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Michael A. Zilis

Research Interests:

Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2013


Michael A. Zilis is an Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Political Science at the University of Kentucky.  He joined the UK faculty in 2015 after receiving his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Zilis's research focuses on law and courts and political behavior.  His books include The Rights Paradox (Cambridge University Press), which offers a systematic look at Supreme Court equal protection decisions and their implications for democracy and public opinion.  He has also published The Limits of Legitimacy (University of Michigan Press), which was selected as an "Exemplary Law Book of 2015" by the Green Bag Almanac and Reader. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation and has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals and law reviews.

Dr. Zilis teaches a wide range of courses in American politics.  He emphasizes student engagement and utilizes both single period and multiple-week simulations in his courses.  In 2019, he won the Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Arts & Sciences and was a finalist for the Provost's Award for Outstanding Teaching at the University.

For more information about Dr. Zilis's research and background, please visit