The Department of Political Science at San Francisco State offers B.A. and M.A. degrees, and coursework in American politics, comparative politics, political theory, public law and quantitative research methods.
Our students reflect the diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area and bring their experiences, insights, and knowledge to the classroom. Our program is particularly strong in comparative/non-Western political theory, with a regional focus on Latin America, the Caribbean and China; in the politics and electoral behavior of traditionally under-represented groups, especially Latino/Latina communities; and in contentious politics and social movements. We have a growing public law program, a young but highly competitive Moot Court team, and much-valued judicial internships. We pride ourselves on rigorous and interdisciplinary research and engaged pedagogy.
Our students gain expertise in political issues that have absorbed thinkers throughout the ages, studying the causes and consequences of political developments ranging from local elections to armed uprisings.
Most of our classes are "brick-and-mortar" courses that take place in the traditional classroom, but we also offer many online courses. Some are taught with "live" scheduled class sessions via Zoom video technology, and others are fully asynchronous (no scheduled "live" times). No matter whether they are face to face or online, we always work to offer a highly interactive, rigorous, and rewarding class experience.
The Department of Political Science seeks to guide students towards becoming active and informed members of the community, locally and globally. We train students in four subfields — American Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Public Law and Public Administration — with the aim of increasing their knowledge of the historical and geographical specificity of political power, institutions, values and practices, as well the ways in which these can be transformed. Our faculty supports students as they learn to think and act as conscious and fully engaged political agents, committed to social justice and political transparency and participation. Students leave the classroom with the knowledge and skills to open doors to diverse career opportunities.
PLSI Facts and Figures
The SF State Department of Political Science is a mid-sized department within the College of Liberal & Creative Arts. We have around 500-600 undergraduate majors, 50-60 minors, and 25-35 M.A. students.
In 2020-21 we have 17 tenure-track and tenured faculty and another 12-14 long-term adjunct faculty who teach 1-3 classes per semester. Class sizes are typically between 20 and 50 students (true for both brick-and-mortar and online classes). Our ratio of tenure-track faculty-student ratio is around 30 to 1, though this ratio is closer to 15-1 when we include adjunct faculty (lecturers), who comprise an important part of our teaching staff.
Our student body is very diverse. As of spring 2020, about half of our majors identified as Hispanic/Latinx; 22 percent as white, 11 percent as Asian; and 7 percent as African-American. Around 60 percent of our undergraduate majors are women. A considerable number identify as LGBTQ. Nearly all our majors are California residents, but about a third come from southern California.