Department of Political Science, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

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Welcome to Political Science

The mission of the Department of Political Science is to promote responsible citizenship, prepare students for jobs in County, State, and Federal institutions, and qualify our majors for acceptance to top-notch graduate programs and law schools. The Political Science program is designed to provide majors with exposure to a broad range of topics within the field of 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-American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public administration and public law-are offered in the major.  Introductory courses in American Politics, Legal Systems, Comparative Politics and World Politics serve the general education program.

Political Science majors receive training that permits them to enter careers in law, government, interest groups and political advocacy, campaign management, journalism, and education (with supplemental coursework in education). A sampling of our recent graduates shows employment in such careers as prosecutor, public defender, IRS Attorney, elected state representative, police department captain, newspaper editor, journalist, and county government administrator. Many of our graduates have gone on to pursue law and graduate degrees. The UH Hilo Political Science program prides itself on small classes, personal advising, and quality education with aloha.

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 internships in local, state, and federal agencies, as well as a spring internship in the office of a state legislator.  Political science students who demonstrate mastery of the subject matter, professional competence, and responsibility are eligible to participate in these internship programs.  Through the internship programs students gain a unique experience in politics and government that supplements their coursework and may enhance their post-graduation employment prospects.

The Department, along with our student organization, Hui Na Lahui Huipu (Model United Nations Club), also 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.