Political Science

Classroom with students and teacher

Interested in the U.S. political system? Want to create and implement public policy? Political science is the study of government, politics and the socio-economic forces that shape the present and future. When you major in political science at St. Kate’s, you gain a depth of knowledge in domestic and international governing bodies, current political issues, and the formation of public policy and political theory.

Our goal is to fully prepare you to become an active citizen and to use your knowledge to seek improvements within society. St. Kate’s political science major emphasizes critical thinking, research and writing skills — making it a valuable major for students with varied career goals.

Rich and relevant curriculum

Our curriculum covers American politics, international politics and political theory — and we regularly talk about non-governmental organizations and the representation of women in politics. In the “American Political Parties, Campaigns and Elections” course, you discuss historical development, organization and role of political parties in the United States.

In the course “Haves and Have-Nots,” you study the distribution of wealth to understand why countries are rich or poor. Professor Mary Margaret Smith offers a “Media and Politics” special topics course that addresses the relationship between politics and the media. In addition to readings and discussion, you watch political documentaries by Bill Moyers and Michael Moore, and dramatic films like The Year of Living Dangerously.

A versatile major

Our political science program combines well with other disciplines. St. Kate’s students double major in areas such as international relations, economics, and history. Student Rebecca Nguyen, who served as a legislative and cabinet affairs intern at Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s office, is pursuing political science and French. This opportunity to combine disciplines broadens your skills and keeps you competitive in the job market.

Pre-law and Mock Trial

St. Kate’s offers pre-law advising and a Mock Trial program led by practicing lawyers, which includes participation in regional and national competitions. In mock trial, you assume the role of attorney or witness and learn first hand about the American judicial system. You also build skills in teamwork, debate, oral communication, investigative research and reporting.

Model UN

St. Kate’s “Model United Nations” course covers the structure and functions of the United Nations and its agencies and prepares you for the National Model United Nations (NMUN) simulation in New York City — with more than 2,500 students from across the globe. In spring 2010, our students served as delegates from Ecuador. In 2011, we represented Moldova. (St. Kate’s alumna Heather Hodges is the U.S. ambassador for both these countries.)

Opening and final NMUN plenary sessions are held in the General Assembly Hall at the UN Headquarters. Katies have participated in local and regional mock UN gatherings as far back as the 1960s. The St. Kate’s team of 15-plus to the 1990 NMUN was reportedly the first all-women delegation to attend a national or international conference.

D.C. and study abroad

St. Kate’s political science majors have studied abroad in France, Bolivia, Namibia, the United Kingdom, China, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ecuador, Germany, Czech Republic, Japan, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Poland. They have also been invited to participate in short-term programs sponsored by the Public Leadership Education Network and American University’s Washington Semester.

Real-world mentors

Our faculty are enthusiastic teachers and diligent researchers who regularly collaborate with students on research projects. They have diverse backgrounds and areas of specialization, including American politics and public policy; women in public policy; the politics of developing countries, especially within Latin America; ethnic, minority and women’s right’s in Central and Eastern Europe; and the U.S. judicial process and constitutional law.

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