Jason Ross Arnold​, Ph.D.
Associate professor and chair


Political science is the systematic study of institutions, behavior and ideas in order to further the understanding and explanation of government and politics at the local, state, national and international levels. The discipline has a rich history that bridges the present with the past and future, is pluralistic in its modes of inquiry and adopts a critical approach that makes use of qualitative and quantitative analytic methods.  

VCU’s political science department uses its unique position on an urban campus — located in the state capital and just a short distance from Washington, D.C. — to provide students with transformative learning experiences promoting active and engaged citizenship, both domestically and globally. Faculty integrate their teaching with cutting-edge scholarship that advances the boundaries of the discipline and meaningfully impacts public debate and policy.

The department values diversity of thought and identity, inclusive pedagogy, informal mentorships, active citizenship and the free expression of ideas through innovative scholarship, teaching and community engagement. Faculty are dedicated to developing programs and a curriculum that prepare graduates to be informed and inquisitive citizens who are positioned to make a difference as professionals and lifelong learners.

These faculty members have expertise in a broad spectrum of subjects, including: international health; Russian politics; the intersections between politics and religion in both historical and contemporary contexts; Anglo-American political thought; feminist political theory; U.S. presidential decision-making for national security and foreign policy; information politics (e.g. government secrecy, mis/disinformation and public ignorance); national security intelligence; governance responses to human migration; global environmental politics; immigration; labor politics; Latin American politics; legislative behavior; partisan gerrymandering; campaign finance; political communication; political behavior; public opinion; international relations; local economic development in the US; public administration; constitutional law; European politics; political theory; comparative political development; African democratization; public administration; and public and nonprofit management.

POLI 591. Topics in Political Science. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 credits. An in-depth study of a selected topic in political science in a seminar environment. Intended for small groups of students interested in examining issues and problems related to aspects of the political processes.