Political science is the academic field that systematically studies the activity of making and enforcing rules and the relations of power intrinsic to this process, or, put simply, how we decide “who gets what.” Since politics encompasses a wide range of institutions and human behavior, political science is a far-reaching discipline. Political activities ranging from the behavior of leaders to the public policy aspects of nuclear energy are covered in this field. Virtually every aspect of our lives is affected by politics, whether it be the voting behavior of our elected officials, war in some distant part of the world, the price of gasoline, or what we watch on television.
The Political Science program is designed to provide students with exposure to a broad range of topics within contemporary political science and train students in the techniques and theories used by political scientists to explore, describe, and explain political phenomena. All the major subfields of political science are offered in the major: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public administration, and public law.
Political Science website
Visit the Political Science website at http://hilo.hawaii.edu/depts/politicalsci/.
Political Science majors are well prepared for entry into the job market in a wide variety of fields and for admission to law or other graduate programs. Political Science majors most often pursue careers in law, government, interest groups and (with supplementary coursework) journalism, teaching and business. Students majoring in other fields where they can anticipate interacting with government officials (for example in business) may benefit from the minor in Political Science.
By graduation, Political Science majors will be expected to have a firm understanding of the actors, institutions, and laws that influence how governmental policy is made. Students will be able to understand the relations of these actors and the outcomes of their relations on both a philosophical and practical level, and predict the ramifications of structural reforms to political systems. Students will be expected to analyze current and past political phenomena according to the theory and methods used by political scientists, and be able to express their analysis in coherent essays and research papers.
Political Science course offerings contribute to fulfilling the College's educational purpose of preparing students “to meet the demands of both profession and citizenship.”
The Political Science Department sponsors a number of hands-on activities to broaden and deepen the students' knowledge of political science. Among these are a variety of internship experiences in local, state, and federal agencies, as well as a spring internship in the office of a state legislator. In addition, those students interested in law school may find the Department's Mock Trial course useful.
The Department, along with our student organization, Hui Na Lahui Huipu (Model United Nations Club), sponsors a team that competes each April in the National Model United Nations in New York City. This competition, which meets in part at UN headquarters, draws 3,000 college students from some 200 universities and colleges from around the world. Team members must take POLS 345 to prepare them for the competition. They learn basic facts about the UN, rules of procedure, speech and caucusing skills, how to write resolutions and position papers, background on the country they will represent, and the foreign policy position of that country on some 30 assigned international issues. The UH Hilo Model United Nations team is the only one that competes in New York City from the state of Hawai‘i.
The Political Science Club serves the educational and social interests of students and provides leadership opportunities for club officers. Club members arrange activities and events that promote awareness of political issues .
Certain outstanding Political Science majors will be invited by the Political Science faculty to write a senior thesis, a research effort that will be assigned and guided by an individual faculty member. In addition, exceptional students may be invited to become members of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo's Iota Iota chapter of the National Political Science Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha .