Classes have yet to begin, and yet the Department of Political Science is already making headlines. USA Today released its annual rankings, including “The Top 10 Best Colleges for a Major in Political Science,” and placed WashU right at the top. The department is particularly well known for its breadth and depth in the substantive areas of comparative and American politics, theoretical use of formal models, and quantitative empirical tests using both experimental and observational data. Graduates from WashU’s political science program have found jobs both nationally and internationally and boast the highest average staring salary compared to departments at other universities.
James F. Spriggs II, chair of the political science department and the Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government, is thrilled by the recognition. “The department's success is based, first, on the excellence of its professors, all of whom produce a considerable amount of influential research,” he says. “Our faculty are known world-wide for research that integrates sophisticated theoretical explanations with big data, and, in so doing, providing fresh insights into political phenomena. Second, our undergraduate major and PhD program are rigorous, and our faculty love to teach. In short, our department combines the best of both worlds—high quality research and innovative teaching—in ways that foster student learning and engagement.”
Looking forward, Spriggs hopes to continue to strengthen the department, and specifically the department’s PhD program, by increasing the breadth of their expertise in International Relations (IR). Already, they have taken steps to do so. Spriggs says, “We recruited recently two new faculty members, both of whom were at Princeton University, and they will anchor our IR program. In addition, the IR focus will provide our undergraduates with much-needed coursework in that area.”
Congratulations to the whole department on this well-deserved recognition!