Majors & Minors

Political Science


The Political Science department cultivates a students’ understanding of the cultural and theoretical dimensions of politics, as well as the institutional and structural dimensions of politics. Students develop the ability to understand decision-making processes and acquire the skills of political analysis.


Bob Snyder

Professor & Chair



Bob Snyder

Professor & Chair

Our major prepares students very well for graduate and professional school, but our goals also extend beyond the academic realm: we also give students critical and analytical tools toward preparing them for local, national, and global citizenship. 

The discipline relies on different levels of analysis, moving from specific issues or problems faced by individuals or groups in different parts of the world, to theoretical analyses of the overarching political ideologies, theories, and structures that shape everyday life. In addition to the wide range of topics that give focus to the study of politics, political scientists also employ different strategies and tools for understanding political life, from institutional methods of analysis, to cultural, historical, institutional, structural, and theoretical approaches.


Featured Alumni Stories


We Remember Dr. Suksoon Suh

Dr. Suksoon Suh, former Southwestern faculty member and beloved friend of the University, passed away on September 9, 2017.

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Jacob Beswick ’07, Distinguished Young Alumnus

How many Southwestern alumni have contributed to the U.N. Secretary General’s report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict? By our count, just one: Jacob Beswick, a 2007 magna cum laude graduate with a double major in political science and Spanish.

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Blake Stanford ’81, Distinguished Southwestern Service

Blake Stanford is a community leader, a husband and dad, a proud Kappa Sigma brother, and a fierce advocate for child nutrition. He is this year’s recipient of the award for Distinguished Southwestern Service. Stanford serves Southwestern University as a member of the Board of Trustees, charged with overseeing the system of governance, academic life, student life and the University’s fiscal affairs and served as president of the Southwestern University Alumni Association from 2012 to 2014.

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News News

Alisa Gaunder

Cover of Japanese Politics and Government Has Special Meaning to its Author, Southwestern University Dean of the Faculty Dr. Alisa Gaunder

For the cover of her latest book, she chose a beautiful picture of the National Diet Building in Tokyo. It is a gorgeous and classic shot that represents the contents of the book, but there is personal meaning as well.

The New York Times

Southwestern Professors Effectively Handle Conflict In the Classroom

An article in today’s New York Times, “In a Volatile Climate on Campus, Professors Teach on Tenterhooks,” discusses the politically charged climate on college campuses and specific ways faculty prepare for and handle conflict in the classroom.

Grace Stafford

Interview With DC Semester Participant Grace Stafford

Interned at The Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange