Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences

Political Science


Political science at UH West O‘ahu is distinctive in the inclusiveness of its concerns. It differs from the other social sciences in drawing from all the disciplines, from psychology and anthropology to history and philosophy, in offering a ‘big picture’ perspective on our public and private lives. The discipline goes beyond simply understanding the way things are, to an ethical consideration of ‘what could and should be.’ In this sense a political science education is transformational, enlightening the political culture and strengthening democracy. Today the big picture allows us to see our most pressing local problems as increasingly influenced by global economic and environmental forces in a world where multinational corporations are becoming more powerful than nation-states. At the same time there is a move back to localism in all its positive and negative aspects from place-based community building and identity politics to xenophobic ethnic nationalism and militant sectarianism. New electronic information technologies and social media are giving individuals and non-governmental organizations unprecedented access to the global stage in shaping politics. The goal of the program is to offer students an in-depth understanding of this rapidly changing landscape as a frame for self-understanding. In so doing, it helps students cultivate the motivation, skills, and creativity necessary for constructive participation in public life through civic engagement. Teaching strategies are personalized and promote holistic, democratic, active, service and multi-cultural modes of learning. All of this makes Political Science at UH West Oʻahu central to a well-rounded education. This also gives the degree wide application in most areas of public, personal, and work life.

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences with a concentration in Political Science will be encouraged to take an interdisciplinary and diverse selection of courses. Teaching is in-person and online. Students who have completed all lower division course credits may complete a bachelor’s degree in Political Science at UH West Oʻahu entirely online.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates with a concentration in Political Science from UH West O‘ahu will be able to:

  • Demonstrate effective writing skills about political systems and processes using a consistent citation style.
  • Demonstrate effective oral communication skills connecting personal experiences with an understanding of various political practices and civic engagement.
  • Demonstrate critical and integrative thinking skills in understanding the role of the individual from local to global politics.

Internships / Practicums

UH West O‘ahu Political Science students are encouraged to pursue internships that allow students to gain work experience in areas that connect their personal concerns and daily lives to the public sphere.

Students have successfully completed internships at:

  • Hawaiʻi State Governor’s Office
  • Hawaiʻi State Legislature
  • Congress
  • Honolulu City Council
  • Hawaiʻi Immigrant Justice Center
  • Maui Community Day Work Program
  • Hawaiʻi Island City Council
  • Planned Parenthood Hawaiʻi
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • National Tropical Botanical Garden
  • Department of Education, Waipahu Complex Schools

Careers and Earning Potential

A degree in Political Science prepares students for careers in business, local and national government, international relations, non-profit and non-governmental service organizations, journalism, law, public administration, social work and teaching.

Demand for political science research is growing because of increasing interest in global and local politics particularly regarding social, economic, immigration and environmental issues. UH West O‘ahu Political Science students find their study of connections between local government and the global bigger picture helpful in furthering the interests of non-profit, political lobbying, and social organizations. Salaries for political science graduates range widely, depending on the professional arena, reaching into six figures in government and academia.

For more information on careers and earning potential, visit the Hawaiʻi Career Explorer website.