Political Science

In the Department of Political Science at St. Mary’s University, students develop skills that increase their understanding of governance and politics, and the theoretical underpinnings of democracy, a republic and justice. Analytical and critical skills are emphasized in this major through research methods, statistical analysis, leadership, service and enhanced oral and written communication assignments.

Political Science majors also have the option of earning a certificate in Public Communication, Public Policy and Public Leadership during their junior and senior years.

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Program Overview

Political Science students attending classThrough the courses it offers, the research its faculty, staff and students conduct, and through the events it sponsors, the St. Mary’s University Department of Political Science seeks to examine two vital questions: What is – as Aristotle called it – the good life, and how can we, as members of the civic community, be effective creators of a good life characterized by legal and social justice?

To answer this, the Department commits itself to the education of the whole student, to the scholarly life, and to an approach that reaches out in service to society. The goal of the Political Science Department is for its graduates to take the answers they formulate here and apply them in their careers, private lives and future education and to foster the building of a good life in themselves and others.

Program of Study

Students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Teacher Certification. Students of all majors may take courses in Political Science to fulfill the requirements of the Core Curriculum.


Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

Requires a minimum of 33 course hours within the major


Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Teacher Certification

Requires a minimum of 33 hours within the major and 21 hours in Teacher Certification


Political Science Minor

Requires a minimum of 18 course hours within the field


International Relations Minor

Requires sophomore-level proficiency in a foreign language and 21 hours in economics, political science and history courses.


Course Areas

American political parties and interest groups
Applied research methods
Comparative politics
Constitutional law
Gender politics
Government leadership
High technology and society
International Relations
National Government
Political research and methodology
Political behavior and thought
Public administration and policy
Social and civic leadership
State and local government
Understanding global politics
Urban politics

For detailed course descriptions and degree requirements, see the Undergraduate Catalog.


Department Mission

The St. Mary’s University Department of Political Science, the civic conscience of the university community, seeks to foster the building of what Aristotle referred to as the good life. Achieving this through a commitment to civic engagement, the pursuit of social and legal justice, and the dedication of oneself to the service of society, the Department seeks the education of the whole student.

Career Opportunities

A political science degree opens the door to many possible career opportunities, from journalist to intelligence officer. All Political Science majors must complete 15 hours of required courses and 18 hours of advanced work. The program offers the option of an International Public Careers minor for Political Science majors or non-majors.

Political Science majors also have the option of earning a certificate in Public Communication, Public Policy and Public Leadership during their junior and senior years.

For detailed course descriptions and degree requirements, see the Undergraduate Catalog.

Considering Law School?

St. Mary’s has several options you should consider now to achieve your goals.

The Pre-law Program provides students with relevant information and opportunities to enhance their chances for admission to the law school of your choice.

The Nelson Wolff Law Early Admission Program offers advantages to motivated, talented students who plan to attend law school and graduate in less time. This program is available to students in the following majors: Criminology, English, International Relations, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology and Speech Communications.

The Guaranteed Law School Admission Program allows outstanding St. Mary’s graduates to receive guaranteed admission to the St. Mary’s School of Law if they meet certain conditions.

For more information about any of these law-related programs, contact Milo Colton, Ph.D., J.D. at 210-436-3519.

Our Faculty

With more than 125 years of combined teaching and research experience, the St. Mary’s University Department of Political Science faculty comes from wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Composed of Political Science, International Relations and Public Administration professors, with many recognized locally, nationally, and internationally as experts in their respective fields, the faculty offers courses from an extensive range of material, including political theory, public administration and public law, American politics and political behavior, and comparative and international politics.

Next Steps

Want to learn more about the St. Mary’s University Political Science Program or are you ready to apply?