Welcome to the Department of Political Science, Philosophy, Religion & Legal Studies!

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Pi Sigma Alpha and Mick Mulvaney

What makes the Department Political Science, Philosophy, Religion & Legal Studies at Winthrop University UNIQUE?                                                     

The Department of Political Science, Philosophy, Religion, and Legal Studies at Winthrop University prepares students to engage in critical reading, writing, and thinking about the study of people, power, and politics in the state, law, and society.  Majors in Political Science, Philosophy and/or Religion prepare students for careers in Local, State, and Federal Government, International Affairs, Teaching, Public Service, Political Advocacy, Survey Research, Campaigns and Elections, Non-Governmental Organizations, Business, Marketing, and Law. This department is unlike any other in the state, the region, or even the nation. The Model United Nations Program, the Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research and the Winthrop Poll, and the John C. West Forum on Politics and Policy, not only allow for the development of real-world marketable skills and other high impact practices, but also make Winthrop stand out as a political science powerhouse. 


PPRL Faculty


Academic Programs Offered:                 

— BA in Political Science— BA in Philosophy & Religious Studies— Minors in International & Global Studies, Legal Studies, Political Science, Philosophy, Religion, Philosophy & Religious Studies, and Women’s & Gender Studies— Master of Liberal Arts Program with a Concentration in Political and Civic Engagement


Three Affiliated Programs That Make WU PLSC Stand Out:



Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research (CPOPR)

The CPOPR is a full-service survey research and data analysis center which employs professionally trained student and community callers in our state-of-the-art facilities. The telephone survey lab is a research arm of the Department whose mission includes teaching, research, and service. The CPOPR provides public opinion survey research through the widely respected Winthrop Poll, the go-to media source on the political attitudes of South Carolinians specifically and Southerners generally and a threshold poll in the last election. Political science students have the opportunity to participate in “First in the South” due to the organizing efforts of the John C. West Forum on Politics and Policy and the prominence of the Winthrop Poll. For more information, please contact Dr. Scott Huffmon, Director.

SRMUN 2022

Model United Nations (MUN) Program

The Winthrop Model UN Program offers experiential learning in international relations through the first combined high school/college MUN conference in the country. Winthrop University students enroll in a Winthrop course on the United Nations and serve as country delegates and advisors to high school students who have studied the same county. Advanced Winthrop University students who have taken the class before serve as "the Big Three" leaders who organize the conference and as committee chairs throughout. Judges identify students whose speeches are the most effective and in character for their country. The experience teaches professionalism, public speaking, thinking on your feet, and working as part of a team, all skills required for real-world success. For more information, please contact Dr. Jennifer Leigh Disney, Director.

West Forum

John C. West Forum on Politics and Policy

The West Forum was founded in 2002 at the University of South Carolina in Columbia by former Governor John C. West and transferred to Winthrop University in 2008. Governor West wanted a means for South Carolina students to learn about civic engagement and political issues in the state. He envisioned the West Forum as a place where students could be informed about issues and trained to fill important positions in the state in the future. The West Forum seeks to promote leadership and educate students to become engaged and effective citizens of South Carolina. 


Our alumni achieve successful careers in local, state, and national government, international affairs, survey research, campaigns and elections, business, marketing, non-governmental organizations, and pursue advanced degrees, master's and doctoral studies in law, public administration, political science, and other fields. Please see the Alumni Employment (pdf - 337 KB) and Alumni Graduate/Law School Placements (pdf - 47 KB) from our last Alumni Survey.


Decision 2024


Departmental Awards

The Political Science department offers several awards for our amazing students:  the William J. Blough Undergraduate Essay Contest, the Mary Jeanne Byrd Award for Political and Civic Engagement, the Marsha Ford Political Education Award, the Stephen Samuel Smith Award for Critically and Politically Engaged Undergraduate Research, The Timothy Boylan Pre-Law Award, the Joe B. Lanford Scholarship, and the Juree Capers Graduate School Award. If you have any questions, contact the departmental program assistant, at 803/323-2209 or visit Scholarships and Awards for more information. 

PPRL Awards 2024 


PPRL Awards 2024


Check out WU's past election coverage below!