If you fancy picturing yourself striding down the halls of the White House someday—or you’re simply fascinated by what goes on there—then welcome to a major in government. As a government major, you’ll kick off with government basics such as the legislative process, political parties, and our judicial system. You’ll move on to comparing different political systems and learning how the government operates on the state and municipal levels. You’ll gain an understanding of political theory and begin to develop ideas of your own about what government is and should be—though you probably have plenty of those already. An understanding of our government is crucial to understanding our country, but the reverse is also true. With a government major, you’ll study American history, and you’ll see how our civilization has changed over the years. When you study the history of law in our country, it becomes evident just how our society has been shaped by it. Civil rights, and the challenges still posed in that area, will be part of the curriculum, too. Different programs might ask you to choose a concentration in a specific realm of government, such as international relations or comparative politics. You might study the governments of different countries in order to compare and contrast the politics at work, or analyze U.S. involvement with foreign countries. You might be asked to examine the role government plays in business, the environment, and the press. No matter where your college studies lead you, you’ll gain a deep understanding of our government, and you’ll acquire the skills necessary to critique, evaluate, and, eventually, contribute to it.
Needless to say, any courses your school offers in politics, government, or history would be especially useful. But since government touches every aspect of our society, a solid foundation in many disciplines will be the best preparation for your college studies. Take courses in science, math, and the humanities, the more challenging the better. A government major requires excellent communication skills, so take courses that will strengthen your reading, writing, and speaking abilities.