Feb 22, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Political Science



Brian K. Grodsy

Associate Chair

William Blake

Shady Grove Program Director

Sunil Dasgupta

Undergraduate Program Director

Cynthia Hody



Laura Antkowiak
B.A., University of Notre Dame, 2000; M.P.M., University of Maryland, College Park, 2002; M.A., 2005; Ph.D., 2006

Jeffrey Davis
B.A., University of Richmond, 1990; J.D., University of Georgia School of Law, 1994; Ph.D., Georgia State University, 2002

Carolyn Forestiere
B.A., College of William & Mary, 1993; M.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1997; Ph.D., Emory University, 2004

Brian K. Grodsky
B.A., University of Colorado, 1996; M.A., University of Michigan, 2002; Ph.D., 2006

Devin T. Hagerty
B.A., Rutgers University, 1984; M.A.L.D., Tufts University, 1987; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1995

Thomas Schaller
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

Associate Professor

Ian Anson
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010; M.S., Indiana University Bloomington, 2014; Ph.D., 2015

William Blake
A.B., College of William & Mary, 2004; M.A., University of Texas at Austin, 2012; Ph.D., 2013

Felipe Filomeno
B.Sc., Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil), 2003; M.Sc., 2006; M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 2009; Ph.D., 2012

Cynthia Hody
B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1977; M.A., 1979; Ph.D., 1986

Eric Stoken
B.A., Wayne State University, 2005; M.A., 2007; Ph.D., George Washington University, 2016

Lisa Pace Vetter
B.A., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1991; M.A., Fordham University, 1994; Ph.D., 2000

Principal Lecturer

Brigid Starkey
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

Sunil Dasgupta
B.Com., St. Xavier’s College, University of Calcutta, 1989; A.M., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998; Ph.D., 2003

Professor Emeritus

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

George LaNoue
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

Roy T. Meyers
B.A., Colby College, 1976; M.A., University of Michigan, 1981; Ph.D., 1988

Cheryl Miller
B.A., Lincoln University, 1969; M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1971; Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1983


Research Professor

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.

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. The department also offers an 18-credit Political Science Minor .

Beyond the major and minor in Political Science, the department offers three additional minor programs and two certificate programs: Law and Justice Minor , Practical Policy and Politics Minor , World Politics Minor , Public Administration and Policy Certificate , and Security Studies Certificate . Students who major in Political Science as well as non-majors may choose to complete one or two of these minor and certificate programs. Students may count up to three POLI courses (nine credits) toward the completion of their Political Science major and minor(s)/certificate(s).  

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 Faculty

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.

Academic Advising

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

Given that the Bachelor of Arts degree requires students to complete a minimum of 120 total academic credits, students have ample opportunity to double major in Political Science (36 credits) and another discipline.  Students interested in world politics often complete majors in Political Science and History or Political Science and Global Studies. Students aiming for law school frequently combine majors in Political Science and Philosophy. Others interested in journalism choose to major in Political Science and English. In general, double-majoring is an excellent idea for student with aspirations for careers in any number of critical policy areas such as the environment (Political Science/ Geography and Environmental Science), public health (Political Science/ Public Health), or economic and social services (Political Science/ Economics). 

Honors Program

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:

Jeffrey Davis

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  and POLI 233 .

Student Organizations

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 Political Science department 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.




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