Our Program

The Politics Department at Willamette University challenges students to develop robust theoretical and practical understandings of the political world. Politics majors at Willamette benefit from challenging courses, taught by award-winning professors, that span the breadth of political interests and perspectives.

Our majors learn to read carefully, research effectively, speak competently, think critically, and write persuasively about the important political and socio-economic controversies that surround us. They are encouraged to think broadly yet pursue specific questions, issues and areas.

In political theory courses, students debate the perennial questions: "What is the purpose of politics?" "What is justice?" "What is the good life?" and reflect on more than two millennia of answers stretching from Homer to Homer Simpson. In American politics courses, students study environmental and welfare policies, the initiative and referendum process, constitutional law, the presidency, political parties, and elections. In global politics courses, students focus on Europe, Asia and Latin America, on topical issues such as the processes of democratization, economic development, globalization, revolution and war, and on national foreign policy regarding diplomacy, peace, and military security. As the capstone experience in their senior year, all politics majors work closely with a faculty advisor to complete a rigorous independent research thesis.

Located across the street from the Oregon State Capitol, our students benefit from immediate access to a real-world setting. Many students take advantage of our vibrant internship program at the Capitol by working in the Legislature or the Governor's Office, or with a state agency or lobbyist. Many also take part in the study of politics off campus for a semester, either on domestic programs in Washington, DC, and Chicago, or on study abroad programs in Australia, Britain, Chile, Cuba, France, Ecuador, Germany, Ireland, South Africa and Spain.