Politics and government affect us all. What we do, and what we think, is affected by the decisions and actions of state, local and national governmental institutions and political leaders. The objectives and policies of foreign countries also can affect our daily lives, particularly during periods of international tension and war.
Political science is one of the oldest fields of academic inquiry. Social ideals and their realization through law were systematically studied in ancient Greece. In an increasingly interdependent world, the study of politics and government has flourished as the relations between persons, groups and nations have become more complex, and questions of freedom and authority have challenged every citizen. Modern political science is equally concerned with questions of political philosophy and with the pursuit of social scientific research. These concerns are reflected in a broad and diverse curriculum.
The political science faculty is committed to the belief that understanding politics and government is essential to a well-educated person, vital to democratic citizenship, indispensable to effective public service, and critical to the maintenance and ethical progress of a free society.
The political science curriculum prepares students for careers in public service-related occupations in both government and business. Many students majoring in political science go on to law school, graduate school and into the professions; many others who are not majors take political science courses as an essential part of their liberal arts education.
AMIR ABEDI (2003) Chair. Professor. BA, University of Hanover, Germany; MA, PhD, University of British Columbia.
LISA BEARD (2018) Assistant Professor. BA, Smith College, MA, PhD, University of Oregon.
BIDISHA BISWAS (2006) Professor. BA, Hindu College, University of New Delhi; MA, PhD, University of Maryland.
PAUL CHEN (2002) Associate Professor. BA, University of California-Berkeley; JD, Southwestern University School of Law; MA, Biola University; MA, PhD, University of Southern California.
KATHARINE DESTLER (2016) Assistant Professor. AB, Brown University, MAT, University of Virginia, PhD University of Washington.
SHIRIN DEYLAMI (2008) Associate Professor. BA University of California, Santa Cruz; MA University of North Carolina; PhD University of Minnesota.
TODD A. DONOVAN (1991) Professor. BA, California State University, Sacramento; MA, PhD, University of California-Riverside.
CYNTHIA HORNE (2006) Professor. BA, Dartmouth College; MS, Georgetown University; PhD, University of Washington.
VICKI HSUEH (2003) Professor. BA, Williams College; MA, PhD, Johns Hopkins University.
VERNON D. JOHNSON (1986) Professor. BA, Akron University; MA, PhD, Washington State University.
KRISTEN D. PARRIS (1991) Associate Professor. BA, MA, PhD, Indiana University.
DEBRA J. SALAZAR (1990) Professor. BS, University of California-Berkeley; MS, PhD, University of Washington.
MICHAEL J. WOLFF (2016) Assistant Professor. BA, MA, Ph.D. University of New Mexico.
The department’s faculty and staff invite questions about the program and its career potential. Persons seeking more information should visit the department in Arntzen Hall or call 360-650-3469. Written inquiries should be directed to the Department of Political Science, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington 98225-9082.
Students are eligible to declare the political science major and any of the majors combined with political science if they have completed any two of the following core courses: PLSC 250, PLSC 261, PLSC 271, PLSC 291, or the equivalent course(s) at another college or university. Due to high student demand and limited enrollment capacity, immediate access to specific courses cannot be guaranteed. Priority is given to seniors and juniors who need courses to graduate. Students should stop by the political science department office, Arntzen Hall 415, and an advisor will review their transcripts and assist them in completing the declaration process.
Other Departmental Information
The political science department offers several curricula leading to the Bachelor of Arts. These curricula are listed below, and their details are set forth following the list of the department faculty.
- Bachelor of Arts
- Majors: political science, political science/economics, politics/philosophy/economics, political science/social studies.
- Minors: political science, Canadian-American studies, East Asian studies
Students are encouraged to obtain internships in state, local or national government agencies, political parties and interest groups. Initial contact with the intern coordinator should usually be at least one quarter in advance of registration if the student is interested in a local internship. In the case of state and federal agencies, longer lead times are necessary, and contact with the intern coordinator should be at least two quarters in advance of registration. Credit may be divided over two quarters where the internship placement requires a commitment of more than 10 weeks. No more than 10 credits of internship and independent study, combined, may be counted toward the major.
To qualify for an internship, requirements are:
- Completion of the core field requirements for the political science major (PLSC 250 , PLSC 261 , PLSC 271 and PLSC 291 )
- Completion of at least one advanced course in the field of study to which the internship most closely relates
- Acceptability to the agency
Students wishing to pursue research and directed reading in areas of the discipline where they have had prior course work may apply to do independent study projects. Enrollment is with the consent of the instructor and the chair. No more than 10 credits of independent study and internship, combined, may be counted toward the major.
ProgramsUndergraduate MajorUndergraduate Minor
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.