University of Massachusetts Boston Department of Political Science

Political Science Department

The department strives to understand what is at stake for the quality of human life in political decision-making. Students can major or minor in political science, or minor in international relations and public policy. Courses explore and evaluate political power relations in reference to values like fairness and justice.


Adopted by a unanimous vote of the Political Science faculty on 2/15/17:

Political Science Department Statement on President Trump’s Executive Order 13769

The Political Science Department of the University of Massachusetts Boston condemns, in the strongest possible terms, President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order (EO) 13769 imposing a travel ban on all nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.

As scholars and students of politics at Boston’s only public, 4-year university, we feel a special obligation to raise our dissenting voice in objection to this racist, punitive ban. As Political Scientists, we recognize the dire, far-reaching, and institutional consequences of this ban. As Political Scientists at UMass Boston, we see only too well how this ban will directly affect the most vulnerable of our students, faculty, and staff. UMass Boston is the most diverse public institution of higher learning in New England. Many of our students, faculty, and staff hail from these seven countries, have family in these seven countries, and/or study and conduct research in these seven countries. This EO is therefore an assault not only on the people who work and study at UMass Boston, but also on the very notion of academic freedom. It creates undue obstacles for students, faculty, and researchers to come to UMass Boston at all. It prevents faculty from properly conducting their teaching and research, and limits our collaboration with educators, students, and researchers from these nations by restricting their entry to the US. Finally, the EO fuels ethnic, religious, and racial profiling in total violation of the values that inform our pedagogical mission, both in our department and at this university.

The Political Science Department therefore stands in solidarity with all of our faculty, students, and staff affected by this unjust, discriminatory, and racist EO, and with every refugee and immigrant who has been negatively impacted and endangered. We re-iterate our commitment to study and research collaboratively with all people(s) and citizens of the world, and avow that no president, of whatever party, can or will deter us from this commitment.

We furthermore celebrate and applaud the different on-campus and off-campus initiatives formed recently to defend vulnerable members of our communities, and commit ourselves to joining these efforts and taking concrete actions to protect the students, faculty, and staff whom this EO threatens. We will continue to raise our voices, and urge other departments on this campus and elsewhere to join us in actively resisting the racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and anti-refugee policies emanating from the current presidential administration.

Department of Political Science Faculty:

Assistant Professor Joseph Brown

Associate Professor Elizabeth Bussiere

Senior Lecturer Caroline Coscia

Associate Professor Maurice Cunningham

Associate Professor and Department Chair Leila Farsakh

Assistant Professor Andrés Henao Castro

Assistant Professor Luis Jiménez

Assistant Professor Travis Johnston

Assistant Professor Michelle Jurkovich

Associate Professor Paul Kowert

Associate Professor Erin O’Brien 

Associate Professor C. Heike Schotten

Senior Lecturer Ursula Tafe

Professor Paul Watanabe

For inquiries regarding this statement, please contact

International Relations Graduate Program

Interested in expanding upon your international relations minor? Learn how to get a graduate degree through the McCormack Graduate School.
Read More

Intern in Massachusetts, Boston, or Washington, DC

Download information on a dozen different internship opportunities available to UMass Boston students.
Read More

Contact the Political Science Department


Giving to UMass Boston

Support the Political Science Department with a gift to the UMass Boston Fund.