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Political Science

Political Science

The Department of Political Science offers courses for students interested in understanding government and politics at the international, national, state, and local level.

The mission of the department is to provide students with both a substantive knowledge of politics and the skills necessary to make use of that knowledge effectively, not only as private citizens participating in a democracy, but also in a wide range of careers. The department has implemented a program of assessment to measure achievement of these objectives. Students in the department are exposed to both the theory and practice of politics. The department’s faculty covers a broad range of substantive specializations, encompassing American politics, comparative politics, constitutional law, international relations, and political theory. Courses in the department also strive to instill in students a number of important skills, including critical thinking, analysis, writing, and the practical application of ideas to real world situations. The combination of substantive knowledge and practical skills instilled by courses in the department provide a solid background to help our students to excel as leaders in a variety of fields, including politics, government service, law, teaching, and business.

Knowledge Goals – students majoring in political science will be exposed to a wide range of substantive information about the world of politics, covering subjects such as:

  • The history, characteristics, and impact of political institutions and systems, including international, national, state, and local governments
  • The behavior of individual actors at both the mass and elite levels
  • The processes involved in creating government policy and the impact of those policies
  • The debates over the normative foundations of the state, the scope of its activities, and the nature of justice

Skill Goals – students majoring in political science will develop practical and marketable skills which will help them to apply that knowledge to any number of career paths. These skills include:

  • Critical thinking – the ability to read and evaluate primary texts, ideas, theories, and political analysis
  • Analysis/Research – the ability to pose and answer questions effectively
  • Argumentation/Persuasion – the ability to use logic and evidence to build a persuasive argument
  • Written and Verbal Communication – the ability to communicate ideas clearly on paper or through oral presentations
  • Working in Groups – the ability to effectively coordinate with others on a project
  • Practical Applications – the ability to take information gained through coursework and use it effectively in real world or simulated exercises
Updated 3.9.2009