• Important questions, issues, and facts of political life as well as of the actual ordering of communities past and present

You’ll enjoy the Abbey’s Government and Political Philosophy Major if you:

  • are interested in politics, law, and societal issues
  • possess strong communication skills
  • enjoy reading and writing
  • think critically and creatively

Aristotle famously called politics the ‘master science.’ Belmont Abbey College’s government and political philosophy bachelor’s degree program will teach you to understand, discuss and practice the ‘master science.’

  • Study great works in political philosophy from Plato’s Republic and Machiavelli’s Prince to Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and The Federalist Papers.
  • Examine historical and contemporary court cases, engage in lively debate, and form the basis for a continued pursuit of political science after graduation.

With a Political Philosophy bachelor’s degree from Belmont Abbey College, you will be able to pursue a variety of career opportunities, including:

  • Politician
  • Graduate/law school
  • Teacher
  • Lobbyist
  • Analyst
  • Writer/Editor

In this major, you will 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 Abbey Difference:

Guided by the tenets of Catholicism and the Benedictine hallmarks, Belmont Abbey College strives to provide its students with a well-rounded education that promotes wise and ethical decisions.

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. The Government and Political Philosophy 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.

Highlights of your experience:

While other nations swear allegiance to monarchs or the nation itself, Americans swear to the Constitution. Foundational to the ways the United States understands itself, constitutional law does for American politics what physics & mathematics do for the sciences: it sets the operating terms on which everything else depends.
Prior to the American Revolution, there had been no successful democratic republic for centuries. What political ideas made it possible for the American Founders to even conceive a democratic republic might again exist? How did their ideas grow and develop?
As with Western Civilization itself, reflection on human life in community goes back thousands of years to the historians and philosophers of Greece and Rome: Plato, Aristotle, and others. The arguments they began are still with us today.

Government Resources:

Founded in 1953, the ISI works to teach and promote core American and Western values on college campuses across the country. Members of the ISI have access to prestigious lectures, free books, and exclusive conferences, as well as plenty of opportunities to enjoy intelligent conversation on topics of deep and lasting importance.
The Belmont Abbey College Republicans are an organization of Abbey students who promote republican values on campus through service, promotion and other initiatives. In the past, such initiatives have included anything from cookouts to volunteering as poll workers.
Our students have many opportunities for internships or professional development, whether in a congressional office (Rep. Patrick McHenry R-NC is an alumnus) or through winning seats in special programs such as summer study with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

Program Requirements:

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.

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
  • PO 450 Senior Seminar

Students majoring in Government and Political Philosophy select a concentration of 24 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 four required courses:

  • PO 310 American Constitutional Law II
  • PO 331 The American Congress
  • PO 332 The American Presidency
  • PO 362 American Political Thought II

Concentration in Political Philosophy
The following four required courses:

  • PO 321 Contemporary Political Thought
  • PO 402 Medieval Political Philosophy
  • PO 403 Early Modern Political Philosophy
  • PO 404 Late Modern 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 and 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
Chair & Associate Professor of Government and Political Philosophy
B.A., University of Maine
M.A., Boston College
Ph.D., Loyola University, Chicago

Dr. Scott Broyles
Associate Professor of Government & Political Philosophy   
B.A., Wake Forest University, 1981
M.A., University of Dallas, 1986
Ph.D., University of Dallas, 2003
J.D., Washington and Lee University, 1990

John Charles Kunich
B.S., University of Illinois at Chicago
M.S., University of Illinois at Chicago
J.D., Harvard Law School
LL.M., George Washington University School of Law

Dr. Laurence Reardon
Associate 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. Joseph F. Wysocki
Associate Professor of Government and Political Philosophy
B.A., Belmont Abbey College
M.A., Baylor University
Ph.D., Baylor University

Mary Imparato
Assistant Professor of Government & Political Philosophy

B.A., Harvard University
M.A., City University of New York/Queens College
Ph.D. (candidate), Rutgers University