25 Merrill College

(831) 459-2855



Programs Offered

Politics B.A.

Politics Minor

Politics Ph.D.

Politics Designated Emphasis

Other Programs of Interest

Latin American and Latino Studies/Politics Combined Major

Legal Studies


The study of politics is the exploration of the ways human communities shape and share a common life through their institutional practices, ideas, interests, and expectations. It looks at the way collective decisions are made, and at the obstacles citizens meet as they try to forge a shared and just life. Courses address issues central to public life, such as democracy, power, freedom, political economy, social movements, international law and conflict, institutional reforms, and how public life, as distinct from private life, is constituted. In describing the department and major at UC Santa Cruz, we use the term ‘politics’ (rather than ‘political science’ or ‘government’) because the study of political life requires a more inclusive approach than that associated solely with the discipline of political science, and because politics happens in places other than governments.

The programs offered by the UCSC Politics Department are designed to acquaint students with a broad range of issues studied by those in the field. The department offers an undergraduate major, a minor, a combined Latin American and Latino studies/politics major, and a doctoral degree. The Politics Department also houses the Legal Studies Program.

The Politics Department also encourages students to pursue additional academic opportunities while at UCSC. Possible programs include: the UCDC Program, a one-quarter program at the UC campus in Washington, D.C. that includes coursework and an internship, UCSAC, a one-quarter program at UC Center in Sacramento, the UCSC/UC Hastings Law School 3 Plus 3 program in which students earn B.A. and J.D. degrees in six years, and the Education Abroad Program (UCEAP).