Western University Political ScienceFaculty of Social Science

About Us

Message From the Chair

Don AblesonWelcome to Western’s Department of Political Science where we instill in our undergraduate and graduate students the importance of understanding the power of ideas, and the consequences that can result when public policy is not based on sound and well-informed decisions. In our Department, students are introduced to the great ideas and ideologies, the diverse political institutions in Canada and around the world, the complex, diverse and rapid nature of international relations, and the cultural, social, economic, and political ideas that dominate the contemporary world. We offer courses in the main fields of political science: political theory, international relations, Canadian politics, comparative politics, local government, and public administration in which we deepen students' understanding of key ideas and values such as democracy, freedom, equality, the state, leadership, elections, interest groups, law, political conflict, war, public opinion, and constitutions. And we enable students to focus on some of the crucial issues facing modern societies: the environment, terrorism, the relation between business and government, global justice, human rights, and the future of the welfare state.

Why study political science at Western? Three words: experience, skills, and employment. Western offers Canada’s best student experience in many areas. We are the perennial winner of the annual Globe and Mail Canadian University Report. We rank first in Canada in the following categories: most satisfied students, work-play balance, research opportunities, campus atmosphere, student/faculty interaction, academic counseling, student residence, building and facilities, recreation and athletics, instructors’ teaching style, and quality of teaching. In our Department, the key features of that list include general student satisfaction and excellence in teaching. Our students engage with faculty members and benefit from some of the most highly-rated, award-winning teachers in the University.

But what skills will you develop? A Western political science graduate is someone who can read sympathetically but critically, gather data and do research independently, analyze complex arguments, and communicate conclusions effectively. These skills are needed in almost any profession you might pursue after graduation. But our faculty also aim to deepen and broaden your knowledge of ideas, methods, and institutions; to make you aware of the inherently controversial nature of politics; to critically understand and evaluate the central arguments in key texts and public debates; to communicate your ideas clearly; to listen respectfully to others; and to develop the confidence to establish your own voice.

Finally, studying political science at Western will help you to make the transition to the workforce, a concern shared by faculty and students. Several of our former undergraduate and graduate students hold positions in a wide range of fields in both the public and private sectors, at all three levels of government (local, provincial, and federal), in the head offices of major multinational corporations and law firms, in the print and electronic media, and in some of the most innovative and influential companies and non-profits in the modern high-tech economy. Moreover, many of our undergraduate students go on to study law, business, or graduate studies. In each case, we provide the skill set and foundation they require to achieve success.

As Chair of the Department of Political Science, I am proud to represent such a wide ranging and talented group of faculty researchers and teachers who, along with a highly-skilled and accommodating administrative team, continue to create a positive and supportive environment for our students. And each year I am impressed by the quality of our students and the accomplishments of our graduates. I hope you enjoy visiting our website. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any requests for further information.

Don Abelson
Chair, Department of Political Science