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UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Political Science

Department of Political Science
Division of Social Sciences
Ellison Hall 3838
Telephone: (805) 893-3432
Undergraduate e-mail:
Graduate e-mail:
Department Chair: Kathleen Bruhn


Are democracies with only two political parties more representative than those with many parties? How can governments respect diverse ethnic, racial, and religious identities, and still promote bonds of common citizenship? What should be the role of the United States in an increasingly interdependent global economy? These are the types of questions that political scientists explore, but they also represent issues that require ordinary citizens to make informed judgments.

The Department of Political Science offers a balanced program, emphasizing the integration of theory and practice rather than any single approach or methodology. In addition to its standard program, the department also offers a public service emphasis for undergraduate majors. An undergraduate honors thesis program is available to selected students. The M.A. and Ph.D. programs encompass work in all fields of political science.

Advising is available to undergraduates through the Undergraduate Advising Office which counsels students during scheduled hours and by appointment. Students are encouraged, in addition, to consult with individual faculty members about course content and professional or career concerns. Graduate advisors are appointed by the department and may be contacted through the department office.

Students with a bachelor’s degree in political science who are interested in pursuing a California Teaching Credential should contact the credential advisor in the Graduate School of Education as soon as possible.

Prizes and Scholarships

The Department of Political Science awards four undergraduate scholarships and prizes each year.

The Lancaster Scholarship is given to the top student or students with significant course work completed in international relations and comparative politics. Interested students must submit an application by the deadline early spring quarter. Criteria for selection include a student’s grade-point average, successful completion of coursework in international relations and comparative politics, financial need, and length of residence in Santa Barbara County.

The Reg Robinson Award is given annually to the student or students with the highest grade point average in international relations and comparative politics courses. Final selection is made by the Reg Robinson Award Committee in the Department of Political Science.

The Kevin Patrick Moran Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students majoring in political science who demonstrate leadership qualities, academic promise, and a devotion to the peaceful resolution of conflict. Interested students must submit an application by the deadline in spring quarter.

The Larry Adams Scholarship in Public Policy is given quarterly to a political science student working 10-12 hours per week in a local governmental agency. Interested students must submit an application by the deadline advertised each quarter.

For further information regarding these scholarships and prizes, please contact the Undergraduate Advising Office, Ellison Hall 3838.

Honors Thesis Program

In the winter quarter of their junior year, students with outstanding academic records are eligible for the department’s honors thesis program. Those accepted begin their work in the following quarter in a specially designed seminar. In their senior year, they take additional seminar work and write a thesis. Honors graduates will be identified separately each year at the head of the graduation list for political science, and will be eligible for graduation with Distinction in the Major. Details are available from the department office.