Offered by the Department of History, Education, Philsophy, Political Science, and Sociology
The Department offers a B.A. in Political Science. The Department offers minors in History, Political Science, International Studies, and Environmental Studies.
The mission of the political science major is to promote the skills, knowledge, character, and experiences necessary to produce good leaders and citizens. To that end, our program emphasizes quality teaching, personal advisement, high academic standards, and civic awareness. Students will be challenged to develop skills essential to succeed in a competitive global work force.
Our program will:
- Provide an academically challenging curriculum based around the sub-fields of political science: American politics, comparative politics (politics within countries), and international relations (politics among countries)
- Promote independent thinking, thorough analysis, and critical perspectives on issues and problems
- Instill an appreciation for the complexities of politics and the importance of civic engagement
Political Science is a broad social science discipline devoted to the study of government and politics of the US, other countries, and the international system. Our central goal is to produce students with a well-rounded knowledge of the discipline and a set of skills that serve as a basis for careers in any number of fields after graduation.
The study of political science provides an excellent basis to learn new skills and knowledge that can be applied in nearly any field. As a discipline, the focus of study is on the political process and institutions of various political systems, including the United States. However, the analysis of politics and government often involves other disciplines, such as history, economics, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, psychology, business, criminal justice, etc. This explicitly multi-disciplinary approach contributes to well-rounded graduates, which naturally leads them into a wide variety of careers. Moreover, the major emphasizes examining problems from multiple perspectives, attention to factual details, and the need to continually develop and revise broader theoretical ideas. This academic experience is later utilized by graduates in whatever careers they choose to pursue.
The Political Science program emphasizes the development of a key set of skills that will enhance a graduate’s long-term career prospects. Specifically, our courses highlight the importance of reading comprehension, critical and analytical thinking, and written and oral communication skills. For students that choose advanced educational opportunities after graduation, such as law school or graduate school, these skills serve as an essential foundation for future academic success. Other students prefer to directly enter the workforce and these same skills are widely applicable in politics, business, journalism, public administration, criminal justice, communications, marketing, and research. Put simply, the emphasis on skills is designed to allow our graduates to excel in almost any career path. Indeed, our recent graduates have selected careers related to politics, government, business, education, law, and criminal justice.
The Political Science major requires a total of 37 credits (typically 13 courses) and provides students maximum flexibility to pursue their interests. Four core courses ensure exposure to the major subfields of the discipline (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Philosophy). Students are also required to take one course in social science methods and a (1 credit) senior seminar. The internship requirement also ensures that our graduates gain real-world experience and enter the workforce more rapidly. The internship requirement may be fulfilled with any study abroad experience (short-term or semester or year).
All majors are encouraged to take advantage of our extensive study abroad options. A semester-long experience in any foreign country teaches students about the target country, about the US, and about themselves. In most cases, students can take courses toward the major (and the General Education requirements) while overseas. Some study abroad options do not require foreign language experience. We also strongly support the study of a foreign language. Developing a foreign language skill requires hard work and dedication, but the benefits include a better understanding of global culture, a way of distinguishing a graduate from the competition, and the further honing of critical thinking skills.
The student will:
- identify and explain the underlying principles, actors, institutions, and processes of the U.S. political system.
- identify and explain the underlying principles, actors, institutions, and processes of Western and non-western political systems.
- identify and explain the theories, actors, problems, and issues that affect international relations among countries within a global system.
- contrast and apply different ideological and philosophical perspectives on politics.
- relate current events to political science.
- demonstrate basic geographic knowledge of the world.
- investigate political phenomena using social science methods.
- demonstrate effective communication skills (written and oral).
- use technology to find appropriate sources of information related to politics.
- summarize key concepts and arguments from text.
- construct analytical arguments supported with evidence.
- critically evaluate various perspectives in political science.
- demonstrate an ongoing interest in government and public affairs.
- recognize the complexities and ambiguities of a global and diverse society.