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What is Political Science?
Political science is, in one sense, an ancient discipline and, in another sense, one of the most recently developed social sciences. The origins of the study of politics reach back to the beginnings of human society, for men have always made observations about the nature of their government, the personalities of their leaders, and the consequences of their government's actions. Indeed, the Greeks argued that personal virtue required knowledge of and participation in the life of the polis.
It is also true, however, that political science as it is taught today is a very new discipline, one that has been developed primarily in the United States the past fifty years. During this period scholars have attempted to move from observations about politics to scientific observations about politics. This movement has been marked by a widespread effort to collect data about politics and governments utilizing relatively new techniques developed by all the social sciences. Its goal has been to describe and explain political phenomena with greater accuracy. In short, political science today is constantly seeking to make itself rigorous in its standards of scholarship, more demanding in its standards of proof, and less ethnocentric in its perspective of world politics.
Political Science Major and Minor
Grounded firmly in the liberal arts tradition, the political science program informs students about the place of politics in an ever-changing world. Student exposure to the purposes, organization, and operation of domestic and international political systems will translate into better informed citizens and consumers of political information.
As a Bachelor of Arts degree, the political science major requires students to take at least one year of a foreign language, along with 39-40 credit hours that include classes in statistics and macroeconomics, as well as core and elective political science courses. Majors interested in law school can elect an "emphasis" in legal education that will help prepare them for the LSAT and the rigors of law school. Students who want to minor in political science must take 21 credit hours in the discipline.
View the Political Science major Program Requirements, Program Guide, and Program Checksheet.
View the Pre-law emphasis Program Requirements and Program Guide.
View the Political Science minor Program Requirements and Program Guide.
Follow the menu items on the left for information about Political Science courses, faculty, students, and careers.
Pre-Law Advising Information (PDF)
Careers In Political Science
A bachelor's degree in political science can lead to exciting careers in federal, state and local governments; law; business; international organizations; nonprofit associations and organizations; campaign management and polling; journalism; precollegiate education; electoral politics; research and university and college teaching. Political science majors gain analytical skills, administrative competence and communication abilities that are valued in a wide spectrum of potential career areas.Examples of Careers for Political Scientists (The following are small sample of careers for political scientists):