Political science, broadly defined, is the study of political power and the ends to which that power is used. It is "scientific" in the sense that there is a systematic body of knowledge about political behavior which can be studied empirically, normatively, and experientially. It is "political" in the sense that it concentrates on the institutions and processes of political systems that exercise power in an authoritative way. But in a broader sense, political science also studies the larger issues of justice and the ways in which the use of political power advances or retards the achievement of justice.
Political science prepares students for possible careers in public administration; federal, state, and local elected office; public policy analysis; lobbying, journalism, political consulting, law, and graduate work leading to teaching, research, or administration at the university level.
The Political Science program learning objectives are:
1) Data Collection: the ability to find and collect the appropriate data that allows for the analysis of political issues.
2) Quantitative Analysis Skills: the ability to use statistical and mathematical tools in interpreting and analyzing political indicators and trends.
3) Problem Solving Skills: the ability to identify, formulate, and propose solutions to political problems.
4) Critical Thinking and Evaluation Skills: the ability to analyze and evaluate political science proposals, their effect on the political situation and their effectiveness.
5) Citizenship Skills: the ability to act effectively and responsibly in the public sphere through the application of academic knowledge to public problems, in concert with others.
6) Theoretical Analysis Skills: critical theoretical analysis of principles, problems, and solutions to the problems of politics and morality and of the historical and contemporary debates over those issues.
7) Reading Comprehension Skills (Special Field): significant grasp of aspects of the classic literature of political theory.
8) Understanding Government Institutions: knowledge of the functioning of key government institutions (executive, legislative, judicial) as they operate in the U.S. and other countries.
9) Understanding Political Organizations: knowledge of the functioning of key political organizations working outside of government, such as political parties, interest groups, and community activist groups.
For additional information on studying Political Science, contact:
Ronald Stockton, Ph.D.
Political Science Discipline Representative
2070 SSB, 593-5384