanding the affairs of state

As a political science major, you will develop critical-thinking abilities, analytical skills, administrative know-how, mathematical competence and communication expertise essential to careers in numerous high-reward fields, including:

  • Federal government service
  • State government service
  • County government service
  • Local government service
  • Financial management
  • Fundraising
  • Law
  • Business
  • International relations
  • Public relations
  • Politics
  • Urban planning
  • Nonprofit, NGO and association work
  • Campaign management
  • Community service
  • Consulting
  • Polling
  • Journalism
  • Human resources
  • Electoral politics
  • Political research
  • University and college teaching

Political scientists develop exceptional knowledge in the following disciplines:

  • Economics
  • Law
  • Sociology
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Public administration
  • Public policy
  • National politics
  • International relations
  • Comparative politics
  • Psychology
  • Political organization
  • Political theory

Potential job titles

  • Government affairs researcher
  • Policy officer
  • Political advisor
  • Political aide
  • Political analyst
  • Political consultant
  • Political research scientist
  • Political science professor
  • Federal-state relations director
  • Strategist

Below are just a few examples of possible career paths that can start with earning an A.A. with Emphasis in Political Science at Inver Hills.

Additional resources

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Why Inver Hills?

Completing your A.A. with an Emphasis in Political Science degree obligations at Inver Hills is smart on several key levels:

  1. You will receive an excellent education with one-on-one interactions with political science faculty
  2. You will get firsthand experience working on real-world political science issues and projects
  3. You will save money and continue your academic and professional careers with less student debt *

* On a national scale, student loan debt has mushroomed to $1.2 trillion, which is greater than credit card debt and auto loan debt combined. In Minnesota, the average debt for four-year grads tops $30,000; 70 percent carry a student debt load.

Tuition and fees for one year at Inver Hills costs a little less than $5,300. Compare that to $15,000 to $20,000 at a for-profit college, or $40,000 to $50,000 at a private college or university. You can complete your first two years at Inver getting a topflight education firsthand from Ph.D. instructors and then transfer to a four-year as a junior all while saving thousands of dollars. It's a no-brainer.

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