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Degree, Minors and Certificates Offered

General Information

Undergraduate Programs

Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences


Political Science

College of Social Sciences
Saunders Hall 640
2424 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8357
Fax: (808) 956-6877


*Graduate Faculty

*K. Ferguson, PhD (Chair)—feminist theory and methods; political theory
*K. Heyer, PhD (Graduate Chair)—law and society, disability politics, comparative law, social movement and civil rights
*E. Kimura, PhD (Undergraduate Chair)—comparative politics, political change, Southeast Asia
*R. Chadwick, PhD—international relations, global modeling, methodology
*P. Flowers, PhD—Japanese politics, international law, international relations
*J. Goldberg-Hiller, PhD—law and society, law and philosophy, sexuality politics, indigenous politics
*J. N. Goodyear-Ka‘opua, PhD—Hawaiian politics, Indigenous politics, politics of education and culture
*J. Grove, PhD—critical war studies, complexity theory and system theory
*N. S. Grove, PhD— international relations, gender and sexuality, political theory, media, Middle East politics
*D. Halbert, PhD—public policy, political futures, law and politics, and politics of intellectual property
*M. Henningsen, PhD—European politics, genocide/Holocaust, political philosophy, political theory
*S. Krishna, PhD—comparative politics, international political economy, South Asian Studies, and postcolonial studies
*C. Moore, PhD—American politics, public policy, politics of bureaucracy, institutional change
*L. Nitz, PhD—American government; methodology; political economy; public policy; research methods; topics in political theory
*M. J. Shapiro, PhD—American politics; interpretive methods; politcs of culture; media and popular culture; political theory; public policy
*N. Silva, PhD—Hawaiian politics, indigenous politics
*N. Soguk, PhD—international relations theory, comparative politics; international organization; international migration and diasporas, human rights, Middle East
*C. M. Stephenson, PhD—international relations; international organization; international environmental politics; international security; peace studies, conflict resolution
S. Wiebe, PhD—political ecology, environmental justice, decolonial and sustainable futures, interpretive research methods, community-engagement
*M. Yang, PhD—comparative politics, political economy of development, East Asia
*K. Zhou, PhD—comparative politics; Chinese & Asian politics; women and development, and public policy

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

J. Dator, PhD—futures studies, media, Asian politics
W. Dissanayake, PhD—Asian cinema, film theory
F. Farhi, PhD—Middle East politics, comparative politics
B. Kerkvliet, PhD—Southeast Asian politics
J. Wilson, PhD—political philosophy, American politics

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

L. Basham—Native Hawaiian and Indigenous politics
K. O. Kane, PhD—philosophy and theory, pedagogy, film and media studies, women’s studies
S. Kikiloi, PhD—Hawaiian studies, societal development, Indigenous resource management, archaeology, ethnohistory
C. R. Lawrence—anti-discrimination law, educational law and policy, Constitutional law
M. MacKenzie, JD—Native Hawaiian rights, advanced legal studies in Native Hawaiian law
B. McDougal, PhD—contemporary Hawaiian, Pacific, and Indigenous literatures

Degrees Offered: Undergraduate Certificate in Law and Society, 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 Asian politics, comparative politics, futures studies, indigenous politics, international relations, law and society, policy analysis, and political theory. 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

Bachelor’s Degree


Students must complete 30 credit hours, including:

  • a prerequisite introductory course at the 100 or 200 level
  • 12 credit hours from courses distributed as follows: POLS 335; either POLS 301 or 302; either POLS 305 or 315; and one of either POLS 375, 376, or 385
  • POLS 390 (Political Inquiry and Analysis)
  • 9 credit hours from other 300 level courses, including 3x5 courses
  • 3-6 credit hours from 400 level courses

For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, go to



Students must complete 18 total credit hours. 15 credit hours from the 300 level or above, including one course from POLS 305, 315, 335, 375 or 385.

Students should choose one of the 100 or 200 level political science courses, since a 100 or 200 level course is prerequisite for 300 level courses.

Undergraduate Certificate in Law and Society


15 credits will be required to be completed with a GPA of 2.5 or above.

  • POLS 374/SOC 374
  • 9 credits must be upper division (300-400 level)
  • 6 credits from either AMST 365, AMST/WS 436/POLS 368, ECON 476, HWST 495, 496, HIST 475, PHIL 318, POLS 375, 376, SOC 231, 333, 432, or SOC 435/WS 435
  • Students are also required to submit a portfolio containing three essays.

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, indigenous politics, and public policy.

Further information regarding the requirements for all three programs is available at

The application deadline is early January for admission in the fall semester. No Spring semester admissions are taken.

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 600, 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

The department has several teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and scholarships that are awarded to deserving qualified students.


  • Thomas Hamilton Memorial Scholarship—$600 for a student with outstanding scholarship and all-around performance who has completed at least two courses in political theory.


  • Norman Meller Award—$1,500 for fall semester to a graduate student with an outstanding academic record.
  • Harry J. Friedman Memorial Scholarship—$700 for outstanding work in comparative politics.
  • Jorge Fernandes Memorial Fellowship and Award—for spring semester to aid an outstanding graduate student to support the completion of his/her dissertation.
  • Glendon Schubert and James Neal Schubert Political Science Endowed Scholarship—for spring to a graduate student who specializes in public law, law and society.

POLS Courses