Chair and Associate Professor
B.A., College of William & Mary, 1993; M.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1997; Ph.D., Emory University, 2004
Associate Chair and Professor
Brian K. Grodsky
B.A., University of Colorado, 1996; M.A., University of Michigan, 2002; Ph.D., 2006
B.A., University of Richmond, 1990; J.D., University of Georgia School of Law, 1994; Ph.D., Georgia State University, 2002
Devin T. Hagerty
B.A., Rutgers University, 1984; M.A.L.D., Tufts University, 1987; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1995
Roy T. Meyers
B.A., Colby College, 1976; M.A., University of Michigan, 1981; Ph.D., 1988
B.A., State University of New York at Oswego, 1989; M.S., Florida State University, 1990; Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1997
Cynthia A. Hody
B.A., University of California, 1977; M.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1979; Ph.D., 1986
B.Sc., Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil), 2003; M.Sc., 2006; M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 2009; Ph.D., 2012
B.A., University of Notre Dame, 2000; M.P.M., University of Maryland, College Park, 2002; M.A. 2005; Ph.D., 2006
B.A., North Carolina Central University, 1992; M.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1996; Ph.D., 2001
Lisa Pace Vetter
B.A., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1991; M.A., Fordham University, 1994; Ph.D., 2000
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010; M.S., Indiana University Bloomington, 2014; Ph.D., 2015
A.B., College of William & Mary, 2004; M.A., University of Texas at Austin, 2012; Ph.D., 2013
B.A., State University of New York, College at Cortland, 1984; M.A., University of Wyoming, 1987; Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 1991
Senior Lecturer and Shady Grove Program Director
B.Com., St. Xaviers College, University of Calcutta, 1989; A.M., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998; Ph.D., 2003
Arthur T. Johnson
B.S.F.S., Georgetown University, 1966; M.A., Syracuse University, 1968; Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1975
B.A. Hanover College, 1959; M.A., Yale University, 1961; Ph.D. 1966
Harold L. Levy
A.B., The University of Chicago, 1956; J.D., 1959; M.A., 1963; Ph.D., 1972
B.A., Lincoln University, 1969; M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1971; Ph.D, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1983
Nicholas R. Miller
B.A., Harvard University, 1963; M.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1964; Ph.D., 1973
Courses in this program are listed under POLI.
What is a political problem? Who governs, and what is the nature of power? How can justice be achieved in human society? When is a government legitimate, and what are its proper tasks? Such questions have fascinated men and women for centuries. Political science is the systematic attempt to answer them.
Political science is a liberal arts major that helps students to think more critically and coherently about political matters, to understand better what is going on in the world, to make reasoned value choices about contemporary political issues and to overcome personal alienation from political life.
In addition, a Political Science, B.A. prepares students for a variety of careers. The major in political science is a directed liberal arts program that is at once challenging, yet responsive to the individual student’s intellectual and career interests. Its required components cover both long-standing philosophical questions and contemporary social scientific knowledge about political life. Students are exposed to the breadth of the discipline through lower-level survey courses taught by experts in the various subfields that define political science. At the upper-level, students take more specialized courses and can, if they wish, concentrate in particular areas of the discipline.
Many options are available to students in the Department of Political Science: 1) In addition to its major, the Department offers six minors and one certificate. These programs give students of all majors a solid foundation for careers or graduate study in areas such as government, law, politics, and international affairs; 2) The Department runs a Legal Internship and an Internship in Policy, Politics and Administration. Each program annually places 15-20 students in internships with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, law firms, and state and federal legislative bodies. These internships give students valuable practical experience, professional contacts, and opportunities for self-discovery; 3) Students with special interests not adequately served by regular course offerings may do independent study projects under the supervision of a full-time faculty member; 4) Qualified students may enroll in the departmental honors program; and 5) Qualified students may take graduate courses offered by the Department of Public Policy.
Career and Academic Paths
Typical career options for political science graduates include: government service and diplomacy; politics; law; teaching; journalism; business; and work as lobbyists, public affairs officers and directors of non-profit institutions, interest groups and international organizations. UMBC political science students have gone on to such outstanding law and graduate schools as Yale, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University, as well as all of the Baltimore- and Washington-area schools. They have become judges, partners in law firms, executive officers of major corporations, and government administrators. Some have become foreign-service officers or have attained cabinet-level positions in state and local government. Others have become tenured faculty members and administrators at colleges and universities. Many political science majors go on to earn graduate or law degrees.
The political science faculty is committed to teaching as well as to research. Faculty members present papers at scholarly conferences throughout the nation, write books and publish articles in the best journals in the profession. But at the same time, faculty members are dedicated teachers. They teach all the courses within the department, from the introductory to the most advanced. They are evaluated and rewarded as much by the quality of their teaching as the quality of their scholarship.
The Political Science and Prelaw advising office, in the Public Policy Building, room 357, offers a dedicated staff; access to graduate, law and professional school catalogs and information about internships available through the political science department and other institutions. Interested students should stop by the office or call 410-455-2063 for further assistance.
Political Science Double Majors
Political Science has no formal policy on counting courses for double majors. However, we do have some informal norms that are followed. For example, there are at least three potential areas of double counting - gender and women’s studies, political theory minor, and the POLI methods requirement. On an ad hoc basis, similar cases for other departments will be considered. However, in all cases, the student would still need to complete 36 political science credits (21 upper level and two 400 level), which would include the double counted courses. The double counted courses would not need to be taken under the POLI rubric.
Gender and women’s studies majors have two courses that could be considered for both majors: POLI 328 - Women, Gender, Sexuality, and Political Power in the U.S. and POLI 338 - Women, Gender, and Law .
For the political thought minor, we often accept classes from philosophy. The classes that are counted in this way are listed in the description of the political thought minor below.
With regard to the political science methods courses (POLI 300 , POLI 301 , and POLI 302), in a case where the second major has a methods requirement or course, a student might take that course instead of one of the POLI methods courses. Approval would need to be granted by the student’s political science adviser to make sure there is course equivalency. Sometimes, the department has also required STAT 121 in these cases.
An honors program is available for qualified majors. This program is especially recommended for students intending to go on to graduate or professional school or for those who wish to demonstrate specific skills and experience. Students interested in completing the honors program must have a 3.25 GPA overall and a 3.5 GPA in political science courses. Honors candidates also must write an honors thesis under the supervision of two faculty advisors. A complete description of the honors program and its requirements is available from the department office or Undergraduate Program Director.
Accelerated Bachelor’s and Master’s in Public Policy Program
The political science department and the public policy department cooperate in offering qualified students a joint program leading to both a B.A. in Political Science and a master’s degree in public policy. Students in the joint program can earn the two degrees with 145 credits in five or five and one half years. If pursued separately, the two degrees would require 160 credits and at least six years.
Students with a GPA of at least 3.3 may apply for admission into the program after completing 75 credits. During their senior year, provisionally admitted students can take graduate–level courses. Full admission into the graduate program will take place after the B.A. has been granted, provided satisfactory grades have been obtained. The Graduate Record Exam is usually waived for accelerated pathways public policy students.
Graduate–level POLI courses can count toward the 36 POLI credits required for the B.A. The graduate methods sequence can be used to satisfy the undergraduate methodology requirement. A complete description of the M.P.P. program may be found in the Graduate Catalog. Further information on the joint program is available from the Department of Public Policy.
Legal Studies/Pre-law Advisors:
The political science department offers a strong preparation for students interested in law school or employment in law-related areas that do not require law school (e.g., regulatory agencies, judicial administration, etc.). Courses on legal subjects also may be useful to political science students who have other goals and to students in history, economics, American studies, Africana studies and other majors. Several levels of courses exist. For students interested only in introductory course overviews in the legal area, the department offers POLI 230 - Introduction to Constitutional Law and POLI 233 - Common Law and Legal Analysis .
The Political Science department has a Council of Majors; a Pre-law Society and a national honors society, Pi Sigma Alpha. Among other activities, these organizations foster opportunities for students to build informal relationships with faculty members, assist with departmental decision-making, host forums on graduate and law school, and network with other political science students and alumni. UMBC also sponsors a Model United Nations program whose members attend national conferences. The UMBC Model United Nations team regularly wins awards at these conferences.
Political Science Department Home Page
Students and others are encouraged to visit the department’s home page to learn more about political science faculty members and selected courses and to connect with a large number of politically relevant links to government and political data and career information. The department’s home page is www.umbc.edu/poli
ProgramsBachelor of ArtsCertificateNon-Degree
CoursesPolitical SciencePublic AffairsPublic PolicyPage: 1