Jul 19, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science, B.A.

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The political science program aims to help students learn about: 1) the processes of governance, politics and power; 2) the methods and philosophy of social science; 3) an understanding and respect for diverse perspectives about political and cultural issues; and 4) a capacity to critically assess and think about issues and ideas involving politics and society. In the process we aim to produce citizen scholars, who are both motivated to act and respectful of other people and opinions.

Major Requirements (40 Total Credits)

Required Courses:

*or, if POS 440  is not offered in a senior year, an upper level course with a capstone research component can fulfill this requirement.

International Relations Course

One International Relations course from:

Political Science

  • Elective Credits in Political Science Credits: 20

World Language Requirement

For specific information about world language requirements and expectations, see the General Education Requirements  in the Academic Programs section of this catalog.

General Education Requirements

For specific information about general education requirements and expectations, see the General Education Requirements  in the Academic Programs section of this catalog.

Minimum Total Credits for The Degree: 128

Learning Goals and Assessment

Learning Goals:

  • Students will understand how governments function, with the capacity to compare governments in terms of institutions, processes, and outcomes.
  • Students will understand that politics is not always from formal governmental structures, and be able to explore the importance of civil society, political culture, ideology, religion, and other aspects of social life which impact power relations.
  • Students will understand and appreciate diverse perspectives, listening to and engaging a wide variety of ideas and methods with respect and critical reflection.
  • Students will develop the capacity to craft effective research papers, using research sources well, integrating social science methods, and use English in an effective manner.
  • Students will have an understanding of the changing nature of world politics due to globalization, including but not limited to the impact of economics, history, religion and geography.
  • Students will understand the nature of governance and politics in their own country, ranging from the political process to institutional functions and the philosophical and legal underpinnings of the United States system of government.

Assessment Criteria:

In order to assess whether or not we achieve the goals stated above, we have defined eight outcomes of objectively observable results. Students will be evaluated on these outcomes based on written work, public presentations, group work and presentations, class discussion, activity outside class in student clubs or community service, and by examination.

  • Students will demonstrate a broad multidisciplinary knowledge base, integrating an understanding of political science with historical context, the importance of geography, social theory, and connection with culture and the arts.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of philosophy of science issues, as they relate to social scientific inquiry. These include various approaches to social science (positivism, interpretivism, hermeneutics, and critical theory).
  • Students will understanding basic social science methods, both quantitative and qualitative, and a) be able to identify them and critique them in reading social scientific work; and b) use these methods in their own research by their junior year.
  • Students will be aware of ethical concerns surrounding, political and social issues, and reflect this awareness in their writing and research.
  • Students will demonstrate a solid knowledge base in political science. This includes basic knowledge in all the main subfields (covered in the required introductory courses), as well as specialized knowledge about content and methods in their concentration.
  • Students will be able to integrate political science with other social science disciplines in thought papers and critical analyses.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of different cultures and subcultures, as well as methods of analyzing and understanding these differences.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of how political considerations are influenced by culture, society, history, location, personality and the economy as they develop strong analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills.

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