Political Science: The UDC Edge

Our Washington, DC location provides unmatched opportunities for students to not just learn about but to actually experience how politics and policy development really works through real-world opportunities.  A few of the advantages Political Science students at UDC enjoy include:

  • Exclusive Internships on Capitol Hill as well as internship opportunities with national and international think tanks, government agencies, and policy/advocacy organizations.
  • Presentations and networking opportunities with local professionals through long standing connections between UDC and various political and diplomatic institutions.
  • Direct and participatory observations of government and political processes.

Congressional Internship Program (CIP) – Download Application here

Political Science: Bachelor of Arts Degree

Our communities are in need of strong political thinkers, researchers, and leaders who can help make a difference.  Perhaps you have always wanted to play a more active role in shaping public policy and reforming public institutions, but you are not certain about how to do it. The UDC Political Science program can help prepare you for your journey to achieve personal and professional aspirations.

Located just minutes from the heartbeat of the federal government, in the UDC Political Science program, you will broaden your understanding of political institutions and policy processes; develop political awareness and social consciousness; and immerse yourself in public service and civic engagement.  Through experiential experiences, political activities at the local and national levels, and faculty mentoring, you will be prepared as life-long learners and for the changing trends of the 21st century.

The program faculty are  highly qualified professionals, actively involved in discipline-related national and international professional associations.  They serve students as teachers and mentors in an engaging learning environment.

Political Science:   Vision, Mission, Goals, & Student Learning Objectives


To empower students through a rigorous academic curriculum that broadens their knowledge of political institutions and processes; instills social consciousness; and encourages public service and civic engagement in the District of Columbia, the nation and the global community.


To prepare students for active citizenship in the changing world of the 21st century by increasing their knowledge of political institutions and governance in local, national, and global communities.


  • Prepare students for active citizenship in the changing world of the 21st century by increasing their knowledge of political institutions and governance in local, national and global communities.
  • Provide learning experiences through which students develop proficiency in analytical and research skills.
  • Provide experiential opportunities designed to model professional and career pathways as well as prepare students for emerging job market demands.
  • Develop collaborative partnerships with discipline-related professional organizations, local and federal government agencies, international organizations, trade and advocacy associations, research institutes and political science programs at colleges and universities in the Washington metropolitan area.
  • Prepare students for post-baccalaureate study in graduate and law school, and entry into the public and private sectors.

Student Learning Objectives

Upon completion of requirements in the Political Science program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of discipline relevant concepts, institutional structures, theories, and methods.
  • Analyze political and social problems as they relate to processes and structures of political and social systems.
  • Contrast and analyze diverse perceptions of politics in the United States and international arena.
  • Analyze racial, ethnic, socio-economic, and other politically based national and international problems and issues in contemporary society.
  • Demonstrate discipline-related writing, analytical, communication, and technological proficiency.
  • Apply quantitative and qualitative research skills.
  • Demonstrate skill-sets associated with career pathways in Political Science.


Curriculum and Requirements

Program of Study

Students must complete 120 credit hours, including 33 credits required by the major, to earn the Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.  You can learn through a core curriculum and plan of study that  emphasizes major areas of the Political Science discipline including:

  • American Politics
  • International and Global Politics*
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Science Methodology and Research**
  • Experiential Opportunities***

*A concentration in Global Studies launched Fall Semester 2017 is an interdisciplinary curriculum integration academic courses and experiential activities such as internships or study abroad, to help create global citizens.  It compliments all academic degrees with a requirement of 15 academic credits for completion.

**A  three(3) course curriculum core (Political Research Skills, Methods of Political Science & Senior Seminar), that trains students to become applied researchers, is the hallmark of the program.

***The Congressional Internship Program and Model International Organizations Simulation programs introduce students to real world scenarios.

Student Organizations

Chi Rho Chapter, Pi Sigma Alpha, National Political Science Honor Society
Political Science  Students Organization (PSSO)*
Global Affairs and Diplomacy Association (GADA)
The Saudi Political Science Student Association

* PSSO & GADA are UDC Student Government accredited organizations, active in promoting scholarly, social, and professional development activities for majors and interested students.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Mohamed El-Khawas, Professor of Political Science, specializes in US foreign policy, international relations and organizations, and comparative politics with a focus on contemporary Middle East and Africa. He is a renowned scholar, speaking at national and international conferences, and has numerous publications, including seven books, chapters, and over one hundred refereed journal articles in Britain, the United States, Canada, Tanzania, Egypt, and South Africa.

Dr. Suzan Harkness, Associate Professor of Political Science, specializes in public policy, American Government, political analysis, instructional technology, and institutional effectiveness. She is a scholar and administrator, speaking at national and international events, webinars, conferences, and publishes annually. She has held administrative positions in higher education as vice president for academic affairs, assistant dean, managing director and director.

Dr. Shiela Harmon Martin, Division Chair and Professor of Political Science, specializes in American Government, African American Politics, and Public Policy Analysis. She has held positions in the federal and District of Columbia governments in the areas of public policy analysis, civil rights, and international affairs and protocol.  Dr. Martin serves as Archivist for the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.

Dr. Amanda Huron, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, specializes in Urban Geography, Geographical Systems Information and DC Politics and History.  Her research interests are urban geography, affordable housing, social theory, Washington, D.C., and mapping for social change. She has numerous publications focusing on D.C.’s limited-equity housing cooperatives; tenant organizing and anti-displacement struggles in Washington, D.C. and Johannesburg, South Africa; and the theory of the urban commons.

Dr. Guy Shroyer, Associate Professor of Political Science, specializes in nationalism and social identity. He is on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Diplomatic Dialogue in the Americas, an international civil society organization recognized by the Organization of American States. Dr. Shroyer also chairs the District-based Youth Organizing for Change and Opportunity, which works with at-risk DC youth. The organization, in partnership with UDC’s Political Science Program, is developing a high school Model Organization of American States.

Career Pathways and Prospects

Through rigorous coursework, internships, mentoring and networking opportunities in the nation’s capital, the Political Science program is the ideal launching point for a successful career in any of the following areas:

  • Local, state or federal government
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Electoral politics
  • Advocacy and organizing
  • International relations and affairs

Many political science graduates also successfully pursue law school, including at UDC’s own David A. Clarke School of Law, or other graduate studies.

Contact info:

Dr. Shiela Harmon Martin, Chair, Division of Social & Behavioral Sciences
E: smartin@udc.edu | T: 202.274.5787 | O: Building 41 Rm 407-01