2022-2023 Catalog With Addendum 
    Jul 19, 2024  
2022-2023 Catalog With Addendum [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science and Criminal Justice

Neal Coates, Chair
ACU Box 29143
Abilene, Texas 79699-9143
Hardin Administration Building, Room 220

Phone: 325-674-2095
Fax: 325-674-6962
Email: coatesn@acu.edu
Web: https://www.acu.edu/academics/undergraduate/bachelor-of-arts-in-political-science/
and https://www.acu.edu/academics/undergraduate/bachelor-in-criminal-justice/


Neal Coates, Professor
Bob Delony, Instructor
Candice Ortbals-Wiser, Professor
Ben Peterson, Assistant Professor
Chris Riley, Assistant Professor

The Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice offers the Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. The Department also offers the BA in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and Comparative Politics for students desiring a focused study of world politics. A minor in Political Science or Criminal Justice may be added to other majors. The Department also offers a minor in Public Service, appropriate for students across campus, and also designed for those in the Jack Pope Fellows Program. Finally, the Department directs the Legal Studies minor.


The purpose of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is to provide a program of study to help students understand domestic and international politics and law enforcement theory and practice, and to prepare students for informed and active participation in the political arena and in criminal justice careers.

Opportunities for careers include:

  • Government Service: Public service is a major emphasis of the Department. ACU’s Public Service Internship Program gives outstanding students part-time, public-sector work experience along with their course work.
  • Law: Political science is an excellent preparation for law school, and many recent graduates have gone on to successful careers in the various fields of law.
  • Criminal Justice: A major in Criminal Justice prepares the student for a broad area of professional career options in the field of criminal justice and law, including: federal, state, and local law enforcement; pretrial, probation, and parole services; correctional careers; victim/witness assistance; graduate studies in criminology or criminal justice; or a potential for law school admission.
  • Media and Journalism: Politics and media are intertwined, and students preparing for a career in broadcasting or journalism should be informed about politics and government.
  • Secondary Teaching: The Department of History and Global Studies, in cooperation with the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice and the Department of Teacher Education, offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree with a teaching specialization in social studies.
  • College Teaching: The Department gives a broad exposure to politics and government, which is excellent preparation for graduate study and teaching at the community college, senior college, or university level.

Study Abroad Expectations

All students are encouraged to participate in ACU’s Study Abroad program. Classes offered at Study Abroad sites vary. Academic advisors can assist students in planning ahead for their Study Abroad experience and should be consulted during the freshman year.

Admission Requirements

Before being admitted to the Political Science or Criminal Justice programs, a student must satisfy the requirements listed in the ACT/SAT Placement Information  section of this catalog.

Legal Studies Minor

Chris Riley, J.D., Pre-Law Advisor
ACU Box 29143
Abilene, Texas 79699-9143
Hardin Administration Building, Room 220

Phone: 325-674-2095
Fax: 325-674-6962


The legal studies minor provides undergraduate students an interdisciplinary approach to the study and practice of law. The minor also helps students prepare for advanced legal studies following graduation or work in highly-regulated fields while exploring unique opportunities and challenges they will likely encounter as people of faith in the legal profession.

Public Service Minor (Pope Fellows Only)

Neal Coates, Director
ACU Box 29143
Abilene, Texas 79699-9143
Hardin Administration Building, Room 220

Phone: 325-674-2095 Fax: 325-674-6962
Email: coatesn@acu.edu

Abilene Christian University recognizes Judge Jack Pope’s considerable contributions to his state and nation in his career as a public servant. In honor of his accomplishments and service, the Board of Trustees of ACU established the Jack Pope Fellows Program. The Jack Pope Fellows Program offers fellowships to outstanding Abilene Christian University students pursuing careers in public service. Acceptance into the Program requires students to complete an interdisciplinary 24-hour Minor in Public Service, which is administered by the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice (see Admission/Course Requirements below).

The program gives students opportunities to learn about public service in the classroom, attend special lectures, gain practical experience in public service, and participate in service activities. The Jack Pope Fellows Program is interdisciplinary and applicants are drawn from all majors and fields of study offered at Abilene Christian University. Pope Fellowships are intended for those who will shape the culture and provide a Christian influence in an area of public service. Public service is broadly defined as careers at all levels and in all functions of government as well as related public service sectors.

Public service, in all its many forms, is a noble calling. It is so important that we must not leave it to chance. We should, instead, actively search for and recruit young men and women who have good minds and character. We must then provide them the training they can use to solve the complex problems of our times. If we fail to do this, we will leave important civic matters to untrained, indifferent or unprincipled people. We must begin now.

- Judge Jack Pope

Admission Requirements

To be selected for a Jack Pope Fellowship, a student must:

  1. Be a full-time student at Abilene Christian University at the time of selection to the program.
  2. Apply during the spring of their second year.
  3. Currently have (and subsequently maintain) a grade point average of at least 3.25.
  4. Submit an application portfolio demonstrating a genuine commitment toward pursuing a public service career.
  5. Interview with the Jack Pope Fellows Steering Committee.



    Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of ScienceMinor


      Criminal JusticeLegal StudiesPeace and Social JusticePolitical Science