Undergraduate Catalog 2012 - 2013


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Department of Political Science

Professors: M. Chadda, W. Davis, C. Kelly, J. Mason, M. Principe, S. Shalom, C. Sheffield,

Associate Professor: A. Lewis (chair), A. Tesfaye, M. Thompson

Assistant Professors: R. Huizar, F. Lauby, R. Rebe

The political science program is designed to provide students with the conceptual, theoretical, and research tools that will enable them to understand, participate in, and change the institutions and practices through which people make the decisions that affect their lives - at the local, national or international level.  The political science department offers two majors, one in political science and one in legal studies.

The political science major provides grounding in both domestic and international affairs, offering students the opportunity to take additional courses in U.S. politics, political theory, law, international studies, political behavior, diversity studies, public policy and administration, and political economy. It is a liberal arts major that offers valuable preparation for graduate school or law school and for a wide variety of careers, including electoral politics, education, business, law, journalism, government service, and work in the not-for-profit sector.

The legal studies major is an interdisciplinary program that enables students to enhance their knowledge and appreciation of the role of law in contemporary life, while at the same time improving their analytical abilities through a process of data evaluation, problem solving, and debate. It prepares students for law school or graduate school, as well as for jobs in court administration, law office management, human resources management, dispute resolution, business, local, state, or federal government, and nonprofit and non-governmental organizations.

Political science majors take 18 credits in required core courses, including a capstone seminar, and an additional 18 credits in political science electives to meet particular personal and career interests. An internship program affords interested juniors and seniors the opportunity to apply and enhance their training, sometimes leading to temporary or permanent employment. Internships are available with elected officials, in the judicial system, on political campaigns, and with a variety of civic, policy, or business organizations.

Legal studies majors take 18 credits in required core courses (5 courses in political science, including a capstone seminar, and 1 course in philosophy); 9 credits in distribution requirements from political science in theory, international legal process, and contemporary legal issues; and 9 credits in electives from other departments.

Honor Society

Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Honor Society in Political Science, is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and an affiliate of the American Political Science Association. Its purpose is to stimulate scholarship and intellectual interest in political science. The Society functions both at the national level, sponsoring programs, scholarship opportunities and events of value to the profession and the teaching of political science, and at the chapter level in honoring all those students who have demonstrated excellence in political science scholarship. Eligibility requirements are provided on the department website.

Special Programs

The political science department offers the following special programs:


The pre-law program, housed in the department, is open to students from any major across the university. The program consists of the following components:

  • Extensive one-on-one mentoring by our pre-law director.
  • Two out of three of the following law-related courses offered by the political science department: POL 2260, The American Judicial System; POL 3240, Constitutional Law: The Judicial Process; and POL 3250 Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. (Additional law-related courses are available to those who are interested.)
  • A series of workshops on applying for, getting in, and succeeding in law school given by guest speakers, including law school deans and current law school students.

Washington, D.C., Internship

Semester-long or summer internships in Washington, D.C., are available to juniors or seniors through the Washington Internship Institute. Students wishing to participate must have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Students can receive up to fifteen political science credits for participating. Students are placed in any one of a variety of Washington-based interest groups, executive branch agencies, Congressional offices, or foreign embassies and participate in two academic seminars with other students in the program. Students live together in housing provided by the internship program and enjoy the cultural and other benefits of Washington on weekends.

Cambridge Summer Program in Comparative Politics and Law

The department offers a six-credit program in comparative politics and law during the month of July at St. Edmund's College, Cambridge University. Students share quarters and eat meals with undergraduates and graduate students from around the world. They have access to some of the world-class Cambridge libraries for their research and the opportunity to hear guest lectures by Cambridge University professors. Field trips are planned to places relevant to the subjects being studied, as well as to cultural and historic sites.

Model United Nations

Model United Nations is a simulation where students represent different countries or individuals debating challenging international issues with students from universities from across the country. Under the guidance of political science faculty, students of any major prepare for and participate in at least two Model U.N. competitions each year.