Chair's Welcome

Welcome to the Department of Political Science!

Lowell BarringtonWe are sometimes asked by prospective students (and their parents!) “What do you do in political science?”. Political science is the systematic study of politics. Its ultimate goals are to understand and explain significant political and socio-economic outcomes and to think carefully about how government can best function for the good of society.

Political Science majors often go on to hold positions in government, law, research, or advocacy. But the Political Science major opens a number of doors, and our graduates work in a variety of fields. This range of options is due in part to how well our students develop critical thinking abilities, writing and argumentation skills, and knowledge about laws, policies, and practices that affect all aspects of people’s daily lives.

I have served as Political Science chair since 2012. It has been so rewarding for me over this time to see the great students we get in the classroom (including those who decide to major in Political Science or International Affairs) and the excellent faculty we have to work with them. Our faculty are “teacher-scholars,” who are certainly known for their research but who also give students their full attention inside and outside the classroom. We teach our own classes – Political Science does not use teaching assistants – and we cap the size of our classes to allow us to get to know our undergraduates well. We also oversee three exceptional master’s programs (Political Science, Public Service, and International Affairs), which are also small by design to allow graduate students and faculty to work closely together.

Perhaps even more important than the question I started with is one we also hear a lot: “Why should I go to Marquette to study politics?” Marquette’s mission is a key part of who we are and what we do in the Department of Political Science. We care about others, especially those who are marginalized and less fortunate than most. We believe in the value of democratic institutions and practices. And we look forward to helping you, as Marquette calls on you to do, to “Be the Difference.” As one of our former students put it when asked why students interested in politics should come to Marquette, “Because Marquette is a Jesuit institution, you can study political science with a conscience.”

Please take some time to look around our website, which includes details about our majors and graduate programs, our faculty, and what our recent graduates are doing today. We also welcome any questions you have. I look forward to hearing from you and to seeing you, whether this week or over the next few years, around the department.


Dr. Lowell Barrington, Chair