Learning Goals

Core of Knowledge

  1. We regard an introduction to both American and global politics as the necessary foundation for understanding politics. Therefore, we require each major to take American Politics (POLS 130) and Global Politics (POLS 132). Although these are not prerequisites to upper level courses, we encourage students who intend to major in political science to begin with these courses.
  2. We want students majoring in political science to take courses that pursue a topic in depth and that rely on the empirical and analytical tools political scientists use. Therefore, we require each major to take two upper level courses.
  3. We want students to study a contemporary topic with a small group of other political science majors. Therefore, we require each student to take a seminar, and we limit the seminars to political science majors in their third or fourth year of college.
  4. We expect each student to study the facets of domestic and international politics that particularly interest the individual student. Therefore, we do not require students to satisfy content areas but encourage them to work with an advisor to design and carry out a cohesive major.

Methods by which students acquire, evaluate, and apply knowledge

1.  Students majoring in Political Science acquire and evaluate knowledge both in class and out of class:

  • They gain knowledge through course texts, lectures, small group discussions, group presentation (in class) and through library research projects, campus lectures, and assigned activities (out of class)
  • They learn about human dynamics and the political process by engaging in role playing and simulations (in class) and by doing internship, volunteering in political activities and other civic projects (out of class)
  • They learn to articulate and defend their beliefs by writing tests, engaging in discussions, and responding to Socratic questioning (in class), and by researching and writing papers and preparing for classroom presentations (out of class)

2.  Students majoring in political science:

  • Apply their knowledge in the following settings: the Senior Project and Junior/Senior Seminar, off-campus study (Washington Semester, January Term, and other study abroad), internships and off-campus volunteering, and interaction with practitioners visiting campus
  • Should be able to demonstrate the following skills: the ability to do political analysis, the ability to collect and evaluate political information, the ability to make empirically-based judgments about politics and government, and the ability to articulate and defend political beliefs, and an understanding of what it means to think about living a good life and being a good citizen

Awareness of ethical issues pertaining to the discipline

  1. We raise normative questions about the relationship between individual citizens and the public interest and political choices that impinge on both individuals and the community.
  2. We take seriously the role of educating both majors and non-majors about the requirements of citizenship in the United States and the politics and cultures of other nations, as well as the interaction of peoples and nations in an increasingly globalized world.