Law, International Policy, & Political Studies

Students looking to enter the world of law and political science are intrigued by current events, how laws are made, or the comparative structures of governments across the world. They learn how public policy is formulated and the impact of policy on the social and economic status of the populace. By pursuing one of these pathways, you will learn to protect civil liberties, defend the rights of marginalized interests and groups, and craft or challenge the rules of the political system.



  • I am interested in exploring multiple perspectives on humanity.

  • I am creative and enjoy answering open-ended questions.

  • I enjoy writing and write to express myself.

  • I enjoy deliberative dialogue and debate.

  • I am detail-oriented and enjoy helping people get and stay organized.

  • I am multilingual or interested in learning a new language.

Kids in Art Class
Living Room Sketch
Image by Christian Joudrey

Explore the Different Possibilities

Check out the specific concentrations within this interest cluster, with information regarding specific careers, as well as potential majors to pursue in college!

Global Studies

Global Studies provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of complex issues of a globalizing world. Potential majors will allow you to become a globally minded policymaker serving in a national, regional, or local government agency; international or nongovernmental organization; or multinational corporation.

Potential Majors

Government + Public Administration

For students that seek to enforce the public will through government. Potential careers include: ​Governance, National Security, Foreign Service, Planning, Revenue and Taxation, Public Management and Administration

Potential Majors

Human Rights

For the future local, national and global leaders. Potential careers include: Management, Political Science, Global Health, International Affairs, Social Justice, Non-Governmental Organizations and Social Change

Potential Majors

Pre-Law, Administration of Justice

For those who are interested in the legal and justice system. Potential careers include: Attorney, Paralegal, Judge, Law Clerk, Law Enforcement Services, Security and Protective Services, Emergency and Fire Management Services, Court Administrator

Potential Majors

Social Issues + Social Justice

For those who are moved by current events and social justice. Potential careers include: Global Affairs, Global Health, Political Science, International Studies, Public Policy, Social Welfare, Lobbying

Potential Majors




Connect with Alumni or a Senior Mentor

Check out how our alumni students and current seniors are pursuing this pathway! Learn about what it takes. To learn more about an alumni's journey, check out their roadmap.

Shayda Azamian
Class of 2014
Bioregional climate policy for a non-profit
Peace & Conflict Studies, UC Berkeley
Elizabeth Ford
Class of 2019
Undergraduate student
International Studies with a Political Science emphasis, Pepperdine University
Michael Levin
Class of 2014
Lawyer for Tech Startups in Santa Monica
Stanford Law School, Environment & Resources at Stanford, Economics at UC Berkeley
Mai Nguyen Do
Class of 2017
PhD Student at UC Riverside
Political Science, Washington College
Jasmine Kaur
Class of 2018
Masters Student
Sociology, UCLA Masters Public Policy, USC
Momiji Taenaka
Class of 2015
Postgraduate student at UCL
Sociology/Anthropology, Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan
Manal Shaikh
Class of 2018
Aspiring Law Graduate Student to help represent marginalized communities
Pre Law, UC Irvine
Isabelle Ortiz-Luis
Class of 2017
Prospective law student
Political Science & Global Studies, UCLA
Naomi Lodenquai
Class of 2019
Undergraduate student
Forensic Science, Grand Canyon University
Katrina Bullock
Class of 2018
Undergraduate student
Political Science, UC Berkeley
Emilia Miller
Class of 2019
Undergraduate student
International Affairs, George Washington University
Katherine Carmichael
Class of 2018
Undergraduate student
Political Science & Communication Double Major, UC Santa Barbara



Choosing the Right Courses

Provided here are the COC classes that are recommended for your pathway. You are not required to take all them, so you should talk to your counselor to clarify which classes are right for you. Explore the different possibilities below!


General Biology

Explores the nature of science, including cell structure and processes, energetics in living systems, heredity, development, evolution, diversity, and environmental relationships.


GEOG 101

Physical Geography

Analyzes the elements and interconnections among Earth's physical features of lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, annual seasons, and its humans. Examines geospatial concepts including location, distance, time zones, and cartography.



Civil Litigation I

Examines the basic functions and procedures found within a civil law office, including pre-suit considerations, jurisdiction, initial pleadings, challenges to and amending the pleadings, calendaring deadlines for pleadings and challenges to pleadings, and review of legal ethics.



Legal Analysis and Writing

Examines the processes of analysis and writing found within the legal profession, including preparation of legal memoranda.



Introduction to Law

Provides an overview of the legal system and practices of the legal profession, including paralegals, in the United States while introducing legal concepts, terms, and theories.


SOCI 104

Social Justice Studies

Introduces social justice theories and the historical and contemporary responses to inequality and injustice. The role of imbalances of power in society, social movements, culture, politics and institutions will be discussed. The course also explores a broad range of issues including notions of inequality based on race, class, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, and issues related to environmental and criminal justice and human rights.



International Relations

Introduces international relations theory and analysis examining national, international, transnational and subnational actors and their institutions, interactions and processes as they relate to global issues with specific focus on the basic historical, geographical, economic, ideological, and strategic factors which underlie conflict and cooperation among nations.



Political Theory

Explores the major political concepts and theories from the early Greeks to modern day political philosophers, including the origins of government, state power, justice, and the distribution of political and economic resources.



Introduction to American Government and Politics

Examines the institutions, activities, and issues of American and California governments while presenting an overview of the major ideas and forces that shape the use of public power in American society. The Constitution, the three branches of government, political parties, interest groups, and the media are among the major topics covered. Satisfies the Title V U.S. Constitution requirement and the California State and local government requirement.



Criminal Investigation

Introduces the basic principles of investigation utilized in the justice system, including how to deal with the public, knowledge of crime scenes, interviews, evidence, surveillance, follow-up, technical resources, and the role of the investigator in case preparation for trial.



Criminal Evidence

Introduces the fundamentals of evidence in a law enforcement context including relevant constitutional issues, Supreme Court decisions, and the California and Federal Rules of Evidence.


Deschenes, N., Dejesus, W.


Criminal Law

Presents the historical development, philosophy of law and U.S. Constitutional provisions, including definitions, classification of crimes, concepts of legal research, case law and concepts of law as a social force. Discusses various elements of crimes and relates common law to current California law.



Be prepared for heavy reading and writing.

Politics are not only for people interested in argumentation (people interested in data analytics, policy writing, lobbying)

It is highly encouraged for students interested in this pathway to join COC Model UN.

Don’t feel discouraged because you aren’t STEM. Spend your time taking POLISCI classes rather than furthering your math into the Calc sequence

Law schools, like top colleges, want to admit students who have been able to excel in challenging courses and difficult subjects, and law schools tend to think it's not as challenging to get good grades in pre-law than in most other majors.

However, if you’re able to get excellent grades and a high LSAT score, you can still demonstrate your competence as a pre-law major. 

Four-Year Ed Plans

Provided here are ed plans for you to take AOC & COC coursework for specific concentrations within this pathway. 

Keep in mind that these ed-plans are subject to change based on your individual needs and preferences.

AA Degrees

The ed-plans above will allow you to earn an Associate Degree in Administrative Justice, Political Science, or Social Justice. All of the ed-plans above will allow you to complete your IGETC and to transfer several General Ed college credits.