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Advance your critical understanding of the nature and purpose of political life. Critically evaluate different perspectives on questions such as the nature of justice, the common good and who should have political power in society. You’ll discover that, despite the evolution of political structures, many fundamental problems in politics have persisted from ancient times until now. You’ll also expand your intellectual horizons and cultivate sharp analytical and critical skills.

Careers: Political Consulting, Policy Analyst, Law, Journalism, Teacher

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A politics degree from AMU will prepare you for a career in law, academics, media and government. Plus, the research and critical thinking skills you’ll gain will serve you well in any field.

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Politics Program

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Skills you will gain with


  • A sense of public responsibility and a respect for the common good. God created us as social beings to live in charity as a reflection of the communion of the Trinity. A politics degree from AMU will motivate you to seek the common good to ensure individuals and societies can have what they need at their disposal to fulfill the vocation God has given them.
  • Research and critical thinking skills. Many of our politics courses have research papers that challenge you to dig deeper into specific political topics and compare the insights of different political philosophers and politicians.
  • Evaluation of political issues in light of the moral law. Our commitment to both natural law and revealed truth informs all of our courses. In your politics courses, you’ll learn how different theories of morality influence politics and how current political controversies measure up in light of the natural law and God’s revelation.
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A look into the


With Ave Maria University’s politics major, you’ll advance in your critical understanding of the nature and purpose of political life. According to Aristotle, man is by nature a political animal. The study of politics is therefore a comprehensive study of man. The study of politics is an investigation into the perennial questions of political life through careful analysis of the best that has been said and written by statesmen and philosophers from antiquity through the American founding to the present.

The program is guided by the four subfields of the study of politics: political philosophy, American politics, international relations, and comparative politics. These four fields complement each other and provide broad and principled knowledge of political life.

According to James Madison, education and the study of politics ought to be a support for free government. As Madison says in a letter to William Berry “The American people owe it to themselves, and to the cause of free Government, to prove by their establishments for the advancement and diffusion of Knowledge, that their political Institutions…are as favorable to the intellectual and moral improvement of Man as they are conformable to his individual and social Rights. What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of Liberty and Learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual and surest support?”

Once majoring in Politics, you’ll examine the ideas of freedom, democracy and human rights. You’ll touch on ideologies, such as communism and fascism, as well as party politics, electoral behavior, and protest and revolution. You will study the rise and fall of leaders and political parties and the power play between nations. Political philosophy, American politics, international relations, and comparative politics will leverage your understanding of past and current politics.

“I myself am most pleased by good friends, and if I possess something good I teach it, and I introduce them to others for whom, I believe, they will receive some benefit with a view to virtue. And reading in common with my friends, I go through the treasures of the wise men of old which they left behind in their books; and if we see something good, we pick it out; and we hold that it is a great gain if we become beneficial to one another.”

Socrates to Antiphon in Xenophon’s “Memorabilia”

John Colman, Ph.D.


colmanEducation: B.A., Political Science, Carleton University; M.A., Political Science, Carleton University; Ph.D., Political Science, Boston College
Office: Thomas Student Union 2007B
Email: john.colman@avemaria.edu
Phone: (239) 280-1609

James Patterson, Ph.D.

Chair of the Politics Department, Associate Professor of Politics

James PattersonEducation: B.A., Political Science, University of Houston; M.A., Politics, University of Virginia; Ph.D., Politics, University of Virginia
Office: Henkels 2055
Email: james.patterson@avemaria.edu
Phone: (239) 304-7365

Seana Sugrue, D.C.L.


Seana SugrueEducation: B.B.A., Business Administration, Bishop’s University; LL.B., Law, University of Ottawa; LL.M., Law, McGill University; D.C.L., Civil Law, McGill University
Office: Henkels 3054
Email: seana.sugrue@avemaria.edu
Phone: (239) 280-1625



Education: B.A., English, Ivan Franko National University; M.A., International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame; Ph.D., Political Science, University of Kansas
Office: Canizaro Library 235
Email: lidyia.zubytska@avemaria.edu
Phone: (239) 304-7020

In addition to the core curriculum, politics majors take the following courses:

  • POLT 201 Introduction to Political Thought
  • POLT 202 Comparative Politics
  • POLT 203 American Civilization
  • POLT 205 Introduction to International Relations
  • POLT 301 American Government
  • POLT 302 Catholic Political Thought
  • POLT 304 Constitutional Law
  • POLT 490 Senior Seminar

Elective Major Courses (two required):

  • POLT 305 Public Policy
  • POLT 310 Media and Politics
  • POLT 311 Entrepreneurship and Civil Society
  • POLT 314 U.S. Foreign Policy
  • POLT 320 American Political Thought
  • POLT 402 Modernity and Post-Modernity
  • POLT 403 Tyranny and Totalitarianism
  • POLT 404 Technology, Science, and Politics
  • POLT 415 Special Topics in Politics
  • POLT 495 Internship in Politics
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Those who have graduated from Ave Maria with a politics major have gone on to work in Washington D.C. for members of Congress as well as in a variety of policy organizations that study, advocate, and lobby for specific public policies. Many have gone on to law school while others have pursued graduate studies with the goal of one day teaching in secondary or higher education. There are a number of careers you can pursue with a politics major, including political consulting, working on campaigns, political advocacy, journalism, and public service on the local, state, national, and international level.

Below are links that outline the wealth of career opportunities for Political Science graduates:


The University is affiliated through Career Services with numerous political organizations in Florida and D.C. (see below). Internship and mentoring programs are available for students interested in a political career.

  • U.S. Dept. of State – Washington, D.C. & International
  • FL House of Representatives – Tallahassee, FL
  • David Rivera, Representative – Tallahassee, FL
  • American Life League – Washington, D.C.

Mahluli Dube ’07 pursued graduate studies in development economics in Hong Kong, worked at the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs as a fellow, and engaged in the urban education policy conversation by teaching 5th grade mathematics at the Harlem Children’s Zone. Mahluli is currently working in private equity and management consulting for Open Capital Advisors and KPMG respectively. He has also pursued studies in organizational behavior/ psychology at Columbia University in New York City.

Miriel Thomas Reneau ’09 (valedictorian) completed a year-long fellowship with the John Jay Institute, interned for a summer with the Senate Republican Policy Committee, and worked for a year as a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute under constitutional scholar Michael Greve. In 2011, Miriel began graduate studies in the Department of Political Science at Baylor University, focusing on American politics and constitutional law. She earned her MA summa cum laude in May 2013.

Shannon Hale ‘11 (magna cum laude) obtained her MSc Theory and History of International Relations with Distinction from the London School of Economics and Political Science in September 2012. Since November 2012, Shannon has worked as Policy Advisor to a federal Canadian Cabinet Minister, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, in her capacity as Minister of Health and as the former Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada and Minister for Status of Women. She has been an active member of the Conservative Party of Canada since 2005.

Katherine Rosario ’12 interned at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, where she worked under the legal center’s then Senior Legal Fellow and Deputy Director, Robert Alt, and former U.S. attorney general Edwin Meese. Katherine then interned on Capitol Hill in the office of Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-FL). She currently works as the Communications Deputy at Heritage Action for America, where she serves as the primary writer for Heritage Action’s blog, “The Forge.”

More to help you


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Career Services prides itself on providing students, alumni and employers with the opportunity to connect. No matter where you are in your career search, whether it’s deciding on a path, preparing for your first job interview or working on graduate school or fellowship applications, we can help.

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Catholic Culture

The spiritual life on campus is the beating heart of Ave. Whether it’s attending Mass, receiving the sacraments, participating in retreats or getting spiritual direction, you’ll find the spiritual support you need from the priests and staff of Campus Ministry.

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With AMU’s core curriculum, you’ll not only achieve breadth of knowledge, but also depth of knowledge. You’ll encounter the truth about God and His creation more completely through the dynamic interplay of all of the liberal arts, including theology and natural science.

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Sunny skies, warm temperatures, a beautiful campus. What more could you want? How about a community-like atmosphere, quality instructors who care about your success, a wealth of spiritual activities, expert career guidance… and that’s only the beginning. Imagine your future at AMU. It all starts by filling out our free application today.


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