Welcome to the Political Science Department

What We Are About -

Globe of flags

The Political Science major helps students understand the organization and functions of political systems, institutions, and processes in the United States and the global community. According to their interests, majors may choose the "standard" track, the "pre-law" track, or the "international affairs" track. The political science minor is designed for students in other disciplinary majors. It encourages them to consider the role of politics in their chosen fields as well as career alternatives. Also, the department is committed to help the general student become politically competent citizens in a world increasingly characterized by political, social, and economic diversity.

The faculty combine theory and political experience by offering a balanced curriculum, research experiences, field trips, internships, service learning and close student-faculty interaction. Students put their classroom insights to use in career-oriented internships in Santa Barbara in legislative offices, private legal offices, city administration, regional planning agencies, political campaigns, and various social service agencies. Similar internships are available through Westmont’s off-campus programs such as those in San Francisco, Brussels, and in Washington, D.C.

Political Science in the Christian College.

The department’s goal is to educate and graduate citizens well-versed in political science and who put their knowledge to work in service to Christ and others. In this regard, the department has adopted the following statement by Reinhold Niebuhr, a Christian theologian and social philosopher, as a theme for the department’s mission:

Politics will to the end of history be an area where conscience and power meet, where the ethical and coercive factors of human life interpenetrate and work out their tentative and uneasy compromises. (from Moral Man and Immoral Society)

In various ways, this orientation toward political life provides a context for teaching and learning in our courses. We do not offer easy solutions to political problems that oftentimes result in doctrinaire or narrow ideological positions. Nor do we believe that studying politics must end in cynicism and the conclusion that political life is without hope. Rather, we approach our task with the view that understanding the realities of politics is critical in everyone’s life as tempered by ethical demands informed by Christian faith and practice.

What Do I Do With Political Science?

Career choices and opportunities with a B.A. degree in political science are many and varied. The faculty gladly assist students as they consider career options. Westmont’s political science majors have pursued careers in law, teaching at all levels, management consulting, public relations, journalism, government administration, health and other social services, congressional staffing, foreign service, the military and police services, computer sales, Christian ministry, and missions.