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Political Science

Building upon the foundational teachings of the great political philosophers, our political science program provides students with essential knowledge of institutions and regimes, legislation and constitutional law, and the origins of war and peace.

Our Program

Our program covers the full range of the discipline’s subfields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations and political theory. Students have ample opportunities for exploration and discovery through a range of internships statewide as well as our proximity to Newport’s Naval War College and the University’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy, where a variety of speakers and presentations consider the domestic and international issues dominating world events.

Small classes, led by a highly qualified faculty, enable students to work closely with each other and with their professors. Our challenging curriculum is designed to foster analytical skills and encourage discourse as students learn to gather relevant information, develop logical arguments and approach problem-solving with informed perspective.

Majors may choose a concentration in either American government or international relations and comparative politics. Through our popular accelerated program, qualified undergraduates can earn their bachelor's degree in political science and a master’s degree in international relations within five years.

Program Spotlight: Interdisciplinary Rigor

I was able to take courses ranging from classical political philosophy to international relations and courses on Middle Eastern studies, which was my main interest and focus throughout the program.

I’ve been able to construct arguments that otherwise I never really thought I could. I’ve become more confident as a speaker and more of an independent thinker. This is a very supportive community, and you are able to collaborate with your peers. You will feel very welcomed here

Daniel Regan ’17​

Our Faculty

Our highly qualified and approachable faculty have expertise in American government, comparative politics, international relations and political philosophy. With an emphasis on personal attention, we guide our students through their individual courses of study in order to foster professional growth and a deeper understanding of our rigorous curriculum.​


Meet Our Faculty

Life After Salve

With extensive training in research, analysis, writing and public speaking, our students are well prepared for both graduate programs and professional careers. Our graduates find success as leaders in a wide range of fields, including:

  • Business, lobbying and consulting: Management, public relations, human resources, sales and advertising, business and labor groups, as well as a growing variety of public interest groups.
  • Electoral politics: Campaign managers, legislative staff, elected officials, political action committees, special interest groups and political parties.
  • Education and research: Public and private schools, colleges and universities, research organizations and think tanks focused on foreign affairs, American politics, public policy, the environment, the economy and various social problems.
  • Government and civil service: Legislative, executive and judicial branches and a wide variety of government agencies at the federal, state and local levels.
  • Intelligence analysis, homeland security and armed forces: Analysis, law enforcement, homeland security and national defense.
  • International organizations: Voluntary agencies, non-governmental organizations and international businesses, governmental agencies and other organizations.
  • Journalism: Print, broadcast and online journalism.
  • Law: Private practice, corporate law, special interest groups and nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local government.
  • Nonprofit organizations: Foundations and organizations that promote the public interest in public health, education, the environment, labor, urban issues and civil rights.

Our most recent alumni have acquired positions in organizations such as:

  • Boston Medical Center
  • Bowdoin Group
  • Cambridge Advisory Group
  • Ignition Factory, OMD Worldwide
  • National Work Queue at U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Northeastern University Law Journal
  • Office of the Colorado State Public Defender
  • Portsmouth Institute for Faith and Culture
  • R.I. Office of the Attorney General
  • Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • U.S. Marine Corps
  • U.S. State Department
  • World Affairs Forum

Major in Political Science (B.A.)

13 courses | 37 credits

Required courses:

  • POL115: The American Political System or POL120: How to Rule the World: Intro to International Relations
  • POL201: Classical Political Philosophy or POL202: Modern Political Philosophy
  • POL211: International Relations and Diplomacy or POL240: Comparative Politics
  • POL215: American Government: Classic and Contemporary Readings
  • POL372: Seminar in Research and Methodology
  • POL400: Guided Research Capstone
  • POL402: Multi-Media Research Application Capstone

Students also choose six elective courses in political science, selected in consultation with department faculty.

Minor in Political Science

6 courses | 18 credits

Required courses:

  • POL201: Classical Political Philosophy or POL202: Modern Political Philosophy
  • POL211: International Relations and Diplomacy
  • POL215: American Government: Classic and Contemporary Readings

Students also choose three elective courses in political science, selected in consultation with department faculty.


American Government and Public Law

The concentration provides a solid understanding of our political and legal systems from the founding to the present. Students explore the origins and development of constitutional law and legislation, our governing institutions, our political process and the ideas that have shaped American political life.

To complete the concentration, students choose four of their elective courses from the following list:

  • POL201: Classical Political Philosophy
  • POL202: Modern Political Philosophy
  • POL222: American Legal History
  • POL247: State Government Internship
  • POL299: Special Topics
  • POL324: American Political Thought
  • POL398: Special Topics in American Government
  • POL403: Constitutional Law and Development
  • POL406: The Fourth Amendment: Search and Seizure
  • POL414: Civil Liberties
  • POL415: Modern American Foreign Policy
  • POL421: Congress and the Legislative Process
  • POL422: American Presidency

International Relations and Comparative Politics

The concentration provides an understanding of the political, economic, social, environmental and military issues impacting our increasingly integrated world. Students learn to appreciate the great variety of regimes, from democracies to tyrannies, and the vast disparities of outcomes, from prosperity and the rule of law to misery and violence.

To complete the concentration, students choose four of their elective courses from the following list:

  • POL211: International Relations and Diplomacy
  • POL240: Comparative Politics
  • POL299: Special Topics
  • POL331: Contemporary Latin America
  • POL332: Contemporary Middle East
  • POL333: Contemporary Africa
  • POL334: Contemporary Asia
  • POL345: International Environment and Development
  • POL399: Special Topics in International and Comparative Politics
  • POL415: Modern American Foreign Policy
  • POL416: Politics of the European Union
  • POL420: Political Economy of Industrial Societies