Skip to main content Skip to site navigation Skip to contact information
College of Arts and Sciences

Political Science

At Seattle University, the study of Political Science features seven prominent themes:

POWER & LAW In every nation and locality, in the US and abroad, government is about the exercise of power. The arrangement of governing bodies, the access of political parties and interest groups, and the occasional participation of citizens shape the use of power and law for public and private purposes.

SOCIAL JUSTICE Power and law affect the daily lives of people: their well-being, personal dignity, and sense of belonging to communities. Questions of opportunity, equality, and fairness permeate the Political Science curriculum.

SOCIAL & ECONOMIC POLICY Governments collect taxes, spend money, regulate behavior, and provide security for the benefit of all or for the benefit of the few. Scrutiny of policies—for example, in economic growth, welfare, social services, education, health care, land use, environment, and civil rights—reveals who really benefits.

RACE, GENDER, AND CLASS The conditions of ethnic minorities, the roles of women, and the persistence of privilege and poverty receive special attention in many of our courses.

INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT & COOPERATION Wars and other forms of coercion are extremely costly and destructive, yet they occur with disturbing frequency. International law and organizations offer alternative means of conducting foreign relations.

GLOBALIZATION Global economic interdependence undermines efforts of governments to assure their citizens material security and the means to shape their own destinies.

INTERNSHIPS & CAREERS We offer internships in the nation’s capital, in Olympia, in King County, and in Seattle. Our students later pursue careers in elected government, law, public administration, interest organizations, secondary and higher education, policy analysis institutes, and domestic and international social and non-profit organizations.

Degrees offered: BA, BA with Specialization in Legal Studies, minor


The Washington State Legislative Intern Program brings more than 70 college students to Olympia for a one-of-a-kind educational and professional opportunity. Two Seattle University Political Science students, Demetra Annest and Leslie Burnett, participated in the program during Winter Quarter 2017, supervised by Political Science instructor Dr. Patrick Schoettmer.

Support our work

News and Events

Onur Bakiner has received the Best Book Award from the Human Rights sectionof the American Political Science Association (APSA) for Truth Commissions: Memory, Power, and Legitimacy. APSA is the largest political science grouping in the United States and their journals are regarded as “flagship” in the field.

Alum Benes AldanaCaptain Benes Z. Aldana, ’91, chief trial judge of the U.S. Coast Guard, selected as president of the National Judicial College, the nation’s most influential institute for the continuing education of judges. More here.

Patrick Schoettmer joins the faculty to teach American political institutions. He focuses his research on the role of religious groups in politics in the U.S. More here.

Professor Onur Bakiner published Truth Commissions: Memory, Power, and Legitimacy in which he examined the success of truth commissions in promoting policy reform, human rights accountability, and the public recognition of human rights violations. More here.

The Seattle City Council unanimously reappointed Professor Angelique Davis to the Civil Service Commission for a three-year term. More here.