Political Science

Political Science examines the institutions that govern our societies and the policy decisions that affect every part of our lives. At RWU, you’ll sharpen your thinking, writing and debate skills in classes such as American politics, international relations, comparative politics, political theory and public administration. Combined with real-world internship experience -- locally and in Washington, D.C. -- you’ll be prepared for a career in law, business, public policy or education.

The Political Science Major

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The study of politics at RWU covers the institutions, processes and pre-dispositions by which human affairs are governed, both nationally and internationally. The program offers students a comprehensive and balanced selection of courses, exposing them to the traditional subfields of the discipline: American national politics, international relations, comparative politics, political theory, public administration, and public policy. Courses are designed to broaden student horizons and to improve student proficiency in critical analysis. Courses are also intended to provide a basis for intelligent citizenship, increase capacity for community service, and orient students toward a life-long interest in learning. Internships, independent study, and study abroad are encouraged. The study of politics at RWU develops skills that are useful for law school and legal careers, business careers, various international and public policy careers, as well as for careers in politics per se.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Majors pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in political science must satisfy University Core Curriculum requirements and the College speech requirement, COMM 210. In addition, majors must complete three political science foundation courses; nine advanced courses, with at least four each from the American National Politics/Political Theory category and the International Relations/Comparative Politics category; plus a two-course research sequence in political science; plus a sufficient number of general electives to total 120 credits. Majors are encouraged to apply electives toward a minor or second major.
The three courses listed below are required of all majors and are prerequisites for advanced courses in the relevant subfields.
POLSC100American Government and Politics 
POLSC110The United States in World Affairs 
POLSC120Comparative Politics 

Nine other political science courses are also required. At least four must be completed from each of the following two categories.

American National Politics

POLSC200The Constitution and American Politics 
POLSC202Congress and the Legislative Process 
POLSC203The American Presidency 
POLSC260Public Administration 
POLSC301Campaigns and Elections 
POLSC302Political Parties and Interest Groups 
POLSC303Politics and the Media 
POLSC304Public Opinion 
POLSC305Judicial Politics 
POLSC306Political Attitudes and Behavior 
POLSC307Gender in American Politics 
POLSC308Race and Ethnicity in American Politics 
POLSC309Film and Politics 
POLSC350Political Theory 
POLSC361State and Local Government 
POLSC362Urban Politics 
POLSC375Health Policy 
POLSC380Public Policy 
POLSC383Global Environmental Politics 
POLSC400Washington Internship 
POLSC401Washington Public Policy Seminar 
POLSC402Washington Independent Research Project 
POLSC430Special Topics (American National Politics or Political Theory topic) 
POLSC440Independent Research Project 

International Relations/Comparative Politics/Political Theory

POLSC210International Relations 
POLSC212Model United Nations 
POLSC215Strategy and National Security Policy 
POLSC221Comparative Politics in the Third World 
POLSC309Film and Politics 
POLSC321Politics and Ethnic Conflict 
POLSC325Modern European Politics 
POLSC326Post-Communist World 
POLSC327Politics of the Middle East 
POLSC328Politics of Latin America 
POLSC330Revolution and Social Change 
POLSC335International Negotiation 
POLSC340International Political Economy 
POLSC346Foreign Policies of Russia and China 
POLSC348Rogue States, Allies, and Regional Powers 
POLSC350Political Theory 
POLSC383Global Environmental Politics 
POLSC386International Law and Organization 
POLSC428Mexican Politics 
POLSC429Cultures in Contact: Mexico Today 
POLSC430Special Topics (International Relations or Comparative Politics topic) 
POLSC440Independent Research Project 

and

a two course research sequence – examining in depth a topic chosen by the student – completes the major:

POLSC240Research Methods in Political Science 
POLSC442Senior Research Seminar 

The Political Science Minor

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POLSC100American Government and Politics 

one of the following:

POLSC110The United States and World Affairs 
POLSC120Introduction to Comparative Politics 

and

Any four (4) upper-level courses provided that at least one of these is from the American National Politics category and one is from the International Relations/Comparative Politics category.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students should have a basic knowledge of the political institutions and processes of the government of the United States. Method of assessment: pre-test/post-test.
  2. Students should have a basic knowledge of political theory, political systems around the globe, or politics in the international arena. Method of assessment: pre-test/post-test.
  3. Students should have in depth knowledge of at least one of the following five subfields of the discipline: American Government and Public Administration, Comparative Politics, International Politics, Public and Constitutional Law and Political Theory. Method of assessment: content analysis of senior seminar paper.
  4. Students should be able to demonstrate critical thinking skills or formulate and defend a thesis in a written or oral format. Method of assessment: analysis of argument of senior seminar paper.
  5. Students should be able to utilize the proper methodologies necessary for writing a paper in the field of political science. Method of assessment: methodological assessment of senior seminar paper.
A headshot of Sarah Wood

Choosing Her Own Path

Sarah Wood, RWU Class of 2019 Political Science

One of the things Sarah Wood, an Honors Program member who was also recently named to the National Political Science Honor Society, enjoys most about RWU is the leeway and guidance the university provides to create her own path.

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