Political Science Major


Your college years are an exciting time in your life — a time to figure out who you are, what you want to do, and how to get there. You’ll be making a lot of important decisions at UW-Madison that will shape your future. These may be difficult choices, but you are not alone! Your advisers are here to help you learn the skills you need to tackle the big questions.

Our Department has professionals to advise you on: program planning, internship opportunities, study abroad programs, student research interests, transfer and study abroad credits, and more.


Cassie Chulick

Position title: Undergraduate Advisor

Email: cassie.chulick@wisc.edu

Phone: (608) 263-2396

303 North Hall

Amy Gangl

Position title: Director of Undergraduate Studies

Email: agangl@wisc.edu

Phone: (608) 263-2028

302 North Hall

Rachel Margolies

Position title: Undergraduate Coordinator

Email: rachel.margolies@wisc.edu

Phone: (608) 262-5639

301 North Hall

PS academic advising will be held in-person in our North Hall offices unless otherwise noted as a “Remote Advising Appointment” in the appointment type when you search for appointments in Starfish. We have designated options available for both appointment types, though the majority of which take place in-person.

The Political Science Department is located in North Hall, the oldest building on campus. Due to its age, this building is not accessible to individuals with mobility disabilities and does not have an elevator or accessible restroom. Faculty, instructors, and staff will accommodate those for whom North Hall presents a disability-related barrier to ensure equal opportunity for all students to attend office hours, advising, and other department-related events.


All currently declared students and current UW-Madison undergraduate students interested in the Political Science major are welcome to schedule an appointment. Advising appointments can be made through Starfish. You can access Starfish from your MyUW dashboard.

To add the Starfish app:

  1. Login to MyUW
  2. Search for Starfish
  3. Click Add to home for easy access
  4. Launch the app

Please click this link for instructions on how to use Starfish.

Our PS Peer Advisors are available to discuss internship resources, PS classes, future semesters, Wisconsin in Washington, double majors, certificates, and anything else that might be on your mind.

Samantha Sheanin: My name is Samantha Sheanin and I am a senior majoring in Political Science, International Studies, and getting a certificate in Public Policy. I’m from Berkeley, California, and my academic interests specifically include international law, foreign policy, and terrorism. This past summer, I interned in the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. while I was on the Wisconsin in Washington program. I plan to attend law school in the Fall of 2024 after working for a year after graduation (hopefully in D.C.!). I can’t wait to meet you all this year!

Contact Information: Email samantha.sheanin@wisc.eduSchedule an appointment with Samantha

Julia Nestel: Hi! My name is Julia Nestel and I am a senior double majoring in Political Science and Spanish! I am originally from Bethesda, Maryland which is a suburb outside of Washington, DC. I declared my Political Science Major during my first year on campus and spent the Spring Semester of my junior year studying abroad in Barcelona. I have been a research assistant within the Political Science Department for the last two years for Professor Barry Burden, Ph.D. candidate Kennia Coronado, and now Professor Ryan Owens. I am also a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, a pre-law fraternity, and am on a pre-law track myself!

Contact Information: Email jnestel@wisc.edu | Schedule an Appointment with Julia


Majors in political science obtain a broader understanding of the world, but also develop important skills in critical thinking and analysis. Students who major in political science will emerge better prepared to make professional choices. These skills are indispensable in any career path you decide to pursue.
The Political Science major is concerned with exploring the exercise of power in its myriad forms and consequences. Students in the major are encouraged to explore such central issues as the ethical problems attendant to the exercise of power; the impact of historic, economic, and social forces on the operation of politics; the functioning and distinctive features of the US political system; the diversity of political systems found among nations of the world and the significance of these differences; the interaction among international actors and the causes of war and peace. When you study political science you gain practical knowledge, intellectual depth, and conceptual tools to pursue careers in law, business, journalism, public service, and education.

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