Public Affairs

Public Affairs Bachelor of Arts Degree (B.A.) in Political Science

About Public Affairs

Make an impact on the public policy that shapes our communities.

Policy decisions at the local, state and federal levels affect the lives of every citizen. The public affairs concentration at PennWest California lets you focus your bachelor’s degree in political science on important areas such as public policy, public administration, nonprofit management and government service.

As local governments become more professional, demand has grown for political science graduates with a broad knowledge base and applied skills in public policy and public administration. The 21-credit public affairs concentration at PennWest California gives political science majors a competitive edge when seeking employment or applying to graduate school.

Turn your convictions into a rewarding career in politics or public service.

Student interest in public affairs has increased in recent years. Analysts attribute the trend to a heightened awareness of how political decisions affect our everyday lives and a “shift in values” that has drawn students to public service. Students also realize that a political science degree with a concentration in public affairs can lead to employment in government service, where many positions offer job security and other benefits.

The public affairs concentration at PennWest California is one of just a handful of undergraduate political science programs nationwide with a focus on public policy and public administration. PennWest California’s bachelor’s degree program offers a blend of theoretical and applied coursework in public affairs to prepare students for graduate-level studies or employment in the public or private sectors of the workforce. 

Many PennWest California students in the political science degree program go on to pursue advanced degrees in public policy or public administration, law degrees, or dual degrees such as a Juris Doctorate and Master of Public Administration or a J.D. and Master of Arts.


Career-ready skills: Political science majors with bachelor’s degrees are among the most employable liberal arts students. Those who select PennWest California’s public affairs concentration develop a broad knowledge base as they discover the impact of public policy on a community’s social and economic future. Students in the public affairs concentration also develop proficiency in skills that employers value, including:

Internship opportunities: Students in the public affairs concentration can apply to programs including The Harrisburg Internship Semester (THIS), the Pennsylvania House Fellowship program, and The Washington Center internship program. These selective internship programs allow students to gain hands-on experience and participate the inner workings of government or nongovernmental organizations.

Learn more about applying

Median annual wage for full-time workers under age 35 in political science and government, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Percentage of political science graduates who are employed or attending graduate school, based on respondents to a survey by PennWest California’s Career and Professional Development Center.
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Degree Benefits

At PennWest California, the bachelor’s degree program in political science with a concentration in public affairs provides a broad education in the liberal arts, plus applied skills in areas such as public policy and public administration. Courses in the concentration have an applied focus; for example, the Public Sector Personnel Management course examines administrative theories and practices, public-sector employment law, diversity recruitment and labor relations.

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Graduate Outcomes

The American Political Science Association reports that career options for political science majors include positions in business and finance, government service and public administration, international affairs, nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations, journalism and media, and public relations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that salaries range from approximately $43,700 to $162,500, depending on the position and location.

Political Science: Public Affairs (B.A.)
A PennWest California faculty member teaches a history course.

Faculty Expertise

Courses in the B.A. in Political Science: Public Affairs degree program are taught by award-winning professors with expertise in fields such as political parties and elections, judicial politics and policy, and international relations. PennWest California faculty who teach courses in this concentration are recognized experts in political science — but above all, they are committed to excellence in teaching.

The Quad at PennWest California.

Campus Connections

Political science majors with junior standing and a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher are eligible for membership in Pi Alpha Sigma, the National Political Science Honors Society. Students in the public affairs program also may participate in student organization such as College Democrats, College Republicans and Cal Campaign Consultants, which teaches students the basics of campaign strategy, voter mobilization, graphic design and debate techniques.

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American Democracy Project

The American Democracy Project is a multi-campus initiative focused on higher education's role in preparing informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. PennWest California’s campus chapter is recognized for its extensive programming, including issues forums, CampaignWatch and ElectionWatch events, and the popular Election Analysis Forum, which brings a panel of nationally recognized political science experts to campus after presidential and midterm elections. Political science professor Dr. Melanie Blumberg has led PennWest California’s chapter since 2003.

Political Science: Public Affairs Courses

Example Courses
  • Public Policy
  • Intergovernmental Relations
  • Public Administration
  • Public Sector Organizational Theory and Behavior
  • Public Sector Personnel Management
  • Public and Nonprofit Strategic Planning
  • Administrative Law

B.A., Political Science Relevant Courses

  • Political Science
  • Pre-law