Catalog 2017–2018: Political Science

This is content from the Catalog 2017–2018 back issue. Please visit the current catalog for current information.

Department Chair: Katherine Young , Ph.D.

Social Sciences Division Office :
Office: University Classroom Building (UCB), Room 308
Tel: (808) 932-7100



Associate Professor:

Assistant Professor:

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.

Goals for Student Learning in the Major

By graduation, Political Science majors:

  • will be able to identify the major sub-fields of political science and the literature and scholarly contributions in each sub-field of political science;
  • will know the research methods and documentation requirements for conducting and reporting research in political science;
  • will be able to produce research papers in a Chicago format that demonstrate high levels of written communication fluency and information literacy;
  • will be able to communicate political ideas effectively through written and oral communication;
  • will be able to critically analyze political events and phenomena;
  • will be able to employ different statistical tests for the purposes of testing hypotheses and to select the right statistical test for the data at hand.

Prospects for Political Science Graduates

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.

Contributions to the UH Hilo General Education Program

Political Science course offerings contribute to fulfilling the College’s educational purpose of preparing students “to meet the demands of both profession and citizenship.”

Special Aspects of the Political Science Program

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 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.

Political Sciemce students may choose to work with Political Science faculty to write a senior thesis, a research effort that will be assigned and guided by an individual faculty member. Students will present thesis research and findings to a public audience.

Students in Political Science with strong academic performance may apply to become members of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo’s Iota Iota chapter of the National Political Science Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha (ΠΣΑ).