Political Science




Administrative Assistant


Academic Advisor



  • Houghton, Brian K. (2006) Ph.D. 2004, Pardee RAND Graduate School; M.A. 1995, The George Washington University; B.A. 1991, Brigham Young University.
  • Smith, Troy (2005) Ph.D. 1998, State University of New York at Albany; M.A. 1994, The George Washington University; B.A. 1991, Brigham Young University.


Associate Professor

  • Murdock, Michael G. (2007) Ph.D. 1999 University of Michigan Ann Arbor; M.A. 1994, University of Michigan Ann Arbor; M.A. 1990 Brigham Young University; B.A. 1988, Brigham Young University.


Assistant Professor

  • Akanoa, Christina (2018) M.A. 2003 University of Hawaii; B.A. 2000, Brigham Young University-Hawaii.
  • Blimes, Randall J. (2009) Ph.D. 2009, University of Colorado; M.A. 2005, University of Colorado at Boulder; B.S. 2003 University of Michigan.


Special Instructor

  • Kajiyama, Jennifer (2009) M.P.A. 2008, Brigham Young University; J.D. 2007, Brigham Young University; B.A. 2002, Brigham Young University-Hawaii.
  • Sailusi, Katoa (2018)
  • Tsukuyama, John (2013) Ph.D. 2014, University of St. Andrews; M.A. 2009, University of St. Andrews; B.A. 2008, Brigham Young University-Hawaii.


Emeritus Faculty

  • Robertson, Dale (1977-2011)
  • Jonassen, Jon Tikivanotau M. (1993-2015)

The Discipline

Political Science is the study of power and how human beings organize their public life. Political Science majors typically leave their undergraduate education prepared to enter graduate study, law school, business careers, and a host of other opportunities. Often times, political science majors serve their nations and the world through government service.  They learn valued skills, such as qualitative and quantitative analysis, written and oral communication, and critical thinking and graduate prepared to work and serve in a rapidly changing world.

Politics embraces more than the immediate concerns of politicians or pollsters.  It involves fundamental choices concerning life in our communities - whether local, national, or global.  Politics also allows humans to build order and peace from chaos and conflict.  Indeed, prosperity and fulfillment require a healthy political life - one that reflects our basic needs and interests, our highest aspirations, and balances the harsh requirements of power.

Political science involves a full range of inquiry, addressing questions such as:  "Who gets what?" "What is a just political order?" and "Why is it so often abused?"  The discipline utilizes methods ranging from statistical analysis to input historical comparison.  To develop skills in these methods, political science students reflect on influential and time-tested texts while also exploring cutting-edge theories.  Political science students also examine issues such as campaign finance reform and engage debates and the value of international organizations in the Pacific.  Students also study events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and phenomena such as the rise of global terrorism.  Political science students also examine key ethical questions and can thus explain intelligently whether or not the Athenians were justified in condemning Socrates to death.

Since we are all significantly shaped by the assumptions and practices of the institutions we inhabit, political science helps us to understand not only our world but also ourselves. If we choose to ignore politics, it doesn't go away; we just lose the opportunity to influence our communities for the better.

Career Opportunities

The Political Science Department offers an undergraduate degree in political science for students preparing for graduate degrees in related fields, professional degrees (law or business), a wide range of public service occupations (local, state, federal, or Foreign offices), or countless posts in organizations seeking to influence public policy.  The degree also serves the liberal arts students interested in an under graduate major that focuses on challenging questions facing modern society.

Students may emphasize the subfields of American government, comparative government, international politics, political philosophy, and public policy.

Programs and Degrees

  • B.A. in Political Science
  • Political Science Minor
  • Pre-law Advisement
  • Public Management Minor
  • Certificate in Emergency Management
  • Governance Certificate
  • Certificate in International Development
  • Legal Studies Certificate
  • Criminal Justice Certificate

Program Outcomes

Upon completing a major in Political Science, students will: 

  1. Write an effective research paper using professional formats;
  2. Write an effective persuasive/analytical essay/report;
  3. Demonstrate competence using logical/analytical skills;
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of political philosophy/theory;
  5. Demonstrate the critical reading skills needed to engage professional journals/monographs;
  6. Demonstrate content mastery in Int Relations, Law, US Government, Asia/Pacific, or Public Management;
  7. Conduct an effective oral presentation;
  8. Complete a meaningful internship or capstone paper.
Visit the Political Science website


Pre-law Advisement

There is no one special academic program undergraduate students should take to prepare them for admission to a law school. Most law schools prefer students who have developed good writing and other communication skills and who have a solid general education background. Courses in the social sciences are a good preparation for training in the law, and many lawyers find training in accounting and English to be a very useful adjunct to their legal training.

For specific information regarding particular law schools and law school admission tests and requirements, students may consult the Department of Political Science.