About Us


GVSU Political Science Department


Phone: 616-331-2320

1121 AuSable Hall
1 Campus Dr
Allendale, MI 49401-9403

International Relations and Political Science on Facebook

Our Facebook Alumni Group

Why GVSU Political Science?


  • Our courses are taught by professors, not graduate students.
  • The department is staffed with PhDs from top graduate programs.
  • Our focus is undergraduate education.
  • Multiple professors have won awards for their teaching.
  • Professors are published experts in their subfields.

Skill Development

  • Small class sizes enable skill development:
    • Critical thinking
    • Research
    • Data analysis
    • Digital literacy
    • Writing
    • Oral communication
  • Many classes feature debates, simulations and real-world problem solving.
  • Study abroad and improve your cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills.

Flexible Programs

  • Majors choose from a wide range of courses.
  • Choice of BA (language) or BS (statistics and research methods).
  • 36 credit, flexible major enables students to pursue double major if they prefer.
  • Minor options: general political science and a teachable minor for education.
  • We offer many courses for General Education.


  • Internships available locally, in Lansing, and throughout the state
  • Internships available in DC through our affiliation with the Washington Center

Careers or Graduate School

  • Many career options
  • Excellent preparation for a wide range of graduate programs


Thomas Bell

Higher Education Consultant

Tyler Nickerson

First Vice President of Commercial Banking, Amalgamated Bank

Jacob Simon


Robert Monaghan

Corporate Executive and Nonprofit Leader

Shaun Brodie

Attorney for Social Security Administration

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Mission and Vision

Mission – Political Science Department

The mission of the Department of Political Science is to prepare students for citizenship, post-baccalaureate education and professional careers through a wide range of course offerings, advising, internships, and experience in local, state, national and international contexts.

Vision – Political Science Department

The Department of Political Science is committed to setting a standard of excellence in the undergraduate study of Political Science. Students gain comprehensive knowledge of American and global governance and politics through coursework in American politics, political theory, comparative politics and international relations. We prepare students to be well-informed citizens and to make meaningful contributions to local, state, national, and international communities. We foster a diverse community engaged in inquiry, expression, and rigorous scholarship.

Mission – International Relations Program

The mission of the International Relations Program, an interdisciplinary program housed in the Department of Political Science, is to prepare students for citizenship, post-baccalaureate education, and professional careers through interdisciplinary coursework in international relations, advising, and participation in internships, with an emphasis on study abroad and other international experiences.

Vision – International Relations Program

We are committed to setting a standard of excellence in the interdisciplinary undergraduate study of International Relations, including the geography, history, economics, languages and politics of global interactions. International Relations students gain comprehensive knowledge of the complex economic, social, cultural and political relationships among citizens, societies, states and international institutions. Students attain both theoretical and experiential knowledge of International Relations and critical analytic skills through study on campus and, in most cases, study abroad. We prepare students to be well-informed citizens and to make meaningful contributions to the increasingly globalized world. We foster a diverse international community engaged in inquiry, expression, and rigorous scholarship.


Values – Political Science and International Relations

In the Department of Political Science and the International Relations Program at Grand Valley State University, we strive toward acquiring and utilizing knowledge of Political Science and International Relations in a setting of academic freedom, methodological and theoretical pluralism, while encouraging disciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration.

  • We value excellence in education facilitated through
    • Active student-teacher engagement and academic achievement in a rigorous and challenging course of study that emphasizes the development of critical and analytical thinking and writing.
    • Student exposure to a variety of theoretical and political perspectives for the purpose of enhancing critical and analytical thinking and writing skills.
    • A comprehensive coverage of the disciplines and access to a wide variety of upper-level courses.
    • Emphasis on internships, co-curricular and civic education opportunities in our local, state, national and global communities.
  • Excellence in faculty scholarship.
  • Service to the discipline, unit, college, university and community.
  • Student development as well-informed, global citizens in a democratic society.


The Department of Political Science and the International Relations Program are part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Human Rights Movie Series: Gattaca

March 26, 2019 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

HUMAN RIGHTS MOVIE AND PIZZA NIGHTS - CO-SPONSORED BY RELIGIOUS STUDIES Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) has always fantasized about traveling into outer space, but is grounded by his status as a genetically...

Lecture by Prof. Hilary Earl, "Educated Murderers: The SS-Einsatzgruppen Leaders"

April 4, 2019 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Hilary Earl is Professor of European History at Nipissing University, Ontario, Canada. Her research and teaching interests include comparative genocide, war crimes trials, perpetrator testimony,...

Miller Johnson Pre-Law Student Intern

April 8, 2019 All Day

Miller Johnson Pre-Law Student Intern – Fall 2019 Program Description Miller Johnson partners with Grand Valley State University to provide an academic semester-long internship opportunity...

Wesorick Lecture: Building Healthy Community: Inequities and Polarized Tensions

April 9, 2019 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Barry Johnson, Peter Whitt, and Lindsay Burr offer a fresh way of seeing and addressing reoccurring conflicts and tensions that affect the health of communities. They offer an important message and...

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PLS 325 Winter 2020

March 23, 2019

PLS 325 Human Rights and Democracy in Russia and the Post-Communist World

PLS 339 Fall 2019

March 20, 2019

PLS 339 Democracy and the Authoritarian Challenge: Mondays / Wednesdays 3:00-4:15 p.m.

Kimberly McKenzie Assisting 'Notorious R.B.G.'

March 05, 2019

2003 International Relations Graduate Featured in Grand Valley Magazine

Steven Henley to Present at Pi Sigma Alpha National Students Research Conference

February 12, 2019

Steven's Paper is a comparative analysis of electoral systems

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Page last modified June 14, 2017