Snapshot of the Department

930 Undergraduate majors
86 Graduate students
(JULY 2009-JUNE 2010)
436 Bachelor of Arts degrees
19 Master of Arts degrees
8 PhD degrees
2 Beinecke Scholars
1 Fulbright Scholar
2 George Mitchell Scholars
3 Harry S. Truman Scholars
2 Institute for International Public Policy Fellow
1 Marshall Scholarship Alternate
1 Merage Foundation Fellowship for the American Dream Scholar
1 Morris K. Udall Scholars
2 Rhodes Scholarship Finalists

13 Professors
11 Associate Professors
5 Assistant Professors
11 Emeritus Professors

American Politics
Comparative Politics
International Relations
Political Theory
Political Economy
Political Methodology
Public Law
Public Policy
Political Communication
Area Studies
Race and Ethnicity Politics
Labor Studies


Political Science ranks among the top three departments in the College of Arts and Sciences in the highest total number of undergraduate majors.

Through its two well-established and outstanding formal internship programs— the Washington State Legislature Internship program and the Washington Center internships in Washington, D.C.—the department has provided internships to hundreds of students since 1953.

The department received a top 20 rating in the Princeton Review 2010 list of “great schools to study political science.”

The department’s graduate program was highly ranked in the National Research Council assessment of political science PhD programs.


The department offers a BA, MA, and PhD degree. Students can also participate in undergraduate certificate programs in political economy and international security. Students typically develop expertise in at least two of the five major fields in political science: political theory, American politics, international relations, comparative politics, and research methods.

Undergraduate students of political science examine the theory and practice of government and politics. They acquire knowledge of political institutions and processes, both in the United States and around the world. Students learn to think critically about public policies and their consequences. They learn how to evaluate individual, group, and mass behavior in political settings, and explore the relationship between such behavior and political institutions responsible for creating and implementing policy. Students are taught to communicate ideas about politics clearly and to evaluate and make arguments about politics and policy.

The doctoral program focuses on the development of students’ mastery of the discipline, the development of their research skills and teaching skills, and the evolution of a
scholarly engagement and professionalism that will ensure a successful transition to
a career.


Department of Political Science faculty honors include:

Grant Awards
AARP Research Fund
American Council of Learned Societies
Belgian National Science Policy Foundation
Carnegie Foundation
Ford Foundation
German Marshall Fund Fellowships
Guggenheim Fellowship
Hewlett Foundation
Kellogg Fellowship
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Grant Recipient
MacArthur Foundation
National Science Foundation Grant Recipient
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Russell Sage Foundation
Surdna Foundation
US Department of State
US Institute of Peace
Washington State Labor Research Grant
World Justice Project

American Academy of Arts and Sciences member
Editor, Cambridge University Press Studies in
Comparative Politics
Editor, Comparative Political Studies
Honorary Doctorate, Uppsala University
Lifetime achievement awards
President and Vice President, American Political Science Association
President and Vice President, International Studies Association
President, Law & Society Association
President, Western Political Science Association
UW Distinguished Teaching Awards
UW James D. Clowes Award for the Advancement of Learning Communities


The range of faculty research reflects the extraordinary diversity of the field of political science. In American politics, the faculty have achieved national recognition for research on agenda setting, policy processes, participation, public law, race and ethnicity politics, and media and political communications. The comparative politics faculty specializes in topics such as labor-management relations, the fiscal and taxation capacities of nation-states, political party formation and behavior, federalist structures, judicial institutions and religion. The international relations group has established two clusters of strength: international political economy and international security. The political theory faculty has primary strengths in feminist political theory, liberal theory, and the foundations of political economy.

Six major interdisciplinary research centers are located within or closely affiliated with the department: the Center for American Politics and Public Policy; the Center for Civic Communication & Engagement; the Comparative Historical Analysis of Organizations and States Center; the Comparative Law and Society Studies Center; Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Sexuality; and The Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies.


The department sponsors numerous public forums on elections, politics and the economy, citizenship, labor and unions and international conflicts.

Political Science faculty direct the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement in cooperation with YMCA-Seattle and the City of Seattle. The Center’s Civic Learning Online Project focuses on promoting and facilitating youth civic engagement.

Department faculty directs the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, which participates actively in the community on a wide variety of issues regarding race and ethnicity politics, in particular in the area of voter participation.