Political Science Department
The Political Science Department’s commitment to excellence in undergraduate teaching has yielded an enviable number of graduates successful in law, government, education, communications, and business. The major in Political Science is designed to provide a knowledge of the nature of politics and government on the local, state, national, and international levels and of the functions and theories of the state. The courses enable the student to develop an understanding of the political process and an ability to analyze political systems, relationships, and problems. The major affords excellent preparation for graduate education, law school, public administration, public service, social science teaching and, most importantly, intelligent citizenship.
The Department of Political Science provides a full complement of core courses, including introductions to research methods and to the discipline itself. The department offers practica, computer-modeling opportunities, and encourages participation in Model International Organization programs. It sponsors internships and individualized research opportunities for its students. Opportunities to spend a semester in Washington, D.C. under the auspices of the Washington Center Internship Program while earning 15 semester hours of academic credit are easily arranged. Also, arrangements may be made for credit through study-abroad programs.
The introductory courses for majors strengthen the freshmen experience and create common bonds among students. Core offerings on American Politics and Policy have been augmented by others on comparative politics of countries ranging from Eastern Europe to Russia and the former Soviet Union to Southeast Asia to Southern Africa.
The department also offers specialized courses related to gender and citizenship, political economy, race and ethnicity, and public policy of interest to students in a variety of majors across the university.
In addition to traditional courses in political thought, recent course offerings have included work in state theory, feminist political theory, current theoretical conflicts in constitutional interpretation, and the politics of arts and culture.
Many Political Science majors pursue careers in public affairs on the staffs of elected officials, government agencies, public interest groups, or corporate public affairs departments. Journalism, broadcasting, public relations and other communications-related professions have also been of interest to majors. The major also provides good training and skills for other business applications.
As part of the required Practicum, over the years, student majors have pursued internships involving all of these areas. The Department of Political Science currently helps administer a paid summer internship in a Congressional office and it receives and posts notices of many other significant internship opportunities in governmental and non-governmental settings.
Because many Political Science majors are interested in pursuing careers in the legal field, the Department offers several course opportunities in the legal-political area. In appropriate instances, this may include a practicum course that provides exposure to legal practice. Political Science majors may also elect the interdisciplinary legal studies minor; however, political science courses utilized for the minor may not also be credited to the major, and the number of political science courses taken for the major and minor together may not exceed 45 credits within the minimum 120 credits required for graduation.