Skip to main content

Political science

Learning to participate in decision and change.

visit Apply

Study and research the power dynamics of the world, and learn how to participate in public and political decision and change.

Just so you know, participate is an especially important aspect of the Augustana experience.

Augustana is in the Quad Cities, a place that includes cities in Illinois and Iowa separated by the Mississippi River. This is an advantage if you want to participate in and learn from local, state and national political campaigns. As an important swing state and home to the Iowa caucus, Iowa brings prominent politicians near or on campus. You can get involved in these campaigns.

What you'll learn

Critical thinking and information literacy

Critical thinking and information literacy

Judge and construct arguments, raise questions and define problems. Make a conclusion based on evidence.

Intellectual curiosity

Intellectual curiosity

Set yourself up for lifelong intellectual growth. Take responsibility for your own learning.

Ethical citizenship

Ethical citizenship

Examine and embrace your strengths, passions and values. Develop ethical convictions and act on them.

Intercultural competence

Intercultural competence

Understand real and imaginary similarities and differences. Use more than one perspective to view issues.

Collaborative leadership

Collaborative leadership

Make decisions and act for the good of the community as a group.

Political Science faculty, 2023-24

Faculty members from the Political Science department at Augustana College pose on the steps leading to Founders Hall.

Pictured: Dr. Xiaowen Zhang (International Relations, special emphasis on Politics of World Trade and US-China relations), Dr. Paul Baumgardner (Public Law and American Politics), Dr. Katie Madel (Public Policy and American Politics) and Dr. Mariano Magalhães (Comparative Politics and International Relations)

If you’re interested in politics, global affairs, government, legal systems, public policy or political theory, Augustana’s curriculum covers all these topics.

Based on recent years, a political science major at Augustana is likely to:

• Study in Brazil or China for a semester.

• Attend a Model United Nations conference in Chicago.

• Complete an internship with the local, state or federal government.

• Participate in the Politics Club, College Democrats and/or College Republicans. (Each group has strong ties to local parties, candidates and elected officials, which results in opportunities to work on national campaigns and in Congress.)

• Present original research at regional/national conferences under the guidance of faculty members.


• Augustana offers a major and minor in political science, with classes in a variety of fields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public law and public policy.

• The department is closely associated with Augustana's pre-law program as well as communication studies, business administration, sociology and economics.

Professors are involved in Model United Nations and Model Arab League groups, and work with Augustana's Freistat Center for Studies in World Peace, which brings international leaders to campus.

• Students have many opportunities to engage in activism and social justice work in the Quad Cities, with a population of more than 400,000 representing diverse populations.

• Augustana’s political science majors have careers in law, business, education, urban planning, community organizing and grant writing. Alumni include state legislators, mayors, city management administrators and lobbyists. Political science alumni are eager to support current students.


Caroline Wator '20, a political science and public health major, won the grand prize in the Augie Abroad photo contest with this photo taken in Brazil while she was studying abroad.

Recent graduates

Claire Nguyen '21 is a doctoral student at NYU School of Global Public Health, one of the nation’s Top 5 programs in this specialization.

Genesis Li '21 is in the Masters of Public Administration program at Cornell University, College of Human Ecology in Ithaca, N.Y.

Austin Schoeck '17 is an associate attorney at Bozeman, Neighbour, Patton & Noe, LLP.

Cameron Onumah '14 is manager of public policy at Amazon in the Greater Los Angeles Area, after working in the office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinsten for four years.

Rachel Lenke '13 is principal at Kivvit, a public affairs and communications firm in Chicago.

Alicia Oken '13 is the social media platforms director for the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C.

Jason Schultz '10 is director of resource development at Navy Pier in Chicago.

More Than I Imagined Maggie Jokinen
“I wouldn't be anywhere near attending a Top 10 law school without the incredible professors I've had.”
Read More Directional Arrow Directional arrow
Leo Nguyen
More Than I Imagined Leo Nguyen
“Professor Xiaowen Zhang and Professor Mariano Magalhães pushed me to explore all aspects of politics.”
Read More Directional Arrow Directional arrow
Kaitlyn Watkins
More Than I Imagined Kaitlyn Watkins
“What guided me were the students, faculty and administrative mentors who inspired me to pursue new opportunities.”
Read More Directional Arrow Directional arrow

Jones ’20 continues to create inclusive communities

Now an Iowa College of Law student, former Vikings basketball standout Alexis Jones  '20 continues to make a difference. She has immersed herself in promoting diversity and supporting minority law students.

Students at a poster presentation

Celebration of Learning showcases student research

The 2023 Celebration of Learning featured helpful horses, a toolkit to help parents better understand their children’s well-being, machine learning and every subject in between.

Patrick McNally

Vikings and opera – beyond the cliché

Athleticism and the arts are a natural at Augustana, especially in opera. Football lineman Spencer Warfield  ’23 and fencer Soryn Richter  ’26 take the stage in “Amahl and the Night Visitors” on April 21 and 23.