Political Science

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Political science at UH West O‘ahu offers the “big picture” understanding students need in order to deal with a rapidly changing political universe. The world’s most pressing local problems are increasingly economic, environmental and global; where multinational corporations are becoming more powerful than nation-states; and where new electronic information technologies give the individual growing importance in shaping politics. The goal of the program is to help students gain the knowledge, skill sets and motivation to participate at all these levels of public life. Teaching strategies emphasize active, democratic, service and multi-cultural modes of learning. All of this gives the discipline wide application in most areas of public, personal and work life.

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences with a concentration in Political Science will be required to take an interdisciplinary course schedule in addition to a diverse selection of political science classes. Courses are offered in-person and through distance learning instruction. Students who have completed all lower division course credits may complete a bachelor’s degree in Political Science entirely online.

CAREERS & EARNING POTENTIAL

A degree in Political Science prepares students for careers in business, local and national government, international relations, non-profit and non-governmental service organizations, journalism, law, public administration, social work and teaching.

Overall, employment of political scientists is expected to experience a 10 percent growth from 2006 to 2016. Demand for political science research is growing because of increasing interest in politics and foreign affairs, including social, economic, and environmental policy issues, along with immigration. UH West O‘ahu Political Science students may use their knowledge of the links between governmental institutions and the “big picture” to further the interests of non-profit, political lobbying, and social organizations, among others. According to the College Majors Handbook, college graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science earn on average $57,000 per year.

FEATURED COURSES

POLS 320 Global Issues
For the last 400 years, the quality of life on the planet has been increasingly shaped by global forces, many of which now seem out of control and increasingly destructive. The key players have been large centralized organizations: first nation-states and their empires, now multinational corporations. This course looks at global trends by focusing on illuminating area case studies. It attempts to offer lessons relevant to local issues and lives.

POLS 326 Environmental Politics
This course looks at the current environmental crisis from the perspective of the two revolutions in humanity’s relationship with the natural world: the development of agriculture 10,000 years ago, and the development of industrial-urban society beginning 400 years ago. This provides a context for evaluating the environmental politics of the United States, other industrial nations, and transnational corporations. The course concludes with a focus on Hawai‘i and a consideration of alternative approaches.

POLS 335 Politics of Food
In this course, students learn about the processes of food production, how government and corporate involvement have changed the way society eats and how food has shaped global history. This class serves as a space to question assumptions about political issues surrounding food production and consumption, the links between agribusiness and the food people place on their respective tables. The class also engages students to learn a new way of understanding food issues through a political perspective.

POLS 381 Hawai‘i Politics
What are Hawai‘i’s most urgent problems? What are their roots? What are the solutions? Pre-contact Native Hawaiian “island politics” is used as a baseline for evaluating the last 200 years of Americanization. This course offers an in-depth understanding of the basic values, institutions, and practices of government in Hawai‘i, setting up a conversation between indigenous (Native) Hawaiian, European, Asian and other Polynesian voices. The course focuses on economic policy, environmental issues, and democratic participation in decision-making.

INTERNSHIPS

UH West O‘ahu Political Science students are encouraged to pursue internships that allow students to make connections between the issues they face in their daily lives and their university education.

Students have successfully completed internships at:

  • Hawai‘i Immigrant Justice Center
  • Maui Community Day Work Program
  • Hawai‘i Island City Council
  • Planned Parenthood Hawai‘i
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • National Tropical Botanical Garden
  • Department of Education, Waipahu Complex Schools

FACULTY CONTACTS

Dr. Louis Herman, Professor
(808) 689-2371
louisher@hawaii.edu

Dr. Monique Mironesco, Associate Professor
(808) 689-2372
mironesc@hawaii.edu