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Political Science

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Fast Facts

Faculty: 5

Available for: Major, Minor

Emphasis Within the Major: American government, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, Russian politics, Latin-American politics, environmental politics, electoral studies, civic engagement studies

Popular Second Majors
International Studies
Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

» Program Website

This program encourages students to participate in the university's Washington Semester program.

An education in political science at Stetson University is about more than elections, treaties and lawmaking. Political science offers students a broad and challenging preparation for life in public affairs or commerce, whether in this country or abroad. It does so in an environment of small classes and seminars supplemented by a rich array of special opportunities both on and off campus. By the time they reach senior year, political science majors are ready to envision, develop and research their own senior research capstone thesis under the supervision of one or more full-time faculty members.

A Distinctive Program

A distinctive feature of Stetson University's program is its emphasis on opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. Our political science program may take you to the neighborhoods of DeLand and surrounding communities or as far as Latin America, Europe, or Washington, D.C. You could find yourself interning for a government agency in Tallahassee, and lobbying bills at our Floyd M. Riddick Model United States Senate. Our award-winning faculty members are all actively engaged citizens.

Academics and Research

Independent Research

The political science department encourages all its students, especially juniors and seniors, to submit research projects/papers to Stetson University's annual undergraduate research event, the Stetson Showcase. We also encourage our students to apply for Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience grants that allow for faculty-mentored original research and writing and, ultimately, presentation of the finished product at an appropriate national or regional undergraduate research conference. Political science students regularly win awards at these and other research-based conferences.

Facilities and opportunities

Students have the opportunity to participate in the Floyd M. Riddick Model United States Senate, student-run political party organizations, student government and issue-oriented organizations like Oxfam and STAND. All political science majors are strongly encouraged to participate in study abroad experiences and/or in our unique Washington semester program.

The political science department is housed in historic Elizabeth Hall. All classrooms used by political science instructors are smart classrooms (web and wireless-connected with projection capabilities). All courses are linked to online content via the university-wide Blackboard software.

Preparation for graduate study

Political science students graduate with advanced skills in reading comprehension, both quantitative and qualitative social science analysis, analytical writing and logical argumentation. Familiarity with the main debates and theoretical frameworks of the discipline are expected of our graduates. Accordingly, our best students move on to some of the best graduate programs and law schools in the country and the world.

Awards and Recognition

Distinguished Faculty

With doctoral degrees from such prestigious institutions as The London School of Economics, Columbia University, and the University of Florida, our faculty is nationally and internationally known scholars in their chosen fields, as well as award-winning teachers on the Stetson University campus. Eugene Huskey is a leading expert on Kyrgyzstan. William Nylen has received a Fulbright Research/Teaching Fellow award to work in Mozambique in 2013. He and Wayne Bailey are also recent winners of Stetson University's First Year Student Advocate Awards. Our full-time faculty and their areas of research include:

  • Stephen Day, Ph.D., Georgetown University; Middle East politics
  • David L. Hill, Ph.D., University of Florida; American politics, Research Methodology and Campaigns and Elections
  • Eugene Huskey, Ph.D., London School of Economics; comparative politics, Russian and Central Asian politics, Russian presidency and bureaucracy, Russian law, politics in Kyrgyzstan
  • William R. Nylen, Ph.D., Columbia University; comparative politics, Latin American politics, participatory democratic innovations in Latin America, politics in Mozambique
  • Steven Smallpage, Ph.D., Michigan State University, M.A., University of Toronto; empirical political psychology, American political culture and development

Grant-Funded Research

One of the ways Stetson University fosters excellence in undergraduate programs is through the Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience. Each year undergraduate scholars are selected in a university-wide competition for grants to work with a faculty mentor on a summer research project.

Undergraduate awards and honors

Students have the opportunity to join the political science honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha, and the law honor society, Phi Alpha Theta.

Courses and Curriculum

» View the Stetson University Course Catalog for more information on the curriculum and courses for this academic program.

Beyond the Classroom


Each semester, Wayne Bailey assists students in gaining internships with circuit court judges, local government agencies, the supervisor of elections, and the U.S. Congress. Anne Hallum arranges and supervises summer internships for students with the Alliance for International Reforestation, an environmental organization working in Guatemala and Nicaragua. During this experience, students live with families in these countries and work on reforestation and educational projects in mountain villages. In conjunction with Stetson University's Latin American studies program, selected students participate in fully-funded summer internships in Campeche, Mexico and other sites in Latin America.

After Stetson

Diverse Careers

The political science department is proud of the political accomplishments of many alumni, particularly former U.S. senator Max Cleland (1997-2003), former Florida senator Jack Latvala (1994-2002), former Florida representative Joe Negron (2000-2006) and representative Andy Gardiner (Republican majority leader in the Florida House of Representatives 2004-2006).

Several graduates of our department have become prominent political scientists, working at the Hoover Institute, Birmingham-Southern College, Texas A&M, University of Arizona and Oxford University. Additionally, many of Florida's finest attorneys were Stetson University political science majors and work for firms such as Holland & Knight, and Metz, Hauser, Husband & Daughton. Our graduates are also found in law firms around the country.