Politics

What is Politics?

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 such as political philosophy and the pursuit of social scientific research. 

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Politics Degrees

Economics/Political Science, BA

Contact

Diane Brearley, Economic Major Information: Academic Department Manager
Diane.Brearley@wwu.edu | 360-650-3910

Nicole Miller, Political Science Program Coordinator
politicalscience@wwu.edu | 360-650-3469

Political Science, BA

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.

Contact

Nicole Miller, Political Science Program Coordinator
politicalscience@wwu.edu | 360-650-3469

Political Science/Social Studies, BA

Secondary Education students who wish to be endorsed in Social Studies may choose this major. However, the Political Science/Social Studies degree does not require that a student pursue a teaching certificate.

Contact

Nicole Miller, Political Science Program Coordinator
politicalscience@wwu.edu | 360-650-3469

Janna Cecka, Secondary Education Department Manager
WCE.Advising@wwu.edu | 360-650-3347

Politics/Philosophy/Economics, BA

In this major, Politics, Philosophy, and Economics are combined in a multidisciplinary effort to study modern political science, questions of political philosophy, pursue social scientific research, and apply economic analysis in problem-solving.

Contact

DeNora Lombard, Philosophy Academic Department Manager
DeNora.Lombard@wwu.edu | 360-650-3859

Diane Brearley, Economic Major Information: Academic Department Manager
Diane.Brearley@wwu.edu | 360-650-3910

Nicole Miller, Political Science Program Coordinator
politicalscience@wwu.edu | 360-650-3469

Politics at Western

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 and international political systems, to race and public policy elections and representation, environmental politics, and more.  

Politics, Philosophy, and Economics are combined in a multidisciplinary effort to study modern political science, questions of political philosophy, pursue social scientific research, and apply economic analysis in problem solving. The multidisciplinary trio provides a foundation in philosophy, logic, critical thinking, and political processes within the U.S. and in the international system, and the functioning of the economy with attention to economic analysis tools.  Students are given preparation in the foundational materials of each of these fields, and encouraged to explore classes at the intersection of political and economic issues.  Because it draws on three different research disciplines, this combined major strives to provide students with an interdisciplinary set of skills related to critical reasoning and analysis, problem solving and decision making, and social scientific research.  The PPE combined major is not a triple major; rather, it strives to provide a broad exposure to these three fields.

The study of Economics provides insights into decision-making, market outcomes and the functioning of the overall economy.  Political Science is concerned with the structure and function of both domestic and international political systems, and engaging questions associated with American politics, international politics, public policy and political theory. 

The combined Economics / Political Science major provides students with rigorous preparation in both economic theory and applications, and political processes at the national and international levels.  By combining coursework in Economics and Political Science, students gain an interdisciplinary perspective important to understanding both political and economic issues.  Students are trained in research methods used in Economics and Political Science, giving them interdisciplinary tools for problem solving and policy making.  Students in this program will gain insight into a variety of areas including trade, monetary systems, development, and the interplay between politics and economics within the U.S. and the international system.

Secondary Education students who wish to be endorsed in social studies may choose this major. However, this degree does not require that a student pursue a teaching certificate.  See the Secondary Education section of the catalog for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.

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

“My outstanding professors gave me a whole new perspective on the United States, the world, and even the basic nature of human group decision making. I’m confident that my political science degree will be an invaluable asset for the rest of my life.”

Evan Frazier
Political Science Student

Explore Courses

PLSC 313 – Law, Courts, Politics, Society: Non-legal Perspectives of Law

PLSC 346 – Politics of Inequality

PLSC 347 – Race, Politics, and Public Policy

PLSC 467 – Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Law

PLSC 372 – International Political Economy

Hands-on-Experience and Internships

Internships

Some students work with the department or Career Services Center to find internships. Examples of recent student internships include the WA State House of Representatives and the Whatcom County Office of Public Defenders.

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. 

Clubs

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.

Students in the Economics/Political Science major have opportunities to get involved with both economics and politics outside of the classroom. The WWU Student Economics Association (SEA) is a student-led club that promotes the development of skills to lead members’ transition into the job sector. The club coordinates events to help guide and inspire innovative thinking for economics students and business students alike.

The Political Economy Club is a community of students interested in the subject of political economy. The goal is to create a space for education and discussion and to enhance the interdisciplinary experience of students interested in the subject.  This student group may be of particular interest to students in the Economics/Political Science and Politics/Philosophy/Economics majors. 

Study Abroad

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

“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
Alumni

What can you do with Political Science?

Political Science/Social Studies majors are often Secondary Education students who wish to be endorsed in Social Studies. Others pursue employment in the public sector or enter graduate programs for advanced study.

Employers of Recent Western Graduates:

  • ACLU of Washington
  • Bellingham Public Defender's Office
  • South Seattle Community College
  • Washington State Legislature

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

  • Gonzaga University: Secondary Education, MIT
  • Seattle Public University: Social and Sustainable Management, MA
  • Western Washington University: Secondary Education, MIT
  • University of Washington: Social Work, MSW
  • University of Washington: Public Administration, MA
  • Willamette University: Law, JD

The Politics/Philosophy/Economics (PPE) major prepares its graduates for careers in public policy and public service, consulting, journalism (reporting on political and economic issues), law, and international affairs. An excellent pre-law major, PPE also offers suitable preparation for graduate study in any of the participating disciplines. PPE majors have gone on to some of the nation's most prestigious law and professional schools, to successful careers in business, public service, policy-making and journalism, and to graduate studies in various sub-fields.

Employers of Recent Western Graduates:

  • New York City Law Department: Paralegal
  • Washington State House of Representatives: Legislative Assistant to Representative Kristine Lytton
  • Western Washington University: Veterans Program Coordinator

Western’s Economics/Political Science curriculum prepares students for careers in public service-related occupations in both government and business, including international development, international trade, and international relations. Many students majoring in Economics/Political Science go on to law school, graduate school and other professions.

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

  • American University's School of International Service
  • Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies
  • New York University's Stern School of Business
  • Seattle University
  • Iowa State University

Political Science careers

  • Attorney
  • Financial Planner/Analyst
  • Law School
  • Politician
  • Economist
  • Banking
  • Real Estate
  • Entrepreneur
  • Campaign Worker
  • Insurance
  • Government Consultant
  • Campaign Manager
  • Politician
  • Lobbyist
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • FBI/CIA Agent
  • Consumer Advocate
  • Journalist
  • Labor Relations Specialist
  • City Manager
  • Author
  • Urban Planner
  • Diplomat

Related Majors

Start Your Career at Western