Political Science

About the program

Through 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?

hss-political-science-professor-studentsTo 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.

Students can pursue one of the following program options:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science – Peace Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science – Security Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Teacher Certification (Secondary)
  • Combined Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in International Relations
  • Minor in Political Science
  • Minor in International Public Careers
  • Minor in Public Careers
Courses and degree plans

View the Political Science Requirements and Degree Plans

View the Combined Degree Requirements and Degree Plans

Certificate Options

Political Science majors also have the option of earning a certificate in one of two areas during their junior and senior years. The certificate options include:

  • Certificate in Public Communication
  • Certificate in Public Policy and Public Leadership
Career Options

A political science degree opens the door to many possible career opportunities, from journalist to intelligence officer.

Law School Options

Law student sitting in the Raba buildingConsidering 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. To view a list of recommended courses for this program, click here.

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, or Sonia Garcia, Ph.D., at 210-436-2014.

Political Science Living and Learning Community

The Political Science Living and Learning Community (POLLC) is an opportunity for first year Political Science freshman to live and take classes together, participate in Political Science LLC 2015department and university activities and events, and are mentored by a department faculty member. POLLCers learn about the diversity of the discipline, engage with faculty members and their research specializations and interests, and develop clear career goals related to the discipline by participating in the year long experience.


  • Political Science News and Events

    June 2014: Dr. Leona Pallansch presented a paper entitled “Social Media, Civil Society, and Democratic Movements: The Case of the Arab Spring” in a themed session called Democratization and Social Transformations at the 9th International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences held from June 11th-13th in Vancouver, Canada.

    April 2014: Dr. Amber Aubone and her PO3360: Topics in International/Comparative Politics class and members from the “Diplomatic League” student organization participated in this years’ Southwest Model Arab League held at Texas A&M- in Commerce, Texas from April 3rd-5th . Through this experiential learning experience, students learn about the politics and history of the Arab world while engaging in diplomacy and public speech.

    April 2014: Dr. Celine Jacquemin participated in the KWIBUKA20- 20th Commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsi event on April 19th in Dallas, Texas. She was also able to have a one-on-one meeting with Ambassador Mukantabana to prepare for the invitation by President Mengler for the visit of President Kagame.

    April 2014: Dr. Celine Jacquemin provided expert testimony on April 7th on the security situation in Somalia in the ICE immigration court in Houston, Texas.

    April 2014: Dr. Celine Jacquemin chaired two panels for the 2014 Africa Conference held at The University of Texas in Austin. One April 4th she was part of the panel entitled “Human Rights as Natural Rights: The Quest for a Theoretical Grounding” and on April 6th part of the panel entitled “H2: Exiles, Rebels, and Revolutionaries: Armed Groups in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.”

    March 2014: Dr. Arturo Vega presented a paper entitled “San Antonio’s Urban and Mayoral Politics—The Case of PreK4SA” in a session entitled Beyond the Alamo: Policy and Politics in San Antonio which was part of the 2014 Urban Affairs Association Conference– Borders and Boundaries in an Age of Global Urbanization held this year in San Antonio, Texas.

    February 2014: Dr. Amber Aubone and 4 St. Mary’s students attended the Student Conference on National Affairs held in Texas A&M College Station from February 19th-21st. Delegates participated in facilitated roundtables that culminated in a policy paper.

    February 2014: Dr. Cotrell and the Institute of Public Administration hosted the last 2013-2014 academic year Community Conversations event entitled “San Antonio Politics: Recent History and the Future” on March 18th. Dr. Henry Flores moderated the event where Mayor Julian Castro and former Mayor Henry Cisneros answered a series of open-ended questions posed by the moderator, students, faculty and the community.

    February 2014: Dr. Sonia Garcia presented a paper entitled “Teaching Educational Inequality through a Civic Engagement Perspective: Integrating Diversity, Faith-Based Principles and Service” in a session entitled Integrating Diversity on Campus and in the Community at the 2014 American Political Science Association– Teaching and Learning conference held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Feb 7th-9th.

    January 2014: Dr. Amber Aubone presented her paper entitled “Sweat the Small Stuff: A Theoretical Framework for Tactical Nuclear Weapons Proliferation in a panel entitled Negotiation, Conflict, and War which was part of the Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana from January 9th-11th. She also served as the chair and discussant for the panel New Methods for Studying International Politics in a session entitled International Politics: Global Issues, IPE, and Human Rights.

    November 2013: Dr. Amber Aubone took two St. Mary’s teams to participate in the 2013Eugene Scassa Model Organization of American States hosted by Baylor University from November 14th-16th. Robert Gonzales, a senior Political Science major, received an award for “Distinguished Written Resolution.”

    October 2013: Dr. Larry Hufford moderated and presented his paper entitled “PedagoSical Analysis of Citizenship Education in Post-Conflict Societies: Belfast and Sarajevo as Case Studies” at the North American Chapter World Council for Curriculum and Instruction 2013 Interdisciplinary Education Conference held from October 24th-26th in Montreal, Canada.


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