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Political Science, B.A.

As a political science major, you will study American politics, law, comparative politics, international relations and political theory. You will analyze how power is exercised at the local, state, national and international levels and how these processes impact individual lives.

The major is informed by commitments to justice and reconciliation, as reflected by our department motto, "Do Justice; Love Mercy," based on the Bible verse Micah 6:8. Through classroom study, internships, off-campus opportunities and research projects, you will be challenged to develop both the tools and the vision for understanding, nurturing and transforming society.

Why major in political science at Whitworth?

  • Get to know your professors inside and outside of the classroom. You can conduct research with faculty or apply to work as a teaching assistant. You'll also be invited to interact with faculty informally over coffee or meals, and at gatherings in their homes.
  • Gain real-world experience through a required internship and several study-abroad options.
  • Connect your faith or worldview to your learning, and consider how it will affect your vocation. You will be encouraged to think about the link between faith and public life in every course, and you will go in depth in courses such as Faith & Politics and Vocations in Political Science.
  • Develop the skills needed to engage in public life, such as writing and speaking in ways that invite robust and civil dialogue.
  • Build transferable skills that are valuable in many career fields. Learn to think critically, conduct rigorous research, communicate clearly and listen well.
  • Take a variety of courses, from American National Politics to International Relations, and delve deeper into topics that interest you. The bulk of required credits will be courses of your choice.
  • Build community within the department through special events like an annual pizza gathering, film viewings and policy discussions on current issues.
  • Become who you're meant to be.

Our political science grads make a difference (and get jobs)

Our graduates are prepared for a wide range of careers and graduate school programs. Many political science graduates have chosen careers in government and politics, law, and nonprofit organizations. Others have built careers in business, the military, journalism, ministry or missions, and education. Several have gone into higher education in particular, both as administrators and as faculty members.

Recent job placements include:

  • Coleen Hogan, program analyst, US African Development Foundation, Washington, D.C.
  • Chloe Becker, outreach director, Oregon House Majority Office, Salem
  • Justin Botejue, senior project manager, Empire Health Foundation, Spokane
  • Trevor York, search and rescue swimmer, U.S. Navy
  • Amanda Brodhag, assistant public defender, Hennepin County, Minn.
  • Sam D'Amelio, police officer, Bellingham, Wash.
  • Abby Nyberg, education volunteer, Peace Corps, South Africa
  • Hannah White, intelligence officer, U.S. Navy
  • Aaron Korthuis, law clerk, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, New Haven, Conn.

Our recent political science grads further their studies in top graduate programs at institutions including:

  • Harvard Law School
  • Yale Law School
  • University of Washington
  • Princeton Theological Seminary
  • UCLA School of Law
  • University of San Diego
  • American University

Opportunities outside the classroom

  • Gain hands-on experience through an internship. One is required, but many students choose to do more. Options available through the department include a semester-long internship in Washington, D.C., or an internship in Olympia with the Washington State Legislature.
  • Perform research under a professor’s supervision and present it at the Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference.
  • Join the award-winning forensics or Ethics Bowl teams, open to all majors. These speech and debate programs promote the exchange of ideas and the development of public-speaking skills.
  • Analyze what you’re learning and write and publish an opinion piece. Students have published pieces on faith and politics, as well as on other policy areas.

Pack your bags!

Whitworth professors lead a variety of off-campus programs that include the study of politics. Recent destinations have included South Africa, Tanzania, Central America and Ireland. Political science students are also encouraged to study independently as international exchange students. Our students have recently studied in Brussels, Cuba, New Zealand, Spain and Malta.

Ask our faculty

Ask Professor Stronks

Professor Julia Stronks teaches courses on law, gender and American politics and advises pre-law students.

Ask Associate Professor Hershey

Associate Professor Megan Hershey's areas of expertise include African politics, comparative politics and international development.

Ask Associate Professor Van Inwegen

Associate Professor Patrick Van Inwegen specializes in Asian politics, international relations, nonviolent defense and conflict resolution, and environment and society.

Ask Professor Lee

Professor Kathy Lee teaches courses on women's and gender studies and American politics. She is chair of the political science department.

What related areas of study can I explore?