Politics

Degree Type Bachelor of Arts
Department Politics
Academic Division The Williams School
Offerings Major
Students who major in politics are philosophically minded. They have an interest in political events, and they care about ethics and justice. They are students who want to advocate for a cause and shape public opinion. They are people who are interested in global politics and international affairs. They want to serve their communities, from the local level to the international level.

Why Study Politics at W&L?

At W&L, the study of politics is a good combination of theory and practice. Our proximity to D.C. is a plus. We are close enough for students to benefit from study in the nation’s capital, but far enough away to be one step removed from the day-to-day D.C. experience. W&L offers a liberal arts approach to the study of politics. It’s interdisciplinary. Our department stresses the close reading of texts. We enable students to think seriously about the most important questions regarding being a member of a community and how we relate to other nations. Instruction is not focused on lectures, but on a question-and-answer approach between students and faculty that is highly interactive. We offer small classes, and faculty have an open-door policy and are highly interested in their students’ success in the classroom and in the world beyond W&L.

About Our Department

The Department of Politics at Washington and Lee University teaches students to be informed and active citizens of a free society, able to think about politics with rigor and nuance. We offer a wide array of courses in American government, political philosophy, global politics, and statistics and methods. We encourage students to pursue their education in an interdisciplinary manner and we provide opportunities to augment their study in off-campus and experiential learning programs.

Opportunities for Students

The study of politics at W&L includes opportunities to participate in our Mock Convention, publish in our Political Review, work with high school students in our Model UN program and engage in a host of community service projects.

Many have earned prestigious scholarships, such as Fulbright, Rhodes, Rotary and Watson fellowships. Some of our students go on to pursue graduate study and are now teachers of politics themselves. The major offers something for everyone. We support off-campus research and study, and conference participation. There are opportunities to study with professors during the academic year as well as the summer.

The Washington Term Program

The Washington Term Program has been in existence for three decades. It was established by Bill Connelly, the John K. Boardman Professor of Politics at W&L, and has provided more than 400 Washington and Lee students with a memorable living and learning experience in the nation's capital since 1987. Students have used the six-week Spring Term course to launch careers in every branch of government. The program includes three components: an academic course, an internship and a lecture series.

“Politics rules the world. Everything else is ordered by policy. The most important questions we face in a civil society, such as what laws should be made, are decided through politics. Politics helps humans relate to each other in an ethical fashion.”

Lucas MorelProfessor of Politics and Head of the Politics Department

Robert Strong

Department Head

Joy Swartz

Administrative Assistant

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