The Catholic University of America

Sept. 3, 2010

CUA Politics Department Recognized for Top Theory Program and Faculty

  Professor Claes Ryn

The Department of Politics and one of its faculty members received high marks in a survey focused on political theory, according to an article in the April 2010 issue of the journal PS: Political Science and Politics.

The department’s doctoral program in political theory was ranked 25th out of 105 schools. The program ranked ahead of programs at schools such as Cambridge University in England and Brown University, an Ivy League school in Providence, R.I.

Professor Claes Ryn was ranked as one of 50 scholars “doing excellent work today whose work will be influential during the next 20 years,” the survey notes. He was ranked above many other prominent political theorists.

Humanitas, a journal founded and edited by Ryn, was ranked 35th out of the top 45 journals related to political theory.

Phillip Henderson, chair of the politics department, said that Ryn and Professor David Walsh are highly respected scholars in political theory. Their presence on the faculty is one reason, he says, that the doctoral program is so highly ranked.

The Catholic University of America Press was ranked as one of the top 40 publishers of books related to political theory.

Professor David Walsh

The survey polled 1,086 political theorists throughout the nation.

PS: Political Science and Politics, published by the American Political Science Association, is described as the “journal of record for the profession” and is issued to more than 15,000 association members.

“This ranking is somewhat surprising in that our political theory program has steered its own course over the years and in no way tried to endear itself to the American Political Science Association,” Ryn noted.

Walsh himself was the subject of a six-article symposium in the July 2010 issue of Perspectives on Political Science.

In one of the articles in that symposium, Ralph Hancock, professor of political science at Brigham Young University, wrote:

“If some of us have not taken sufficient notice of David Walsh’s work over the past 20 years, it is time we paid attention. Walsh is the real deal, a genuine philosopher, or perhaps rather an authentic and Christian thinker whose Christian humanity is at work and at stake in every thought.”

“Some of the very best graduate students come to Catholic University to study with Ryn and Walsh,” says Henderson. “We attract students to our program who have been admitted to Notre Dame, Georgetown, Virginia and other top programs in political theory."

All students completing the doctoral program in politics are required to take courses in early and modern political thought. Other politics faculty members enhance graduate students’ education with classes in a variety of political topics. Students also may take classes in the School of Philosophy.

While Henderson says there is “no question that the theory program puts the politics department on the national map,” he says the faculty as a whole has produced outstanding work that continues to draw attention.

Henderson notes that there has been “considerable momentum by the entire department that will continue to attract outstanding students.” In the last year and a half, major university presses have published books by politics faculty members Matthew Green, Wallace Thies, David Walsh and John Kenneth White.

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