Political Science /
& Pre-Law

The Political Science program reflects Mars Hill’s commitment to the integration of the liberal arts with the development of responsible citizenship. The program is designed to help students develop skills crucial for leading self-examined lives so that they may be better citizens (both locally and globally) and become active members of their communities. Specifically, we strive to make students more conscious of the many and complex ways in which political forces – both domestic and global – shape their lives, for better or worse, and help them create pathways to make their world a better place.

The program encourages the intellectual formation of students by encouraging them to think, read and write clearly, cogently, and critically about issues that matter and prepares them for their future responsibilities as citizens and leaders. Students of political science are prepared for careers in law, business, academics, and public service, including governmental and non-profit organizations.

Political Science Careers

  • Federal, State, or Local Government
  • Lawyer/Legal Services
  • Law Enforcement
  • Journalism/Media Relations
  • Management Consultant
  • Political Campaigns and Polling
  • Teacher/Education
  • Management Analyst
  • Research Analyst
  • Political Analyst
  • Public Affairs Specialist
  • Business/Private Agencies
  • International Trade
  • International Finance

Heather Hawn, J.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science and Program Director
Office110 Founders Hall
Phone(828) 689-1335

Jonathan Rose, M.P.A., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Office: 111 Founders Hall
Phone: (828) 689-1338
Email: jrose@mhu.edu




Helpful Links:

Dr. Hawn teaches an award-winning Model United Nations class every spring that competes in the Southern Regional Model United Nations in Charlotte, NC. Our students love competing in the Model United Nations, working with students from other institutions, and practicing speaking and advocacy skills. Plus, it is a lot of fun!

The political science program offers current events classes and special events regularly for the non-major and major alike, especially during election years.

Pre-Law Studies (Minor)

The Pre-Law Studies minor is an interdisciplinary program designed to give students an opportunity to prepare for a career in the law. The rigorous liberal arts education you will receive at Mars Hill University truly provides students with a broad base of knowledge and challenges them to think critically, which is invaluable for further legal study, but students who want additional rigor in preparation for law school or a career in legal support will benefit from enrolling in classes specially selected for the Pre-Law Studies Minor. The program requires courses in political science, criminal justice, English, philosophy, history, and business. Students will gain experience in upper level writing, research, public speaking, and thinking critically in competitive environments.

The Pre-Law Studies minor will also assist students who want to be paralegals or legal researchers, a growing field that is invaluable in helping attorneys prepare to represent clients in legal proceedings.

The Pre-Law Studies Minor is administered within the political science program by Dr. Heather Hawn, who has PhD (’11) in Political Science and a JD (’97) from Campbell University Law School. Dr. Hawn practiced law in Raleigh, NC, for 10 years before changing careers to become an academic. She maintains her license to practice law, regularly attends law school fairs to learn about different programs, and is a member of SAPLA (Southern Association of Pre-Law Advisors), where she can interact with law school deans and admissions counselors to learn how to best advise students in the process of applying to law school programs and the latest in scholarship opportunities. Since Dr. Hawn applied to law school herself, she is well aware of the stresses and challenges students face in undertaking this significant life decision. She regularly meets with students to personally advise them where to apply, the application process, LSAT preparation, and answer any questions they have about law school and being a lawyer. She also worked extensively with paralegals and legal researchers and can advise students interested in those careers about what attorneys need from them and how to best navigate those careers. As a first-generation college student herself, she knows how important it is to have a support system to help students who may not know where to turn in pursuing their life’s dream. She cannot wait to talk to you about your goals!

Students are admitted to law school from almost every academic discipline. You may choose to major in subjects that are considered to be traditional preparation for law school, such as history, English, philosophy, political science, criminal justice, economics, or business, or you may focus your undergraduate studies in areas as diverse as art, music, science and mathematics, computer science, engineering, nursing or education. Whatever major you select, you are encouraged to pursue an area of study that interests and challenges you, while taking advantage of opportunities to develop your research and writing skills. Taking a broad range of difficult courses from demanding instructors is excellent preparation for legal education.

Students are encouraged to take classes and engage in internships that promote the following:

  • Analytic / Problem Solving Skills
  • Critical Reading
  • Writing Skills
  • Oral Communication / Listening Abilities
  • General Research Skills
  • Task Organization / Management Skills
  • Public Service and Promotion of Justice

In addition to the fundamental skills and values listed above, there are some basic areas of knowledge that are helpful to a legal education and to the development of a competent lawyer. Some of the types of knowledge that would maximize your ability to benefit from a legal education include:

  • A broad understanding of history, including the various factors (social, political, economic, and cultural) that have influenced the development of our society in the United States.
  • A fundamental understanding of political thought and of the contemporary American political system.
  • Some basic mathematical and financial skills, such as an understanding of basic pre-calculus mathematics and an ability to analyze financial data.
  • A basic understanding of human behavior and social behavior.
  • An understanding of diverse cultures within and beyond the United States, of international institutions and issues, of world events, and of the increasing interdependence of the nations and communities within our world.

Fortunately, there are many classes at Mars Hill University that promote these fundamental skills and knowledge. Please discuss your course selections with your advisor or with Dr. Hawn.


The Law School Admission Test must be taken by any student applying to an ABA approved law school. Students should take this test as soon as possible during their junior year and often find that they need to take the test more than once to achieve the score that they desire. Students are encouraged to create an account on www.lsac.org and spend considerable time in their LSAT preparation.

North Carolina ABA Approved Law Schools:

  • Campbell University School of Law – Raleigh
  • Duke University School of Law – Durham
  • Elon University – Greensboro
  • North Carolina Central University – Durham
  • University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • Wake Forest University – Winston-Salem

Mars Hill University routinely invites deans of admission, law professors, judges, practicing attorneys, and paralegals to speak to students about their career options and how to successfully plan their futures. Please read our Alumni Stories as we are very proud of our graduates who have been accepted and completed their law studies in a variety of prestigious law schools including William and Mary, College of Charleston School of Law, West Virginia University, and Penn State, among others and have gone on to careers in criminal law, private practice, and governmental agencies.

Student & Alumni Stories

Brendon Cyprianos
Athletics brought Brendon to MHU, but studying political science helped him find his passion. Now as an entrepreneur, Brendon attributes much of his success to what he learned in his political science classes at Mars Hill.
Ashley Davis
A first-generation college student, Ashley says she was greeted with open arms into the political science program. She says the support and guidance she experience made the difference in her ability to graduate and find a field—local politics—that she was passionate about after graduation.
Denise Thrift
Denise is a criminal investigator and pursuing graduate studies in peace and conflict resolution. She credits Dr. Heather Hawn’s passion for truth and justice for making MHU's the political science program into something that no other university can rival. The political science program is where Denise discovered her potential, and was able to work through her opinions in a safe environment.
Cameron Worley
In the political science program, Cameron found a path that brought him fulfillment in education and in life. Dr. Hawn and Dr. Rose taught him beyond the curriculum and challenged him to reach his full potential. Now working as an advocate for youth in the child welfare system, Cameron is using his political science major and community engagement minor to help fight for those who can't advocate for themselves.
Jerry Clark
Currently working in community and housing development, Jerry says his experience at Mars Hill was truly life-changing after meeting Dr. Hawn and Dr. Rose. Through the political science program he met many students with a common interest in domestic and geopolitical issues, and also gained an insightful understanding of the many career pathways available to him.
Sydney Britt
Sydney's major in international studies put her in many political science classes during her time at MHU. Now pursuing a law degree at the LSU Law Center, Sydney says the LSAT prep course taught by Dr. Hawn was extremely helpful. She was able to develop her writing, research, and analytical thinking skills through political science and international studies classes, which in turn are helping her succeed in her law school classes.