Majors & Minors

Political Science

 Southwestern faculty and students explore the various dimensions of power, analyze political philosophies and behaviors, and practice civic engagement with the world around them.


Eric Selbin

Eric Selbin

Professor of Political Science & Chair


Eric Selbin

Eric Selbin

Professor of Political Science & Chair

Studying political science is crucial to understanding one of the most powerful institutions shaping our lives: government. By comparing how different ideologies and forms of government have developed and evolved, analyzing how power and resources are distributed throughout a society and the world, and examining the impact of political events and public policies throughout history and across countries, students of the discipline become more informed, engaged participants within the local, national, and global communities.

At Southwestern, majoring or minoring in political science will broaden your understanding of a range of fascinating topics:

  • campaigns and elections
  • domestic and foreign policy
  • international politics
  • civil discourse
  • the relationship between media and politics
  • the relationship between politics and gender
  • models of political leadership
  • theories of revolution, conflict, and peace
  • ideologies and political philosophies

You’ll cultivate the analytical tools, creative thinking, and communication skills that will prepare you for effective critical engagement with many different kinds of power structures. Those skills will also help you develop a sound foundation for future study in  a wide variety of professions as well as graduate programs. Recent Southwestern political science alumni are currently pursuing careers in law, government, K–12 and higher education, nonprofits, urban planning, business, and international affairs.


Featured Alumni Stories

Katherine Tanner ’13 and Bradley Ottmers

Think Globally; Act Locally

International studies and political science major Katherine Tanner ’13 helps nourish a community as “the heart” of Hat & Heart Farm.

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Meredith Murphy ’16

Training for a Thoughtful Future

History and political science double major Meredith Murphy ’16 reflects on the many benefits of a liberal-arts education.

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Amanda McMillian ’95

Southwestern Alumna Appointed President and CEO of the United Way of Greater Houston

Current Board of Trustee Amanda McMillian ’95 has most recently served as chair of SU’s  Presidential Search Advisory Committee.

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Political Science News

The Capitol at night in fall 2020.

An Uncertain Semester in DC

Political science and environmental studies double major Keith Rupe ’22 makes the most of an anxiety-filled semester through public organizing in the nation’s capital.

“A Discussion on the Racialization of Political Movements: #BlackLivesMatter / #AllLivesMatter.” (Shay Salunkhe ’22)

Southwestern Students Engage in Difficult Dialogues

The student-led Project for Emerging Dialogues promotes open-mindedness through honest discussion about controversial topics.

Camille Martin, Class of 2019

Building Professional Skills and a Future in D.C. 

External funding expands the reach of a high impact student experience.



Political Science Events

“LGBTQ Politicians and Elections” virtual talk and Q&A with Dr. Gabriele Magni

Virtual Lecture and Q&A

Dr. Gabriele Magni, Assistant Professor
Loyola Marymount University

The number of openly LGBTQ candidates running for office has reached unprecedented numbers in recent years. A record number of candidates were elected to the US Congress in 2020, and the presidential primary of an openly gay man, Pete Buttigieg, caught fire far more than most observers predicted. In the same year, New Zealand elected the queerest parliament in the world, white the House of Commons in the UK has about 60 openly LGBTQ members. But do voters (still) penalize LGBTQ candidates? I present original survey experiments with nationally representative samples in the United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand. To varying degrees voters penalize LGBTQ candidates in all countries, with penalties strongest in the US. Yet, progressives, people with LGBTQ friends, and non-religious individuals do not discriminate against gays and lesbians, while transgender candidates face stronger bias. Electability concerns, prejudice, and identity cueing explain voter bias. This study contributes to the literature on minority candidates and disentangles correlated candidate attributes, exploring the intersectionality of bias. Understanding the barriers to the election of LGBT people is crucial to improve the representation of marginalized communities.