Department of Political Science
The Department of Political Science's continued commitment to research, teaching, and service has catapulted the department to national prominence in recent years. Of the department's seventeen faculty members, three hold distinguished professorships and all have been recognized for their scholarship, teaching, or service by regional or national professional
groups and associations. In fact, one UNL political scientist is an author of the most downloaded paper in the history of the discipline's top journal, The American Political Science Review. That paper, "Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?" spurred several large research grants to the department and later resulted in a campus visit from Comedy Central's The Daily Show.
In addition to their research endeavors, political science faculty are equally committed to excellent teaching and the professional development of students. Six faculty have won either college-wide or university-wide teaching awards; one is a charter member of the university’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers; and one is the reigning Undergraduate Educator of the Year. Several are acknowledged semester after semester by UNL’s Alumni Association for making a difference in the lives of students. Five have participated in UNL’s teaching peer review project and most faculty regularly act as hands-on mentors to undergraduate students in the university's UCARE (Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences) program.
The core of the department's curriculum blends theoretical insights, substantive results, and practical applications to the real world on topics ranging from war to human rights to American elections to biology and politics - a field in which UNL is the nation's leader. Majors take a minimum of two courses in three of five subfields that define the discipline, ensuring exposure to a broad range of topics while still leaving them room to specialize in the area that most interests them. These subfields include American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and public policy. The department also offers opportunities for students to get involved in the Human Rights and Human Diversity program, International Studies, the Center for Judaic Studies, and the Institute for Ethnic Studies. Graduate students can pursue a joint Ph.D. with the College of Journalism.
The department's long tradition of research and teaching excellence coupled with its focus on two burgeoning areas of excellence - biology & politics and conflict & human rights - make the political science department a great place for any undergraduate or graduate student. Students receive the highest quality training for careers in government, teaching, the non-profit sector, business, and the law. Undergraduates have the opportunity to be involved in exciting programs, such as Pi Sigma Alpha (the political science honorary), an internship with local, state, and national government agencies or non-profits, UCARE, and study abroad. Graduate students typically have close working relationships with faculty and often work collaboratively with them. They have secured jobs with governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, liberal arts colleges, and research universities.
We appreciate the support of our alumni and friends of the department and ask for your continued support.