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History, Political Science, Philosophy, and American Studies

About HPPA

The Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy, and American Studies (HPPA) offers Bachelors degrees in History and Political Science, and minors in Pre-law, History, Political Science, Philosophy, American Studies, Southern Studies, and African-American Studies. We are also the home of the USC Upstate ROTC program.

All of our programs are designed to give you the critical thinking skills and writing skills necessary to thrive whatever your career choice. Our award-winning faculty members are known for their teaching and research skills. We offer one-on-one advising and mentorship, and love conducting research projects with out students. We offer a variety of extracurricular and co-curricular activities including Mock Trial, internships, study abroad experiences, and student organizations.

Careers in History and Political Science

HPPA programs help prepare students for careers as attorneys, historians, researchers and data scientists, educators, librarians civil servants, as well as any field that values critical thinking, writing, and research skills. Our graduates have also gone on to complete masters and doctoral degrees in History, Political Science, Law, Philosophy, and Education.

Our alumni work locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally as lawyers, paralegals, survey statisticians, city planners, librarians, teachers, and officers in the armed services.

History and Political Science majors are competitive on the job market. Take a look at the expected earnings by college major in South Carolina to see where HPPA can take you!

Annual Salaries by Major Chart

Are You Thinking About Law School or Graduate School?

Any student with an accredited college degree can take the LSAT and go to law school. However, some students tend to do better than others. Two HPPA majors (History and Political Science) produce higher scores than other common USC Upstate majors with students who apply to law school. Philosophy is also a great minor based on LSAT scores for the Philosophy major! Just one or two points can separate an accepted application from a denied application. Higher scores are also more likely to lead to scholarships! Take a look at this data from the Law School Admissions Council.

Average LSAT Score Chart

History and Political Science are also great majors for students who want to go to graduate school is fields like law, public administration, education, library science, public history, and political science. According to data maintained by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, History and Political Science Majors often earn advanced degrees, which further increases career and earnings potential.

Percentage of Graduate Students Chart

What Can an HPPA Minor Do for You?

We have a variety of minors to suit your needs. You can gain legal internship experience in the Pre-law minor. Philosophy minors develop key critical thinking skills and tend to do very well on the LSAT. African-American Studies minors are able to take courses across a number of disciplines that match their interests. American and Southern Studies minors are exposed to national and regional culture in way that makes then more effective citizens. Of course, you can also minor in Political Science or History.

What Our Graduates Say About HPPA?

Check out what a few of our graduates say about their degree in Political Science or History. You can see the great places they are going and how their degree helped get them there!

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Working as a National Security professional in the Washington D.C. area has allowed me to further appreciate the value of my Political Science degree. Courses such as International Politics, Middle Eastern Politics, and Comparative Politics were instrumental in shaping my understanding of various political issues and, more importantly, security and global threats.

Daren Edoukou: Political Science Graduate

Occupation: Intelligence Analyst, Department of Homeland Security

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Being a student at USC Upstate has helped me build a strong foundation that enabled me to excel both in law school and in my career. As a History major at Upstate, I continue to maintain a competitive edge in the workforce, as I use the skills I learned in undergrad, such as critical thinking, and persuasive writing today to analyze volumes of material and write well-reasoned legal memoranda.

Kelsey Monaghan: History Graduate

Occupation: Trial Attorney

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My major at USC Upstate was Political Science, and it has helped me tremendously with my current role as Government Affairs Liaison. One of the most significant impacts my major had was to help me research. Research is an essential aspect of my job.

Sharan Ravishankar: Political Science

Occupation: Legislative Analyst, graduate student Master’s of Public Administration Program at Clemson

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Pursuing a degree in Political Science was one of the best decisions I made in my young adult life. This provided me with an opportunity to discover my passion of facilitating in building better communities. In political science you learn a wide array of perspectives, which allow you to challenge your predisposed beliefs and understand the countless statistical measures of individuals. In my Position of Director of Planning and Community Development, I am able to research data trends, and implement policies, as well as develop short- and long-term planning projects; just like students are currently doing in a classroom setting.

Josh Rowland: Political Science

Destination: Graduate History Program at Clemson

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I graduated from the University of South Carolina Upstate, with a Bachelor of Arts in History. The professors in the department are extremely knowledgeable in their varying fields and aided me in finding my niche.

Currently, I am a graduate student in the History MA program at Clemson University. I was attracted to Clemson because of its digital humanities program. As a profession, I want to learn how to digitize materials to increase accessibility for archival research. My end goal is to become a professor and historian of Southern Culture.

Marissa Davis: History

Occupation: Intelligence Analyst, Department of Homeland Security

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Through my transition into my 1st year of law school, I’ve come realize how important my bachelor degree in political science has become. The political science courses I’ve taken are directly applicable to subject matters such as constitutional, administrative, criminal, and international law.

Bre Jefferson: Political Science

Destination: Washington and Lee Law School

Want to Learn More?

We would love to talk to you! You can email department Chair Dr. Trevor Rubenzer at or call 864-503-5633. You can also apply for admission to USC Upstate here, or sign up for a campus tour.

Contact HPPA