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College of Arts and Sciences School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs

The School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs


Renaissance Thinking. Problem Solving: Multi-disciplinary solutions to real-world challenges joining reason, politics and policy
Cougar Pride on the campus of Washington State University, Thursday, May 28, 2020.
Quality & Achievement. Creativity. Knowledge & Wisdom. Respect. Fairness & Integrity. Diversity. Community Service. Collaboration. Fun.



Public Affairs



Our philosophy and political science curriculum prepares you with marketable knowledge to achieve your career dreams. If you are interested in law, philosophy, politics, government, criminal justice, ethics, our goal is to help you translate your passion into flexible skills in a competitive job market.


Areas of expertise among political science faculty include American politics and public law, American security policy and political behavior, global politics, political psychology, public policy, environmental policy, political theory, Native American policy and American foreign policy.

Our Philosophy faculty specialize in bioethics, ethical theory and applied ethics, philosophy of law, environmental philosophy, metaphysics, pragmatism, epistemology, philosophy of language and science, and the philosophy of religion.


We offer a wide variety of classes and experiential learning opportunities. Some of our classes include: Philosophy in Film, History of American Indian Sovereignty, Current Events, Biomedical Ethics, Urban Politics, Crime and Justice in the Movies, The Presidency, Gender and Politics, United States Foreign Relations, East/West Philosophy of Architecture, Media and Politics, Politics Ethics, and International Security.


You are here to further your education, and obtain a degree. We can offer you so much more, offering you not only valuable information, but also critical thinking skills and how to become a self motivated life long learner through extracurricular opportunities and experiences. A degree from our school can be the foundation for the rest of your life, and help you achieve your career goals.


The School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs wants to see you succeed, and we want to help you achieve your dreams.

Our dedicated faculty conduct problem-driven research, teach in-person and online courses, and assist policymakers and government and non-government leaders at local and national levels.

Ethics Bowl, Mock Trial, Philosophy Club, Political Science Club, Political Science Honors Society, and the Pre-Law Society all enhance your education via experiential learning and engaging with peers and professionals.

Political science and philosophy majors learn a host of skills that will enhance career prospects across a wide variety of fields, including: law, journalism, local government, federal law enforcement, academia, non-profits, business, writing, teaching, national government, etc.

Your degree will also prepare you for furthering your education, whether that is pursuing a graduate degree in political science or philosophy or a different discipline such as law school, business school, or medical school.

A snowy day on the campus of Washington State University, Monday, February 11, 2019.


The B.A. in political science was first awarded in 1930 and the M.A. in 1932 by the History and Political Science Department at the State College of Washington (renamed Washington State University in 1959).

In 1956, the History Program separated into its own department, and in 1982 the Department of Criminal Justice was reorganized and housed within the Department of Political Science. For the next 28 years, the Criminal Justice Program was part of the political science department until it left to become a stand-alone department again in 2011.

At this point, an opportunity arose to pursue a dynamic merger integrating the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science in Pullman into one school, along with the master’s program in Public Affairs in Vancouver.

From this, the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs was born, a program offering undergraduate majors in political science, philosophy, and public affairs; an M.A. in political science in global justice and security studies (which is also a graduate certificate program); a graduate certificate in bioethics; a master of public affairs and a Ph.D. in political science. The Pullman campus awards the M.A. and Ph.D. in political science. The Vancouver campus grants the master of public affairs, independently from Pullman.

Claudius O. Johnson Biography


Welcome to the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs at Washington State University. The School offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate courses leading to the B.A. degrees in Political Science, in Philosophy and in Public Affairs (on our Vancouver campus), the M.A. degree in Political Science (including a Certificate in Global Justice and Security Studies), and a Ph.D. degree in Political Science. Students who graduate from our programs are imbued with a desire to engage in life-long learning and are also very competitive on the job market.

In addition to teaching and public service, faculty and graduate students engage in problem-oriented research addressing some of the most pressing political and philosophical issues of our time including global climate change and environmental policy, bioethics, health policy, national security and international terrorism, political communication, global justice, and political psychology. Many of the faculty embrace interdisciplinary research programs that allow for a multi-dimensional approach to addressing societal issues and problems.

Travis Ridout, Director

Contact Us

School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs
Washington State University

801 Johnson Tower
PO Box 644880
Pullman, WA 99164-4880
Phone: 509-335-2544
Fax: 509-335-7990

Visiting Campus

Pullman is located on the eastern edge of the state of Washington, 80 miles south of Spokane and 30 miles north of Lewiston, Idaho. Pullman shares the border with Moscow, Idaho, just a few miles to the east and home to the University of Idaho.
Get driving directions.