Welcome from the Chair

A warm welcome to all new and returning students. I hope you have all enjoyed a relaxing and productive summer and are ready for the new academic year.

We would like you to use the POSC departmental website to keep up with announcements and events about classes, advising, internships, and exciting events featuring visiting speakers, workshops, and conferences.

Our annual undergraduate lunch takes place in September. Please come join us for a fun afternoon of food and conversation with faculty and representatives of Political Science student organizations.

The Department welcomes Professor Bryn Rosenfeld to its faculty. Professor Rosenfeld joins USC as an Assistant Professor of Political Science after completing her doctorate at Princeton University. Rosenfeld’s research examines the historic and contemporary role of the middle class in the evolution of democratic institutions. In her analysis of political development in post-communist countries in Eastern Europe, she observes that governments often use state patronage to fragment middle class coalitions that have historically been the vanguard of democratic reform. Rosenfeld’s work displays impressive expertise in quantitative analysis and survey methodology, and her regional specialty in Eastern Europe and Russia contributes to both the undergraduate curriculum and POIR graduate program.

This year we have created a new semester-long program in Washington D.C. providing students a unique opportunity to study and pursue internships in the nation’s capital. The program offers courses taught by USC faculty on Congress, elections, interest groups, and domestic and foreign policy. I encourage you to talk with our undergraduate advisors if you are interested in spending a semester in Washington D.C.

Last year, the Department of Political Science inaugurated a new visiting speaker series entitled Political Conversations that features discussions among faculty and students with political newsmakers, advisors, and politicians. Led by Professor Bob Shrum, the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics, the speaker series included visits and talks by House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and many other political experts, journalists, and election campaign strategists.

This year, we will again have a full lineup of visitors as we head into an exciting presidential primary season.  In the Spring Semester, the Department will host a major conference on the 2016 Presidential Election in which leading political practitioners, journalists, and academic researchers in the country will convene at USC to explore major issues surrounding voter mobilization, campaign finance, political persuasion, and the use of big data analytics in electoral politics. Of course, there will also be plenty of speculation and forecasting about who will be the next President of the United States!

We have an exciting array of classes in the Fall and Spring semesters. Our lineup includes classes on law and public policy, civil and political rights, public opinion, political psychology, social movements, ethnic and racial politics, campaigns and elections, women and politics, the European Union, East Asia, environmental law, public participation in environmental politics, political ideology, and many more classes to help you develop a systematic understanding of political systems and processes in the U.S. and around the world.

We look forward to seeing all of you in our classes and at our academic and social events throughout the year!

About the Department

The mission of the Department of Political Science (POSC) is to generate new knowledge about politics and government through scholarly research, and to disseminate those findings in peer-reviewed publications, at scholarly meetings, and through traditional and new media. An equally important goal of POSC is to transmit our knowledge and practical experience of politics to our graduate and undergraduate students so they can develop the comprehensive research, writing, and analytical skills needed to pursue successful careers in academics, business, law, and the professions.

We have a highly talented and esteemed department by national standards that serves almost 500 undergraduate majors and more than 70 doctoral students. Our faculty members regularly win national and university research and teaching awards, and publish in the most prestigious journals and university presses.  Our undergraduate majors have been awarded top international and national prizes including Marshall, Truman, and Fulbright Fellowships. Those who apply to graduate school have been accepted by the best doctoral programs in the country and those seeking legal training regularly gain entry to the most competitive law schools.

Please visit our website often to stay informed about upcoming departmental conferences, workshops, and events, and to learn more about the latest research activities and accomplishments of our faculty, students, and alumni.



Dennis Chong

Professor, POSC Department Chair

  • Department of Political Science