Welcome to the Department of Political Science!

Undergraduate students in Political Science have the opportunity to access the resources of a university while experiencing a liberal arts education: close engagement with their professors and peers, and a course of study grounded in traditions focused on civic engagement and the human condition. We offer a truly unique learning environment. Our faculty highly values student diversity as well as diversity in the curriculum by specifically including material on and from the perspectives of historically marginalized groups such as women, American Indians, Black Americans, immigrants, Latinos/as, LGBTQ people, and others. We also value international perspectives and students, whose participation in our classes greatly enriches the experience of students and faculty, and we strongly encourage our students to internationalize their experiences by immersing themselves in other culture by studying abroad.

Our students learn to analyze, interpret, and explain political phenomena through the lens and using the methods of political scientists. Our award–winning faculty bring rich and diverse scholarship into the classroom, engaging students in questions of ethics, power, identity, representation, policy, law and governance, at the state, national and global levels. Our integrated curriculum challenges students to develop critical thinking, communication, and research skills, preparing our graduates for citizenship and leadership, post-graduate study, and diverse employment opportunities. As a Political Science major, students construct an individualized program of study grounded in the major subfields of political science – American politics, public policy and administration, international relations, and political theory. Students can tailor their upper-level course of study to their own interests and post-graduate goals. We also recommend and provide opportunities for an internship program, complimentary minors, and opportunities to study abroad. 

Our internship program challenges students to put knowledge into action through a wide array of settings in government, civil society, law offices, and the private sector.  Students in our Model United Nations class, team and club compete in mock UN settings, mastering research and debate skills. Our student club, the Political Theory Consortium, and our Pizza and Politics Speakers Series, engage students in timely issues. Our new social science research lab, the HELPS Lab, offers students training in research methods while working. And our British Politics course involves extended travel in Great Britain. 

With a degree in Political Science, students pursue a careers in government, politics, business, civil society, law, and other fields. Importantly, they are well equipped for changing jobs, which the average US worker does every five years. Ninety-three percent of employers say that a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than a job candidates undergraduate major. And did you know that one third of Fortune 500 CEOs have liberal arts degrees? 

We offer a Master of Public Administration degree designed to prepare candidates for management and policy making positions in public sector agencies and non- profits at the local, state and federal level.

Please contact me by phone (406 994 4141) or email ([email protected]) if I can answer questions about pursuing a degree in our department. I welcome the opportunity to discuss our undergraduate program with you. Questions about our masters in Public Administration should be addressed to Professor Austin, Coordinator of our MPA program.

David Parker
Department Head