Government & Politics Major in Political Science

Political science is a boundless discipline. Time or space do not limit political science. It draws upon historical experience to better understand the present. It examines how current political, social, economic, technological, and ecological trends could impact the future of humanity on this planet. Political science deals with politics of every culture on every continent, as well as with issues that range from the ocean's floor to outer space. It synthesizes the knowledge of many other disciplines – religion, philosophy, military science, nuclear science, ecology, economics, anthropology, literature, foreign languages, organizational studies, psychology and others – in its quest to understand and explain the many forms and levels of politics.

But political science also is focused. Its central organizing concept is power – who gets it, how, according to what values is it exercised, and whose good does it serve – are just some of its eternal questions. For whether one lives in a society where political inheritance is that of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln – or in a society where power is exercised by a Stalin, Hitler, or Saddam Hussein – can have profound consequences for the extent to which we can realize our human potential or even aspire to human dignity.

The study of political science is current as today, as modern as tomorrow, and as ancient as the origins of the Western tradition that gave birth to the concepts of modernity, democracy, human rights and the individual. It is no accident that the contemporary English word governor is derived from the ancient Greek word, kybernite – steersman or helmsman. For the questions of how to realize the good life in a good society are no less pertinent today than two millennia ago.

The major is designed to awaken in students an appreciation and an understanding of politics and government in the broadest and deepest sense.  It requires the completion of 36 credits, of which 27 must be earned through formal classroom instruction. The remainder can be earned through formal coursework or Political Science internships. 

Courses are offered in four major areas: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. 

Here's a great resource for students considering political science as a major.


Suggested Four-Year Sequence of Study

Year 1, Fall

  • PO 121 Introduction to American Government
  • HICC 101 The Human Journey: Historical Paths to Civilization
  • EN 110 Academic Writing
  • IL 101 Information Literacy (1 credit)
  • Electives from B1 - B4 areas

Year 1, Spring

  • PO 122 Introduction to International Relations
  • ENCC 102 Literary Expressions of the Human Journey
  • CA 101 Effective Communication
  • MA 101 Modern College Mathematics I
  • Elective from B1 - B4 areas

YEAR 2, Fall

  • PO 200 Approaches to Political Science
  • CC103A The Human Community: The Individual and Society
  • PO Political Science Electives
  • Elective from B1 - B4 areas
  • BA/BS Requirement

YEAR 2, Spring

  • PO Political Science Electives
  • RS/PHCC 104 The Human Search for Truth, Justice, and the Common Good
  • Elective from B1 - B4 areas
  • BA/BS Requirement

YEAR 3, Fall

  • PO 300 Foundations of Political Thought
  • PO Political Science Electives
  • Elective from B1 - B4 areas
  • Free Elective

YEAR 3, Spring

  • PO Political Science Electives
  • Elective from B1 - B4 areas
  • Free Electives

YEAR 4, Fall

  • PO 395 Senior Seminar in Political Science
  • Elective from B1 - B4 areas
  • Free Electives

YEAR 4, Spring

  • PO Political Science Elective
  • Free Electives

Required Courses

  • PO 121 Introduction to American Government
  • PO 122 Introduction to International Relations
  • PO 200 Approaches to Political Science
  • PO 300 Foundations of Political Thought
  • PO 395 Senior Seminar

Students are also required to take at least one course in comparative politics (PO 309-310, 314-318). The remaining 18 credits can be taken as electives.

Students looking to minor in political science need the following 18 credits: PO 121, PO 122, one theory course, one comparative course, and two electives.

 



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