• important questions, issues, and facts of political life as well as of the actual ordering of communities of the past and present
  • become familiar with the major figures of political philosophy and the structure and operation of the American polity
  • enjoy learning about politics, law, and societal issues
  • posses strong communication skills
  • like reading
  • enjoy writing and thinking critically and creatively
  • public office
  • law, business, or graduate school
  • teaching
  • journalism

Department Mission:

In the tradition of excellence in liberal education, the Department of Government & Political Philosophy aims to help students become more thoughtful human beings and more enlightened citizens. This objective is pursued primarily through the careful reading and analysis of the great books of political philosophers, as well as through the study of important writings and documents of the American tradition.

Through studying political philosophy our students gain a general understanding of the important questions, issues, and facts of political life, as well as of the actual ordering of communities of the past and present. In response to the question of what political arrangements best promote human flourishing, the Department draws on the rich tradition of natural law embodied in the wisdom of classical thought, the Christian tradition as represented by thinkers such as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, and the prudent statesmanship of the American Founders.

The Government and Political Philosophy faculty are committed to modeling and encouraging the further development of honesty, integrity, and virtue in our students. Our hope is to provide an atmosphere of learning and study that will, in keeping with the highest values of a Catholic and Benedictine education, enable young men and women to engage in the world so as to become responsible citizens and to promote the common good.

Departmental Goals:

The general goal of the Department is to make a substantial contribution to the liberal education of its students.

In particular, our students should expect to become familiar with the major figures of political philosophy and the structure and operation of the American polity. Students should also expect to be challenged to improve their ability to communicate clearly and powerfully in speech and writing. The Department believes that such skills are essential preparation for future professional success.

Ultimately, the Government & Political Philosophy Department hopes to inspire students to form a life-long commitment to thoughtful learning.

(This option is available for traditional students only.)  To be eligible for acceptance into the degree program, the student must have completed PO 201, and must have earned a grade of a “C” or better. Students transferring more than 13 credit hours to Belmont Abbey College are not required to take the First-Year Symposium.

In addition to the other Core Curriculum requirements, the following are specific core requirements:

  • EC 201 Introductory Economics I

Major requirements:

  • PO 309 American Constitutional Law I
  • PO 361 American Political Thought I
  • PO 401 Classical Political Philosophy

Students majoring in Government and Political Philosophy select a concentration of 15 credit hours in either American Government or Political Philosophy. Every student must maintain a “B” average in his or her chosen concentration.

Concentration in American Government

The following five required courses:

  • PO 310 American Constitutional Law II
  • PO 331 The American Congress
  • PO 332 The American Presidency
  • PO 362 American Political Thought II
  • PO 432 Seminar in American Politics

Concentration in Political Philosophy
The following five required courses:

  • PO 321 Contemporary Political Thought
  • PO 402 Medieval Political Philosophy
  • PO 403 Early Modern Political Philosophy
  • PO 404 Late Modern Political Philosophy
  • PO 430 Seminar: Political Philosophy

Senior Thesis in Concentration Area

  • PO 490 Senior Thesis

Other Courses

  • Three elective PO courses
  • General Elective Courses

NOTE: Although an internship (PO 451-456) is not required for the major, it is strongly recommended.

It is the student’s responsibility to see that all degree requirements for graduation are fulfilled.

Fifteen (15) hours of Government & Political Philosophy courses at the 300- or 400-level.

It is the student’s responsibility to see that all degree requirements for graduation are fulfilled.


Dr. Travis Cook - Assistant Professor of Government and Political Philosophy
B.A., University of Maine
M.A., Boston College
Ph.D., Loyola University, Chicago

Dr. Justin Litke – Assistant Professor of Government and Political Philosophy
B.A., The Catholic University of America, 2006
M.A., Georgetown University, 2009
Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2010

Dr. Laurence Reardon - Assistant Professor of Government and Political Philosophy
B.S., University College, Dublin
M.T. S., John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family
M.A., Catholic University of America
Ph.D., Catholic University of America

Dr. Eugene Thuot - Professor of Government and Political Philosophy; Chair, Social Sciences Division
B.A., Assumption College
B.Th., University of Ottawa
M.A., University of Chicago
Ph.D., University of Chicago

Dr. David Williams – Chair of Government and Political Philsophy, Chair & Associate Professor of Theology
B.A., Georgetown University, 1988
M.A., Boston College, 1992
Ph.D., Boston College (Political Science), 1993
Ph.D., Boston College (Theology), 2001

Dr. Joseph Wysocki – Assistant Professor of Government and Political Philosophy
B.A., Belmont Abbey College, 2004
M.A., Baylor University, 2007
Ph.D., Baylor University, 2013