About the Department

Ellison Hall, UC Santa Barbara

For over half a century, the Department of Political Science at UC Santa Barbara has been home to top scholars engaged in cutting edge research. Housed in a world-class university widely known for its interdisciplinarity, the department is committed to rigorous quantitative and qualitative research, as well as to normative theory. 

In addition to its commitment to research, the department prides itself on first-rate teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Our research and teaching cover the traditional fields of International Relations, Comparative Politics, American Politics, Political Theory, and Research Methods. We are distinctive because of our additional emphasis on the Politics of Identity and Politics of the Environment.

Message From the Chair

Kathleen Bruhn, Department ChairJune 21, 2021

As of June 15, the state of California has opened up universities fully. The University of California on all its campuses intends to return to in person instruction and activities by the fall (most summer classes will proceed as remote offerings). We look forward excitedly to welcoming back our students, staff and faculty for the first time in well over a year. Limited staff presence in the building will continue through August, however, so please contact staff members you need to see in person prior to making the trip.

Some activities, such as those involving large crowds or large classrooms, may take more time to normalize than others. Other activities may look a little different than before as a result of our experience with remote learning, such as the use of new technologies for teaching, conferences, and research. Nothing will ever replace the in person mode of exploring and discussing ideas collectively, but we can supplement these experiences with lower-cost and greener ways of handling at least some of our work so that we can become more efficient and effective in what we do.

We will also continue to address the problems of equity in higher education that have been highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement. Our department is well-positioned to contribute to research on these issues through our departmental focus on politics and identity, and we are committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within our own ranks.

Some issues, such as vaccine mandates for returning students, remain to be resolved, by higher authorities than yours truly. Yet we are ever more hopeful that a safe return to classes will indeed be possible. See you in September!

Department Leadership
Chair: Kathleen Bruhn
Vice Chair: Cynthia Kaplan
Director of Graduate Studies: Amit Ahuja
Director of Graduate Admissions: Bruce Bimber

Main Office
Due to remote working, only critical workers are allowed in Ellison Hall. Please email Danielle Crowder for general inquiries.
Fax: (805) 893-3309
Remote Office Hours: Monday – Friday,
8:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00-5:00 pm

Undergraduate Advising Office
Due to remote working, the advising office can only be reached via email
Advising Hours: See Advising Page

Graduate Advising Office
Due to remote working, please email Kathryn Ficke.
Advising Hours: See Advising Page

Mailing Address
Department of Political Science, 9420
The University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9420

Campus Mail Code: 9420
Campus Map