Political Science

Political Science is one of the oldest fields of academic inquiry. In an increasingly interdependent world, the study of politics and government flourishes as relations between persons, groups, and nations become more complex. Modern Political Science is equally concerned with questions of freedom and authority as political philosophy and the pursuit of social scientific research. 

Western’s Political Science faculty are committed to the belief that understanding politics and government is essential to a well-educated person, vital to democratic citizenship, indispensable to effective public service, and critical to the maintenance and ethical progress of a free society. The Political Science department specializes in four sub-fields: American Politics and Public Policy, Political Theory, International Relations, and Comparative Politics. Faculty have research interests that range from foreign policy, international political systems, race and public policy, elections and representation, environmental politics, and more.  

The Department of Political Science also offers the Political Science/Social Studies Major to Secondary Education students who wish to be endorsed in Social Studies. However, the Political Science/Social Studies degree does not require that a student pursue a teaching certificate.

Western’s Department of Political Science is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.


 “After studying abroad in South Africa with a focus on service learning and the role of Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs), I learned the importance of understanding political systems and systems of power.”

-Polly Woodbury, student


Beyond the Classroom

Political Science students are active in two student clubs: the Political Science Association (PSA) and the International Affairs Association (IAA).  Students in the IAA regularly participate in regional and national Model UN Conferences; over the years, the Western team has garnered numerous accolades for their participation in these events.

The Political Science Department hosts the Ralph Munro Seminar for Civic Education and sponsors the Political Science Association student conference and Sandison Lecture. The department also coordinates the WA Legislative Internship program and offers administrative internship opportunities with a variety of agencies and organizations. Recent student internships include Global Visionaries — Grant Writing Department, and the Washington State Senate. 

Students are also encouraged to Study Abroad through faculty led study abroad, direct exchange programs, or other international exchange programs.


Careers and Graduate Studies

The Political Science curriculum prepares students for careers in public service-related occupations in government, the non-profit sector and business. Many students majoring in Political Science go on to law school, graduate school, and into related professions.

Employers of Recent Western Graduates:

  • NATO
  • Ernst & Young
  • White House office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • AmeriCorps VISTA-Opportunity Council
  • CET International
  • The Daily World
  • King County Bar Association
  • Law Offices of Julianne Kocer
  • Washington State House office of Program Research

Western graduates who pursue graduate studies are doing so at such schools as: 

  • University of British Columbia
  • Yale University
  • Georgetown University
  • University of Pittsburg
  • City University of New York
  • University of Cape Town (South Africa)
  • Leiden University (Netherlands)


Sample Careers

  • Campaign Manager
  • Politician
  • Lobbyist
  • Attorney
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • FBI/CIA Agent
  • Consumer Advocate
  • Journalist
  • Labor Relations Specialist
  • City Manager
  • Author
  • Urban Planner

Department of Political Science

Political Science, BA

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