Political Science (PO)

Professor: M. E. Farrar; Associate Professors: A. Sobisch, P. A. Mason, E. A. Stiles, M. J. Peden (Chair), J. J. Ziemke, C.D. Swearigen; Assistant Professors: D. R. Hahn

Firmly rooted in the tradition of the liberal arts and sciences, political science focuses its study on the political aspects of the social world. The Department of Political Science offers courses on political institutions, law, public policy, the political economy of development, global studies, and political theory. The goals of the department are: (1) to promote student learning about politics and political science; (2) to improve basic intellectual skills—analytical reasoning, critical thinking, writing, oral communication, and problem solving; (3) to promote awareness, interest, concern, and involvement in community affairs at all levels; and (4) to provide a foundation for graduate studies (in political science and related fields) and careers, particularly in government, politics, education, political journalism, law, and the private sector (domestic and international).

The major requires seven core courses and six elective courses. The seven core courses are: United States Politics (PO 101), Comparative Politics (PO 102), International Relations (PO 103), Political Thought (PO 104), Introduction to Methods (PO 200), Political Science Research Methods (PO 300), and Political Science Research Methods Lab (PO 300L). Students are strongly encouraged to take PO 300 and the corequisite PO 300L by their junior year. Students must take PO 200 before taking PO 300. The six elective courses may be concentrated in one area to complete a concentration, or distributed across several areas. At least three hours of these electives must be at the 400 level, and only nine hours of electives for the major may be chosen from lower-division courses. PO 105 is an elective for the major and satisfies the QA requirement for the University Core.

Political science majors are also required to take the Major Field Achievement Test during the second semester of their senior year. The test is administered by the political science department. Before taking an upper-level course in a given area, the department recommends (and in certain courses it is required) that students first take the 100-level foundational course corresponding to that area of study. The department sponsors the Mu Upsilon chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. Membership is open to students whose academic record reflects outstanding achievement and demonstrated interest in the study of political science.

The complete degree requirements for the Political Science major, with a description of the different concentration options, can be found here. The degree requirements for the different minor options can be found here.