De Anza students at protest rally

Political Science Department

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What is Politics?

In the Political Science Department at De Anza College we believe that politics is at the heart of every society. The essence of political life is the process of deciding who gets the benefits and who bears the burdens in every society and how this happens.

Politics is Real

This is not just an abstract idea. It touches on such important questions as who can go to school and who succeeds there, how much people make at their jobs and what kind of work is available for people to do, who goes to war, who gets health care, who can buy a house or who will be homeless. This field of study is based on the notion that human beings living in a society set up structures of ideas, values and world-views as well as systems of norms, rules, laws, and behaviors that affect the outcomes of these kinds of decisions. Political Science is the study of these social structures and the ideas supporting them as well as the the study of how to improve the real lives of people in our society by using the tools available to us as citizens.

Engaged Learning

At the De Anza Political Science Department we have figured out a variety of ways to make the study politics engaging, meaningful and fun. We have a range of classes taught by instructors with varying philosophies and teaching methods, all of whom are dedicated to helping students succeed.

Core General Ed Classes
  • POLI 1- American Government and Politics
  • POLI 2- Comparative Politics
  • POLI 3- International Relations
  • POLI 5- Introduction to Political Thought
  • POLI 15- Grassroots Democracy: Race, Politics and the American Promise
  • POLI 16- Grassroots Democracy: Social Movements Since the 1960s
  • POLI 17- Grassroots Democracy: Leadership and Power
Civic Engagement and American Cultures Credit

In addition, several instructors offer classes that fulfill hours and credit towards De Anza's certificate in Community and Civic Engagement. (See the webpages of Bob Stockwell, Jim Nguyen and Nicky González Yuen.) And, two classes (POLI 15 and POLI 16) fulfill the American Culture's graduation requirement for students transferring to UC Berkeley)


Finally, we offer a number of classes cross-listed with Intercultural/International Studies, Women's Studies, Paralegal Studies and Administration of Justice programs.

We're glad you have decided to check us out and we hope you'll enjoy the classes you take in political science.

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Political Science Building: L13 (Social Sciences/Humanities Division Office)
Department Chair:
James Nguyen,
Phone: 408.864.5551
Dept. Chair's Office:


Last Updated: 4/20/17