The Political Science Program is housed within the Department of History and Politics. Both a major and minor in Political Science are offered. Political science examines the origins, uses, justification, and distribution of power in society, as well as the relationship between power and other social “goods” such as wealth, rights, and liberties. Political science can be both descriptive and normative. When descriptive, it investigates how power, wealth and rights actually are distributed. When normative, political science explores how they ought to be distributed. Politics, in short, is about how societies are governed, how competing ideas about what is best for society are articulated and resolved, and how decisions in one part of the world affect other parts of the world. As part of a liberal arts education, the study of politics helps students develop critical thinking, research, analytical and communicative skills. It enables them to understand ideas and practices of citizenship, social justice, and human values. Political science prepares students for graduate studies as well as for a wide range of careers, including those in teaching, law, government, public service, public policy and administration, foreign and military service, business, international organizations, NGOs and the nonprofit sector, interest-group advocacy, and journalism.
Students completing a minor in political science should be able to:
- Demonstrate specialized knowledge of political science, both across the discipline and in each of the four subfields.
- Critically evaluate public policy issues, political power, and law through both disciplinary theoretical analysis and empirical research.
- Critically evaluate political and public policy issues in terms of their bearing on foundational values such as human dignity, human rights, peace, and justice.
- Critically assess public policies from community-based perspectives.
- Actively participate in their civic communities (locally, nationally, and/or globally) to work on behalf of human values, justice, and the fuller realization of human potential.
Students must achieve the following program requirements for all courses listed under Program Requirements and Program Required Courses for the Political Science minor.
Minor Credits: 20
Minor Residency Credits: 12
Minimum GPA: 2.0
Minimum Grade: C
Program Required Courses
|HIS 3310||United States Foreign Relations||4|
|PHL 2223||Political Philosophy||4|
|POL/GCL 2001||Introduction to Political Science||4|
In addition, Political Science minors are strongly advised to study in the Washington, D.C., Semester Program at American University (contact the department chair for application information).