Political Science

Educational philosophy

Political Science is at the heart of the liberal arts. There are four central planks in our platform – to use a metaphor from politics.

  1. Our courses emphasize the breadth of political science and present politics as a worldwide phenomenon.
  2. Students will become analytical and critical thinkers as well as powerful and effective communicators. See Dr. Lanegran discuss active learning.
  3. We nurture active and responsible habits of citizenship, encouraging service learning and the development of political values.
  4. We offer excellent opportunities for additional ways to study politics outside the classroom including off-campus study, internships, and clubs.

Who should study political science at Coe?

If you want a rigorous training in political science that emphasizes learning about politics all around the world, developing your own political values and essential analytical and communication skills, this is the place for you. If you want to take small classes in which you think deeply, debate vigorously, and figure out how to have an impact on the world, join us.


  • Three political science majors, Allison Bailey '17, Gibson Odderstol '17 and Thomas Petrino '17, have received prestigious Fulbright Fellowships for 2017-18. Bailey and Petrino will be teaching English in Bulgaria and Odderstol will be teaching in Malaysia.
  • Nine Political Science majors received their degrees in May 2017.
  • Thomas Petrino '17 received the Fred Hale Willhoite Prize for Excellence in Political Science.
  • Wes Hoyer '17 received the William R. Shuttleworth Outstanding Pre-Law Award.
  • Allison Bailey and Wes Hoyer presented their research at the Iowa Human Rights Research Conference in April 2017.
  • Thomas Petrino presented his research at the Midwest Political Science Research Conference in April 2017.
Fulbright recipients 2017
Professors Lanegran, Barrow and Nesmith congratulate Fulbright Fellows Thomas Petrino, Gibson Odderstol and Allison Bailey.


Petrino and Lanegran Hoyer and Golden
Dr. Lanegran congratulates Thomas Petrino '17 winner of the Willhoite Prize. Wes Hoyer receives the Shuttleworth Prize from Dr. Audrey Golden.


10 Reasons to Study Political Science at Coe College

  1. Our courses cover all fields of political science and all regions of the world.
  2. You can join the feisty, fun discussions of current events with the Political Science Club.
  3. With our small class sizes, the faculty will know you well enough to give you personal guidance and mentoring.
  4. Travel! You can spend a semester off campus.  Political Science majors study in Washington DC and all over the world.  Dr. Barrow has traveled with students to France and Mexico and Dr. Lanegran has taken some to Botswana, Germany, and the Netherlands.
  5. During the campaign season for a Presidential election, you can meet as many candidates as you can handle.
  6. You can join the Model United Nations club and play the role of a diplomat debating international policy at the American Model United Nations in Chicago.
  7. Independent research! You can write a senior thesis, take an independent study course and present your best research at the Midwest Political Science Undergraduate Research Conference.
  8. Cedar Rapids is a city with a vast range of possible internship sites in government, legal affairs, and civic and service groups.
  9. Dr. Nesmith plays the guitar, Dr. Barrow builds houses and Dr. Lanegran blogs for Amnesty International.
  10. Simulations! You’ll just have to take our classes to know what we mean.
Coe students meet former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Cedar Rapids.

Coe students meet former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Cedar Rapids.