College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
John Roach Center for the Liberal Arts (JRC) 432, (651) 962-5720
High-Pippert (chair), Buhr, Goltz, Lynch, Mazumdar

Political Science Department Web Site

The Department of Political Science is dedicated to political inquiry and analysis, as well as teaching excellence.  Our curriculum promotes a broad understanding of how politics affects both our individual and collective lives while also focusing on the specialized knowledge of particular subfields in the discipline.

We emphasize not only substantive knowledge about politics and governments but also the development of skills necessary to understand and analyze political phenomena in a complex world.  Our faculty’s range of expertise provides our students with a rich understanding of political science while preparing them for a life of active citizenship.

As one of the liberal arts, political science enables students to develop and strengthen research and writing skills, as well as skills in analysis and communication.  A major in political science prepares students for many types of careers, including those in law, government, political campaigns, non-profit organizations, and the corporate sector.

Students graduating with a major in political science will have a broad overview of the discipline, including coursework in Political Theory and Research Methods, as well as substantive familiarity with at least two of the following subfields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Judicial Politics.

Students majoring in political science must take a minimum of twenty-eight credits in political science at St. Thomas. No more than eight of the credits taken outside of the department shall be numbered 300 or above. 

Students minoring in political science must take a minimum of sixteen credits in political science at St. Thomas. 

POLS 104:  Government and Politics is a Writing Intensive course that fulfills the Social Scientific Analysis component of the core curriculum. 

Political Science Honor Society

Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, established the Chi Theta chapter at St. Thomas in 1999. The purpose of Pi Sigma Alpha is to acknowledge superior performance in the study of political science, to forge closer links between faculty and political science majors and minors, and to stimulate political interest in the St. Thomas community.

Pi Sigma Alpha is open to juniors and seniors who meet the following qualifications for membership. Students must have completed at least three political science courses and be currently enrolled in or have taken a fourth. Two of the four courses must be UST political science courses, and one of the four must be at least a 300-level course. Additionally, students must have a grade point average of at least 3.00 in political science courses and be within the top third of their graduating class.

Major in Political Science

  • POLS 104:  Government and Politics (4 credits)
  • POLS 205:  U.S. Policymaking (4 credits)
  • POLS 225:  World Politics (4 credits)
  • POLS 240:  Research Methods in Political Science (4 credits)
  • POLS 370:  Explorations in Political Theory (4 credits)
  • Sixteen credits in POLS 300-level courses (completed in at least two of the four subfields of American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Judicial Politics)
  • One POLS 400-level seminar
  • POLS 104 is a prerequisite for all other required courses within the major (POLS 205, POLS 225, POLS 240, and POLS 370).
  • POLS 205 is a prerequisite for 300-level courses within the subfield of American Politics. 
  • POLS 225 is a prerequisite for 300-level courses within the subfields of Comparative Politics and International Relations. 
  • POLS 104 is a prerequisite for 300-level courses within the subfield of Judicial Politics.  Junior or senior standing and prior completion of POLS 312 is strongly recommended for POLS 313 and POLS 314. 
  • Juniors and seniors may enroll in a 400-level seminar once they have completed a 300-level course within that subfield, or with permission of the instructor.  Typically, two seminars are offered per semester, so you need to work with your advisor and plan ahead.
Strongly Recommended:
  • It is strongly recommended that students take POLS 240 before enrolling in 300-level courses. 
  • It is also strongly recommended that students either complete POLS 313 or POLS 314 before taking POLS 414, or be concurrently enrolled in POLS 313 or POLS 314 along with POLS 414.

Minor in Political Science

  • POLS 104 Government and Politics (4 credits) 
  • POLS 205 U.S. Policymaking (4 credits)
  • POLS 225 World Politics (4 credits)
  • Twelve credits in 300-level courses (completed in at least two of the four subfields of American Politics, Judicial Politics, International Relations, or Comparative Politics).  POLS 370 may also be completed as a 300-level course for the minor.
  • One 400-level seminar (with appropriate prerequisites) may be completed in place of a 300-level course.

Teacher Licensure

Elementary Education with a Specialty in Social Studies (5-8)
Co-major in Social Studies (5-12) and a Co-major in Secondary Education

See Education

Political Science Undergraduate Courses

Course Number Title Credits
POLS  104 Government and Politics 4
POLS  115 Legal Research and Writing 4
POLS  205 U.S. Policymaking 4
POLS  225 World Politics 4
POLS  240 Research Methods Poli Sci 4
POLS  301 Pol. Identity & Participation 4
POLS  302 Gender and Politics 4
POLS  305 Congress and the Presidency 4
POLS  306 Campaigns and Elections 4
POLS  309 Environmental Policy 4
POLS  312 Judicial Process 4
POLS  313 Constitutional Powers of Gov't 4
POLS  314 Constit Rights & Liberties 4
POLS  320 American Foreign Policy 4
POLS  321 Comparative Foreign Policy 4
POLS  326 Intl Law & Organization 4
POLS  328 International Security 4
POLS  350 Comparative Politics of Europe 4
POLS  352 Politics of Developing World 4
POLS  354 Politics of Post-Soviet States 4
POLS  356 Pol: India, Pakistan, S. Asia 4
POLS  358 Comp Pol of Asia: China India 4
POLS  370 Exploration in Poli Theory 4
POLS  395 Topics 2 OR 4
POLS  396 Topics 2 OR 4
POLS  397 Topics 2 OR 4
POLS  398 Topics 2 OR 4
POLS  400 Signature Work Capstone 2
POLS  404 Seminar in American Politics 4
POLS  414 Seminar in Judicial Politics 4
POLS  424 Seminar in Int'l Relations 4
POLS  454 Sem in Comparative Politics 4
POLS  495 Individual Study 2 OR 4