About the Political Science Program
Political science is the academic discipline dedicated to the study of power, politics, and government. Political science has four well-defined subfields: political theory, international relations, comparative politics, and American politics. Courses focus on topics and pressing problems, among them war, strategy, law, legislation, local politics, public life, voting, values, deliberation, propaganda, public opinion, authority, community power, urban dynamics, poverty, human rights, social capital, race, gender, ideology, class, bureaucracy, central banks, executive power, foreign policy, trade flows, international organizations, revolutions, and failed states in all parts of the world.
Students in these courses learn to critically analyze not only the behavior of political actors but also their respective political institutions and political systems.
The main objectives are to enable students to use strong analytical skills and critical thinking in their analysis of theories, institutions, and processes in political science. Political science is an exciting discipline because debates rage over the appropriate ways to study political phenomena and, indeed, what makes them "political" in the first place.
A student has any number of reasons to study political science. Political science provides a broad liberal arts education while focusing on politics and public life and develops important skills in critical thinking and analysis. These abilities make students of political science ideal candidates for careers in law, in state, national and international government, business, journalism, and politics. Many undergraduates translate their majors into further education in graduate school in political science or related humanities and social science disciplines. Finally, political science is about and contributes to civic education by offering student-citizens the means to better understand and engage in politics and public life. Student government, fraternities, sororities, and other organizations are frequently led or energized by political science majors.
Program Level Outcomes
Upon completion of the program, students will:
Exhibit strong academic behaviors, evidenced by their timeliness, regular attendance, participation in class activities, adherence to the College Honor Code, and awareness of their opportunities and obligations as students.
Demonstrate through oral and/or written work knowledge of basic political processes, institutions, theories, concepts, events, and facts, as well as familiarity with various approaches to the study of politics, and their application to specific questions, challenges, and debates.
Demonstrate the ability to evaluate evidence and make compelling arguments about political processes, institutions, theories, and concepts as these operate in different historical, national, cross-national, and cultural contexts.
Demonstrate a level of engagement in political science coursework that enables and motivates the integration of acquired knowledge and skills beyond the classroom.
Special Departmental Programs