Political Science

 No area of human activity has greater potential and power for directly shaping the lives and fortunes of individuals and societies than does politics. More and more career opportunities have developed in government from the local to the international level and in related areas in the private sector.

The department offers a number of programs and concentrations of study in the major: American Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Political Theory and Methodology.

These prepare the student for graduate study, teaching, or careers in government from the local to the international level, as well as in the allied fields and professions of law, paralegal services, journalism, and business.

The major at Saint Mary's is intended to introduce you to the major techniques of the field, and to provide a background in the broad flow of concepts and developments of both Western and non-Western political theories. The process of political change as it affects modern society is also examined to determine its impact on the practices, processes, and current problems of national and international societies.

"Part of the reason why I feel like I [grew[ so much in my years at Saint Mary's College has to do with the questions I was challenged to ask myself, and the answers I was compelled to seek out beyond the classroom environment. Studying political science has heightened my awareness of what it means to be a student of life—continually cultivating my call to stewardship, while allowing me to see just how closely intertwined each discipline of a liberal arts education truly is."—Audrey Anweiler '09

Teacher Preparation
The Political Science department, in conjunction with the Education department, offers courses leading to state licensing for history/social studies.

Writing in the Major
Political science majors satisfy their advanced writing requirement by submitting a satisfactory portfolio of papers written in political science courses.

Senior Comprehensive Examination
The senior comprehensive consists of a major research paper which may be completed on campus or on the Washington Semester Program. Washington Semester theses must be reviewed and approved by department faculty.

Hands-on Learning
The department believes that the study of political and governmental life must be both conceptual and experiential. In classes you’re taught political concepts and a wide variety of theories to enable you to analyze political behavior. Yet, the department recognizes that in turn, you must also learn about politics by contact with the political world. Through fieldwork requirements, the Washington Semester program, internships, offerings in the Rome and other off-campus programs, and its program of speakers, you will be encouraged to directly explore the political universe and to apply concepts and theories to various aspects of that universe.

WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM
The department participates in a program designed to let students spend a semester in Washington studying the operations of the national government. The program, a cooperative arrangement between over 100 colleges and the American University, features seminars, an internship, and a supervised research project. Acceptance in the program is restricted to political science majors with at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Completion of POSC 152, 217, and for foreign policy study, 206, are prerequisites for candidacy. Selection is based on the quality of the student’s work in the department and the soundness of the proposed research project. The department makes the final determination concerning acceptance into the program. Completion of the program fulfills two of the elective courses in the major, and the research project can fulfill the senior thesis requirement.

ROME PROGRAM
The department participates in the educational programs of Saint Mary’s Rome campus by offering a course in political science taught in Rome. The course entitled Contemporary Italian Problems (POSC 203 RM) serves as elective credit in political science.

FOREIGN STUDY
Students may elect to attend other foreign study programs with institutional approval. The department reserves the right to approve foreign courses that students wish to apply to major or minor requirements, up to a maximum of six hours.

Careers
The Political Science Department offers a number of programs and concentrations of study in the major: American Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Public Law. These prepare you for graduate study, teaching, or careers in government from the local to the international level, as well as in the allied fields and professions of law, paralegal services, journalism, and business.