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Degree, Minors and Certificates Offered

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Political Science

College of Social Sciences
Saunders Hall 640
2424 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8357
Fax: (808) 956-6877
E-mail: polisci@hawaii.edu
Web: www.politicalscience.hawaii.edu


*Graduate Faculty

*J. Goldberg-Hiller, PhD (Chair)—law and politics, public policy, social theory
*N. Soguk, PhD (Graduate Chair)—international relations, international organizations, migration, human rights, Middle East
*I. S. Rohter, PhD (Undergraduate Chair)—political ecology, Hawai‘i politics, green politics
*B. Aquino, PhD—Southeast Asian and Philippine politics, women and politics
J. Byrd, PhD—indigenous politics, postcolonial theory, literatures of North American, Caribbean, Pacific peoples
*R. Chadwick, PhD—international relations, global modeling, methodology
*J. A. Dator, PhD—political futures, media, Asian politics
*K. Ferguson, PhD—feminist theory, political theory, organizational theory
P. Flowers, PhD—Japanese politics, international law, international relations
*M. Henningsen, PhD—political theory, European politics, genocide/Holocaust
K. Heyer, PhD—disability studies, law and politics, comparative law
*G. Kent, PhD—international relations, development, food and nutrition, children, pedagogy
*S. Krishna, PhD—comparative politics, international political economy, South Asia
*N. Milner, PhD—law and politics, public policy, conflict studies
*L. Nitz, PhD—political economy, public policy, methodology
J. Seo, PhD—Chinese nationalism, Korean politics, social theory
*M. J. Shapiro, PhD—political theory, media, politics of culture
*N. Silva, PhD—Hawaiian politics, indigenous politics
*J. Spencer, PhD—political economy, public policy analysis, history and evaluation of antipoverty programs, racial/ethnic dynamics, Southeast Asia, research methods
*C. M. Stephenson, PhD—international organization, security, environment, peace studies
*J. Wilson, PhD—political philosophy, American politics
*K. Zhou, PhD—comparative politics, Chinese politics, women and development
Cooperating Graduate Faculty
*S. Charusheela, PhD—feminist theory, transnational and global feminism, feminist political economy, Marxist theory, social theory
F. Farhi, PhD—Middle East politics, comparative politics
K. O. Kane, PhD—philosophy and theory, pedagogy, film and media studies, women’s studies
*D. Neubauer, PhD—public policy, political economy, health politics
M. Steger, PhD—globalization studies, political theory, theories of nonviolence
Affiliate Graduate Faculty
*W. Dissanayake, PhD—Asian film, film theory, social theory
*O. Lee, PhD—Chinese foreign policy, U.S.-China relations
*C. Morrison, PhD—Southeast Asian international relations
*S. Pooley, PhD—fishery economics

Degrees Offered: Undergraduate Certificate in Political Economy, BA (including minor) in political science, MA in political science, PhD in political science

The Academic Program

Political science (POLS) examines politics not only in government and among nations but also in private organizations, businesses, universities, families, language, and daily life.

Various methods are used to do this, ranging from the interpretive and historical to the quantitative and statistical. Political science graduates enter numerous professions: journalism, foreign service, social services, government, law, law enforcement, teaching, civil service, business, librarianship, and research. Undergraduate majors have done all of these and more. So have the department’s graduate students, many of whom come from abroad and return to their home countries to become leaders in their fields. The Department of Political Science provides a sound undergraduate education that helps prepare people to think critically and constructively about the world and to be active, concerned citizens in whatever walk of life they choose. Its internship program permits undergraduates to earn academic credit while working in community or governmental institutions and processes.

At the graduate level, the department stands out in the fields of international relations, political theory, comparative studies, Asian politics, futures studies, and policy analysis. The department is an open, informal place where students, staff, and faculty alike are encouraged to participate in departmental affairs and governance. For further information, call (808) 956-8357 or write to the department.


Students may write to, or make appointments to see, either the graduate chair or the undergraduate chair, who will discuss the options available and assign students, if necessary, to a faculty member who specializes in a field of study.

Undergraduate Study

Undergraduate Certificate in Political Economy

For information about applying to this certificate program and a list of approved courses, see the undergraduate adviser in political science or in the designated department. Completion of this certificate will satisfy the Depth requirements to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences.

This certificate is designed to give students a grasp of the ways in which political, economic and sociological forces interact in the shaping of public policy. The certificate includes substantial study of the central analytical approaches in political science, sociology and economics and seeks to surmount the sometimes artificial barriers of specialization that may characterize individual disciplines.


The requirements are designed to conform to criteria specified for undergraduate certificates for UH Manoa and also to meet the diversification graduate requirement in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences (Option 2, Depth). The requirements for the Certificate in Political Economy are:

  • 15 credit hours of five courses. Courses cannot be double-counted for the academic major.
  • grade of C (not C-) or better and an overall GPA of 2.5 or better in those courses
  • courses must be taken from a minimum of three different academic departments
  • One course from ECON 130 or POLS 110

Interdisciplinary Certificate in Human Resources/Organizational Management

The purpose of this certificate is to prepare students intending to enter careers in human relations and management in business, non-profit agencies and public agencies. Such careers require a broad range of knowledge and skills.

Understanding finances is fundamental to the life of an organization. In addition, management requires an understanding of cultural styles of communication, modes of resolving conflict, principles of psychological motivation and interpersonal influence. Public relations is also important in reaching the public and communicating with constituencies.

Organizations also must operate in an environment of complex legal regulations. Courses have been approved for the certificate which provide background in these domains. A more complete description and the requirements are described under the Department of Sociology.

Interdisciplinary Certificate in Social Science and Health

The purpose of this certificate is to supplement the disciplinary major of students who wish to pursue careers in the field of health and health care by enhancing the breadth, quality and coherence of their education through taking health-related courses in a variety of different academic disciplines. A more complete description and the requirements are described under the Department of Sociology.

Bachelor’s Degree


Students must complete 27 credit hours, including:

  • a prerequisite introductory course at the 100 or 200 level
  • 9 credit hours from courses distributed as follows: POLS 335; either POLS 305 or POLS 315; and either POLS 375 or POLS 385
  • POLS 390 (Methodology)
  • 9 credit hours from other 300 level courses, including 3x5 courses
  • 3-6 credit hours from 400 level courses



Students must complete 15 credit hours from the 300 level or above, including one course from POLS 305, POLS 315, POLS 335, POLS 375 or POLS 385.

Students should choose one of the 100 or 200 level political science courses as part of their General Education Core in social sciences, since a 100 or 200 level course is prerequisite for 300 level courses.

Graduate Study

The department has three different graduate degree programs: master’s degree Plan A, for which a master’s thesis is required; master’s degree Plan B, for which a culminating experience is required; and the doctor of philosophy (PhD) program. The department offers specializations in alternative futures, Asian and Pacific politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and public policy.

A completed application includes a statement of purpose from the applicant, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts. A paper or some other work that indicates the applicant’s writing and analytical abilities is required. Further information regarding the requirements for all three programs is available on the internet at www.politicalscience.hawaii.edu. Write to the graduate secretary for the brochure as well as application information and forms.

The application deadline is February 1 for admission in the fall semester. No spring semester admissions are taken.
Graduates in political science have entered careers in teaching, research, and service in non-governmental organizations and various levels of government.

Master’s Degree

The department offers MA Plan A (thesis) and Plan B (culminating experience) degrees that can be tailored to a student’s interests and needs. The MA program invites applicants who are prepared to think critically and constructively about political phenomena. All MA students are required to take three of the following courses regardless of program (Plan A or Plan B): POLS 610, 620, 630, 640, 650, 660, 670, and 680.

Doctoral Degree

The department’s PhD program encourages students to pursue specialized interests as well as to broaden their understanding of political phenomena. The department looks for students who are prepared to construct a successful course of study based on their individual interests, in conjunction with appropriate advising and course work. We encourage applicants who approach political questions in a critical and creative manner and who combine work from different specializations and disciplines to pursue their own particular projects.

Honors and Awards


Thomas Hamilton Memorial Scholarship—$150 for a student with outstanding scholarship and all-around performance who has completed at least two courses in political theory.

Philip E. Jacob Award—$500 for the outstanding graduating senior in political science.

Carl Knobloch Prize Fund—$100 for a student with an excellent academic record who also has an outstanding record of community and/or UH service.

Richard Kosaki Student Assistance Fund—$250, first prize; $150, second prize; $100, third prize, for excellence in research, based on papers written as part of political science course work.


Norman Meller Award—$1,500 for fall semester to a graduate student with an outstanding academic record.

Werner Levi Award—$1,500 for spring semester to a graduate student for meritorious academic achievement.

Harry J. Friedman Memorial Scholarship—$250 for outstanding work in comparative politics.

POLS Courses