Department of Political Science

Message from the Department Chair: Dr. Hollis France

Dr. Hollis FranceWelcome to the Department of Political Science! Whether you are interested in American campaigns and elections or international human rights, global climate change or criminal justice, foreign policy or urban planning, Chinese politics or the politics of Africa, intelligence gathering or health policy, local community groups or international development agencies, the Department of Political Science has the courses and extracurricular programming for you. The faculty and staff in our department are committed to your success, both as a student in Charleston and for life after college. Our department has a large and distinguished alumni network, as you can see from the profiles (below) which were featured in The College Today. More information can be found on the Alumni Corner of our website.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have and let us know how we can make your time at the College of Charleston even better!



WE'VE MOVED!  Our offices are now located on the 2nd floor of the JC Long Building. If you need to see someone on the faculty or a staff member, please email them and book an appointment. All email addresses can be found on our Faculty and Staff Listing page under About the Department. Thank you!


 Student Spotlight: Ryan Thompson

Student SpotlightIn Fall 2020, political science junior Ryan Thompson participated in the Washington Semester Internship Program (WSIP) through the University of South Carolina’s (USC) Honors College. The WSIP program “gives students in universities and colleges across the state of South Carolina the opportunity to spend a semester working and taking classes in D.C., gaining valuable experience while earning academic credit toward their degrees.”  For Ryan, this experience led to an internship with a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a very memorable semester.

Ryan was accepted into the WSIP program in February of 2020, just a few short weeks before the pandemic began, and then spent the summer wondering if the program would be able to move forward. Luckily it did, and after a two-week quarantine when he arrived in D.C., Ryan began his internship in the Office of Representative Joe Cunningham, having been hand-picked by Cunningham’s staff after a series of interviews. Ryan says he felt like the “pick of the litter,” having been chosen as the one and only intern out of his cohort. Read more about Ryan's semester in our March 3, 2021 blog.


See more of our Undergraduate "Student Spotlights" on our blog.

Alumni Profiles


                                                     Are you Career Ready? Master these competencies for a successful transition into the workplace: critical thinking/problem solving; teamwork/collaboration; oral/written communication skills; career management; professionalism/work ethic; leadership; information technology application. Learn how a political science degree helps you develop these skills by going to


The Philosophies of Trevor Jones ’16
Posted on 31 May 2022 | 12:59 pm
At the start of our virtual interview, Trevor Jones (‘16) gives me a brief tour of one special wall in his suburban Maryland apartment. “Here’s me with Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the congressional baseball game,” Jones beams as he points to the photograph. “And this one’s with Mr. Dellums, the former mayor of Oakland and […]
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An activist behind the lens, Tom Laffay ’11
Posted on 10 January 2022 | 2:28 pm
Tom Laffay (’11) double-majored in political science and Latin American and Caribbean studies, in addition to receiving a minor in Spanish while he attended CofC. His career was heavily influenced by his experiences abroad (Cuba 2009), a summer working on a farm in North Carolina, and his membership in the Portuguese Club. The totality of […]
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Alumni Spotlight: Erin McPherson
Posted on 11 May 2021 | 11:27 am
Erin McPherson ’10 entered Charleston School of Law immediately after graduation, for that had always been “the plan,” but found herself questioning the decision shortly thereafter.  Her “willingness to pivot” away from that path, as difficult as it was, is what ultimately led her to a career she now loves. Erin is a Senior Editor* […]
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