Welcome | University of Portland


What is the added value of looking at our society through the lens of a political scientist? Students gain nuanced insights about societies through rigorous and systematic analysis. Political science aims to understand the world and how it works, what factors influence decision-making, behavior, and norms, and gives us insights on how to make policy changes for the betterment of societies.  

The faculty experts within the Department of Political Science and Global Affairs provide students with a rigorous, top-notch education in our discipline's four primary subfields:  


  • American Politics. The focus here is American political processes and institutions, decision-making process, American political culture, behavior, and the law.  
  • International Relations. IR focuses on the international system and the relationships that develop within it. Concepts such as power, security, interdependence, human rights, and globalization are just a few of the key areas of study.  
  • Comparative Politics. Comparativists analyze the similarities and differences in patterns of politics across the world. Research topics include political protest, violence, and rebellion, social movements and their strategies, identity, ideology, and culture. 
  • Political Theory. Aristotle calls political science the "master science" because it is through politics that a society determines its public policies and laws. Political theory helps us to examine our political life by understanding what shapes values and norms within society.  


We offer applied and high-impact learning such as: 

  • Skill Development: Research papers, presentations, and multi-media reports 
  • Active Learning: applied problem solving through analysis, critique, role-play, and debates 
  • Analysis: Multiple perspectives examined and critiqued 
  • Teamwork and Leadership: encouraged in group assignments and presentations 
  • Career Development: Internship placements, Internship for credit, Washington Semester Program and Mock Trial 
  • Independent Work: Thesis and Directed Study options 


Students are well prepared for various careers 

  • Excellent success in students being admitted to prestigious regional and national law schools and Master's Programs (MPP, MPH) 
  • Placements in post-graduate service organizations such as Jesuit Volunteer Corps and in Global opportunities such as teaching ESL abroad 
  • Recent alumni are working in the following fields: 
  • Higher Education (e.g., professor, digital communications, admissions counselor) 
  • City Government (e.g., urban planning) 
  • Business, Government and Non-profit sectors (e.g., various marketing and communications roles) 
  • State government (e.g., legislative analyst and program coordinator) 
  • Law (e.g., as lawyers, paralegals, and business managers) 
  • Community organizing and advocacy 


Come join us and find out what a Pol major can do for you! Questions? Contact the Chair. 


Anne Pitsch Santiago, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Political Science and Global Affairs