A note from our chair

Deirdre ConditWelcome to the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Political Science, where we have a passion for politics!  The great Greek Statesman Pericles once said, “Just because you do not take an interest in politics, does not mean politics won’t take an interest in you!”  Whether we like it or not, politics is everywhere! Our job in political science is to try and understand this thing that surrounds us, captures us, and defines us as the “political animals” that Aristotle argued we are.

Together, VCU political science faculty and students engage in innovative research and intellectual inquiry as we seek to understand, explain, and engage politics at all levels, including international politics, politics in other countries, American politics, Virginia politics and the politics of other states, the politics of the City of Richmond and in other localities and principalities, and politics at the most personal levels, because, as we have come to understand so well, the personal is necessarily political.  As a department, our mission has three goals: engaging in scholarship aimed at helping make sense of politics, working to make politics better, and fostering the transformation of our students into informed, sensible citizens.

Political science is a popular major at Virginia Commonwealth University. Each year, we rank among the top seven of the largest undergraduate degree granting programs at VCU, with nearly 500 majors and more than 150 minors. Additionally, our minor programs in Public Management and Non-Profit Management Studies attract students from other degree programs as they look to enhance their academic and work profiles with valuable applied and practical administrative skills. Despite our size, our caring faculty members strive to maintain our reputation for offering a “small department” atmosphere for our students.

Students seek a degree in political science for many reasons, but most find their way here because they share our passionate interest in politics and, for our graduates, those political passions pay off!  Our wonderfully diverse graduates go on to some of the country’s top graduate or professional programs while others decide to go straight into the professional world.  We are proud to count among our alums, candidates for public office, private sector leaders, diplomats, program managers and directors, members of the nation’s many security divisions, attorneys, corporate legislative liaisons, political advisors, campaign directors and managers, political science professors, union organizers, internationally renowned political novelists, successful small-business entrepreneurs, journalists, and many, many others.

The Political Science Department takes a “hands-on” approach to teaching about politics. For example, internships and study abroad programs ensure that our students have access to real-world political experiences – the kind that can only be made available at a place like VCU, located in Virginia’s capital city, and just 95 miles south of the nation’s capital. Our classes draw on the expertise and experiences of leaders at all levels of government, ensuring that our students learn how theory and practice come together in the political world.

Richmond offers a great place to study politics. Routinely cited as one of the “Best Places to Live and Work in America,” it lies at the intersection of roads leading West toward the mountains, East toward the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful beaches, and North to the Nation’s capital. Our diverse student body typically finds life in the heart of this easy, Mid-Atlantic city both exciting and comfortable. Richmond has a lovely blend of big city benefits in a small-town atmosphere.  The University’s downtown location provides our students access to great art, wonderful music, fantastic cultural events, and a vibrant night-life.

I invite you to look around our new website and learn more about our passion for politics! Please feel free to send me your questions concerning studying political science at VCU!

You can contact me at dcondit@vcu.edu.

Deirdre M. Condit, MA, PhD
Associate Professor and Chair