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 and Professor. BA, University of Hanover, Germany; MA, PhD, University of British Columbia.
RUDY ALAMILLO (2019) Assistant Professor. BA, University of California-Irvine; PhD, University of California-Riverside.
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.
MELANIE BOWERS (2021) Assistant Professor. BA, University of Colorado at Boulder, MA, PhD, Michigan State University
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) Associate Professor. AB, Brown University, MAT, University of Virginia, PhD University of Washington.
SHIRIN DEYLAMI (2008) 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.
MELINA JUÁREZ (2020) Assistant Professor. BA California State University, Stanislaus; MA University of North Carolina; PhD University of New Mexico
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.
CATHERINE WINEINGER (2019) Assistant Professor. BA, University of San Diego; PhD, Rutgers University.
MICHAEL J. WOLFF (2016) Associate 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. Instructions and forms to declare the Major/Minor can be found at Declaring the Major or Minor | Political Science | Western Washington University. Students are welcome to contact the department for assistance.
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
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.
- PLSC 101 - Government and Politics in the Modern World
- PLSC 250 - The American Political System
- PLSC 261 - Introduction to Political Theory
- PLSC 271 - Introduction to International Relations
- PLSC 291 - Introduction to Comparative Politics
- PLSC 300 - Directed Independent Study
- PLSC 301 - The British Parliamentary System
- PLSC 302 - Western Europe
- PLSC 307 - Government and Politics of East Asia
- PLSC 308 - African Political Systems
- PLSC 309 - Globalization from Political, Economic, and Social Perspectives
- PLSC 310 - The International Security of East Asia
- PLSC 311 - Introduction to Law and the Legal System
- PLSC 312 - International Relations of South Asia
- PLSC 313 - Law, Courts, Politics, Society: Non-legal Perspectives of Law
- PLSC 314 - The U.S. Supreme Court: Law and Politics
- PLSC 315 - Why We Fight
- PLSC 321 - Queer and Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Politics
- PLSC 323 - Black Politics in the U.S.
- PLSC 325 - Quebec Politics and Quebec-US Relations
- PLSC 326 - Policy Analysis: Understanding Public Problems & Policy Solutions
- PLSC 327 - Urban Politics and Policy in the U.S.
- PLSC 330 - American Democracy and the Politics of Education
- PLSC 345 - Women and Politics
- PLSC 346 - Politics of Inequality
- PLSC 347 - Race, Politics and Public Policy
- PLSC 348 - Environmental Justice
- PLSC 353 - State and Local Politics
- PLSC 355 - Bureaucratic Politics
- PLSC 357 - Health Policy
- PLSC 361 - Classical Political Thought
- PLSC 362 - Political Theory: Renaissance and Modern
- PLSC 364 - Contemporary Political Theory
- PLSC 366 - Research in Politics
- PLSC 370 - Global Issues in International Politics
- PLSC 372 - International Political Economy
- PLSC 374 - Comparative Foreign Policy
- PLSC 376 - American Foreign Policy
- PLSC 383 - Political Geography
- PLSC 385 - Nationalism, Genocide and Global Politics
- PLSC 387 - Applied Skills in Political Science
- PLSC 390 - The Politics of Development
- PLSC 395 - Politics of Latin America
- PLSC 396 - Politics of Mexico
- PLSC 398 - Immigration Politics
- PLSC 399 - The Politics of Democratization
- PLSC 400 - Directed Independent Study
- PLSC 402 - Regional European Society and Politics
- PLSC 403 - The European Union and the Process of European Integration
- PLSC 404 - Gangs, Organized Crime, and the State in the Americas
- PLSC 406 - Canadian Government and Politics
- PLSC 414 - Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers and Federalism
- PLSC 415 - Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties
- PLSC 420 - Environmental Politics
- PLSC 422 - Race and Political Identification
- PLSC 423 - The American Presidency
- PLSC 427 - Politics of the Policy Process
- PLSC 430 - Modern Chinese Politics
- PLSC 431 - Senior Seminar in American Politics and Public Policy
- PLSC 432 - Senior Seminar - Political Theory
- PLSC 433 - Senior Seminar in Comparative Politics
- PLSC 434 - Senior Seminar in International Politics
- PLSC 435 - Special Topics in Environmental Politics
- PLSC 436 - Managing Environmental Commons
- PLSC 443 - Legislative Internship
- PLSC 444 - Administrative Internships
- PLSC 447 - Teaching Internship
- PLSC 448 - Research Internship
- PLSC 449 - Politics and Social Change
- PLSC 450 - Parties, Campaigns and Elections
- PLSC 452 - Comparative Political Parties and Party Systems
- PLSC 453 - Comparative Electoral Systems
- PLSC 462 - The Rise of Modern Political Economy
- PLSC 463 - American Political Thought
- PLSC 467 - Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Law
- PLSC 469 - Feminist Political Theory
- PLSC 471 - Race and Political Theory
- PLSC 472 - Comparative Political Thought
- PLSC 473 - Politics and Culture
- PLSC 480 - Politics, Government and Religion
- PLSC 489 - Managing an International Ecosystem
- PLSC 491 - Issues in Political Economy
- PLSC 493 - Issues in Political Theory
- PLSC 496 - Honors Tutorial