Get the information you need for academic planning and connect with experiences to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes that employers are seeking.

This resource is meant as a guide to provide suggestions throughout your time at university (refer to the Academic Calendar for a complete list of program requirements). Develop a plan and timeline that suits you best. Make intentional choices for your courses and work experiences.

  • Photo of Laura Conrad
  • Student spotlight

    “Get involved. Volunteer at the annual Political Studies Students Conference, run for a seat on the Student Council, apply for the Undergraduate Research Award and work with one of the incredible professors in the department. There are so many opportunities within the department, so look for them and then take advantage of them!”

    Laura Conrad, political studies student

Political Studies at UM

Political Studies (also known as Political Science) examines the dynamics of human interaction in which individuals and groups compete to achieve their goals. The study of politics involves a consideration of the interactions between the individual, the state, government, public affairs and public policy.

As a political studies student in the Faculty of Arts, you will explore the dynamics of these interactions in the context of competing visions, values and interests, particularly in the pursuit of varying public goals, including the quest for political power and the control of government. The department of political studies has many opportunities for you to explore, with the ability to specialize in one of the following areas: political theory, Canadian politics, international relations, comparative politics or public administration.

Skills you will gain by studying POLITICAL STUDIES

  • An enhanced awareness of the political process, a greater sense of personal involvement and an increased willingness to accept the responsibilities of democratic citizenship
  • The ability to collect, analyze and interpret data using statistical analysis and make reasoned judgments on the basis of the available data
  • The ability to think critically and understand political problems and systems according to concepts of political theory
  • The ability to communicate effectively and express your ideas both verbally and in writing

Political Studies Coop Program 

There are substantial benefits to enrolling in a co-op program during your undergraduate degree. 

The training and experience you receive during your co-op work term, combined with your academic knowledge, will better prepare you for your professional career. You will also have an opportunity to explore different career pathways and develop industry contacts. 

Year 1 - 30 credit hours

ACADEMIC SUCCESS

Course requirements:
6 credit hours in political studies courses numbered at or above the 1000 level

To do this year:

  1. Know the requirements for your degree. Meet with an academic advisor in the Faculty of Arts to help you plan your program.
  2. If you need academic support, visit the Academic Learning Centre for workshops or to meet with a learning skills instructor.

CAREER TIPS

Start planning your career:

  1. Meet with a career consultant to generate career ideas based on your interests, values, personality and skills.
  2. Research occupations that match your skills and interests.
  3. Set up a careerCONNECT account to view job postings and register for workshops and events.
  4. Register for the Co-Curricular Record (CCR), an official record of university-approved activities.

VOLUNTEER & WORK EXPERIENCE

Link experiences to your career interests. Options include:

  1. Student groups including Undergraduate Political Studies Students’ Association, Model United Nations, Arts Student Body Council and UMSU.
  2. Join the University of Manitoba Volunteer Program or Student Leadership Development Program.
  3. Student work opportunities including Work-StudySTEP Services or Federal Student Work Experience Program.
  4. Experiential education opportunities such as Alternative Reading Week Winnipeg.

CULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES

Considering international opportunities?
Attend World Opportunities Week in November for information about opportunities around the world.

Explore communities and cultures you want to work with: Visit the Manitoba Institute for Policy Research, the International CentreMigizii Agamik or learn about local agencies via the Manitoba Contact Guide.

Year 2 - 60 credit hours

ACADEMIC SUCCESS

Course requirements:
Honours: 21 credit hours in POLS at the 2000 level

Advanced:  30 credit hours in POLS at the 2000 level or above

General: 18 credit hours in POLS at or above the 2000 level

To do this year:

  1. Should you follow a 3-or 4- year plan? Meet with an academic advisor and career consultant to map out your options.
  2. Consider choosing a second language for your minor to enhance your employability prospects upon graduation.

CAREER TIPS

Make professional connections:

  1. Join the Career Mentor Program to learn from professionals.
  2. Attend career fairs to connect with employers.
  3. Become a student affiliate with the American or Canadian Political Science Association.
  4. Attend the annual Political Studies Students’ Conference.

Market your skills: Develop your resumé and cover letter and refine your interview skills.

VOLUNTEER & WORK EXPERIENCE

Explore student research opportunities: Apply for an Undergraduate Research Award.

Gain practical experience by volunteering: Check out the Volunteers in Public Service (VIPS) program, Manitoba Legislative or volunteer abroad through the AIESEC Global Citizenship program.

Find opportunities to market yourself: Become a Faculty of Arts Student Ambassador.

Check out political studies co-op program to gain 12 months of paid work experience. 

CULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES

Develop global career skills and expand intercultural learning: Consider an international student exchange or Travel Study program, Alternative Reading Week BelizeStudents Without Borders internship, My World Abroad or SWAP for a "working holiday".

Staying local? Check out the World W.I.S.E. Ambassador Program or Praxis: Service-Learning for Social Change. Consider learning a new language and about a new culture through the Volunteer Language Exchange Program.

 

Year 3 - 90 credit hours

ACADEMIC SUCCESS

Course requirements:
Honours: POLS 3950 plus 21 credit hours POLS at the 3000 level

Advanced: 12 credit hours in POLS at the 3000 level or above 

General: 6 credit hours in POLS at or above the 3000 level

To do this year:

  1. Meet with a political studies advisor for honours program approval.
  2. Confirm eligibility to graduate with an academic advisor and declare intent to graduate in Aurora (3-year option).

CAREER TIPS

Investigate your career options:

  1. Look at sample job postings to ensure you have the qualifications upon graduation.
  2. Develop employability and essential skills sought by employers.
  3. Create a LinkedIn profile to network with professionals.
  4. Explore supports available to entrepreneurs for business planning such as Business Start Program.

Consider continuing your studies: Check out the Faculty of Graduate StudiesExtended Education or other academic institutions.

VOLUNTEER & WORK EXPERIENCE

Continue or start research: Participate in the Undergraduate Research Poster Competition and/or submit a paper to the Manitoba Policy Perspectives Journal.

Check out student job opportunities with: Canadian Border Services AgencyGlobal Affairs Canada or UMSU elections.

Search for job opportunities online: Check out DevexJob BankFind My JobIndeed or other search engines.

Use your networks and connections: Inquire about unadvertised job openings (the "hidden job market").

CULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES

Did you travel abroad? Write an article about your experience for World W.I.S.E magazine.

Participate in the multicultural opportunities on campus: Attend International Week, participate in the Intercultural Development and Leadership Program, volunteer for the International Student Mentorship Program or take part in Graduation Pow Wow.

Year 4 - 120 credit hours

ACADEMIC SUCCESS

Course requirements:
Honours: 18 credit hours in POLS at the 4000 level plus 3 credit hours at the 3000 level.

Advanced: Complete any remaining requirements. 

To do this year:

  1. Meet with a political studies advisor for honours program approval.
  2. Confirm eligibility to graduate with an academic advisor and declare intent to graduate in Aurora (3-year option).

CAREER TIPS

Start job search 9 months in advance:
Contact Career Services to refine your job search and self-marketing strategies. You can visit the office up to 6 months after graduation.

If you are continuing on to graduate school:
Finalize your application materials and required tests. Use the awards database to search for funding and awards to help finance your continuing education. Contact your department to find out how their awards deadlines are advertised.

VOLUNTEER & WORK EXPERIENCE

Ensure you have references in place: Ask your professor for a reference or a letter of recommendation if you're applying for graduate school.

Assess your resumé: Identify any gaps in experience and fill them through volunteering, work placements or internships such as the Manitoba Legislative Internship Program, Mission Internship Program or UN Young Professionals Programme.

CULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES

Prepare to work in a multicultural environment:
Visit Canada's National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation on campus or register for a Workplace Cultural Competence Workshop through Extended Education.

Check out new graduate programs such as the UN Young Professionals Program.

Sample Jobs

Sample jobs with an undergraduate degree and related experience

Options requiring other education

 

What do employers want?

Industries such as education, government, law and politics would value a political studies degree in combination with the employability skills that are highly sought after by employers. These include:*

  • Oral and written communication
  • Analytical skills
  • Numeracy and data use
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Digital technology
  • Information management
  • Continuous learning

*Information has been adapted from Employability Skills 2000+ and Workplace Education Manitoba – Essential Skills.

Details of that report can be found here.

Get one-on-one help

  • Meet with a career consultant

    Drop-in to see a career consultant for a confidential discussion about your career strategy, CV, job search and interview preparation. Drop-in sessions last 30-45 minutes and are available on a first-come, first-served basis:

    • Mon: 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    • Tues: 1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    • Wed: 1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    • Thurs: 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m

    You can also call 204-474-9456 to make an appointment at the Fort Garry or Bannatyne campus.

  • Talk to an academic advisor

    Talk to an academic advisor who will guide you to resources to help you make important decisions for your future. Advisors are specialized, often by program, faculty/school or unit.

    Find your advisor

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Career Compass

Use Career Compass as a guide to develop a strong connection between your studies and your occupational choices. It will provide you with suggestions for academic and career planning specific to your program.

Information for career counsellors

Political studies program, Faculty of Arts

532 Fletcher Argue Building
15 Chancellors Circle
(204) 474-9733, Political.Studies@umanitoba.ca
umanitoba.ca/political_studies