Political Science

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

The heart of modern Political Science is the systematic study and analysis of politics, government, and governance. It is widely considered to be both a core discipline in a classic liberal arts education as well as one of the most recently developed social sciences.  Aristotle famously called politics “the queen of the sciences” and the scientific understanding and methodical mapping of political power and  its exercise is a foundational focus.  Thus, Political Science examines and explores politics at the individual, group, local, state/provincial, national, and international levels. Political science studies the dynamics of politics and government in the United States and around the world. The discipline’s origins go back as far as the first large-scale human civilizations. From its earliest roots to its place in contemporary universities, Political Science has always examined questions about the nature of government, the nature of political change, and the patterns and tendencies that can be found in political life.  Historically, the general divisions of the discipline of Political Science have been most commonly conceptualized as focusing on four primary fields: Political Theory, American Politics and Government, International Relations, and Comparative Politics.  

In Stanislaus State’ Political Science Program, students are taught by and learn from experienced professors who are strongly committed to effective teaching and advising and who are also accomplished and published scholars. Some of our faculty focus on fundamental ideas about politics and governance, ranging from going back thousands of years to the ancients and up to and including contemporary political thought. Others on the faculty examine the conduct, operations, and institutions of politics  and government in the United States and other nations from around the world, as well as the intersections and interactions between nation-states, including foreign policy, economic trade relations, and war.

In addition to conventional Political Science course offerings, the Department also administers a carefully structured internship program allowing students to engage in direct experiential and hands-on learning for academic credit by working for government agencies, non-profit entities or political campaigns—such internship settings have been based locally, at the state capitol in Sacramento, and back in Washington DC.

Our graduates follow varied career paths, with a number going to law school and becoming practicing attorneys, serving in and affecting government, working for and running nonprofit organizations, and teaching in high schools and colleges.

 

Program and Learning Objectives

Program Objectives of the BA in Political Science: 

  • To expose students to diverse concepts and theories in the major fields of the discipline.
  • To encourage students to think critically and creatively about politics.
  • To provide appropriate pre-professional instruction to students who intend to enter graduate school, pursue a career in law or governmental affairs, or study for a teaching credential.

Learning Objectives of the BA in Political Science:

The undergraduate program in Political Science has five key objectives applicable to both Political Science majors and students in its General Education and service courses:

  • To ensure students have a sound and appropriately comprehensive knowledge of modern political institutions and dynamics
  • To ensure students have a sound and appropriately comprehensive knowledge of the history of political thought and its key concepts
  • To ensure students are able to successfully analyze complex issues and problems
  • To ensure students are able to successfully analyze complex texts and arguments
  • To ensure students are able to successfully formulate and evaluate policy options

Three additional objectives apply especially to students majoring in Political Science:

  • To ensure students have an appropriate working knowledge of the scope and methods of political science
  • To ensure students have a sound and appropriately comprehensive knowledge of global and comparative political institutions and dynamics
  • To ensure students have the ability to successfully design and conduct research in political science

Four of the program’s objectives have particular application to students in General Education and service courses offered by the department:

  • To ensure that students have a sound and appropriately comprehensive knowledge of US and California political institutions and dynamics
  • To ensure that students have a sound and appropriately comprehensive knowledge of multicultural political dynamics
  • To ensure that students have an appropriate working knowledge of civics pedagogy
  • To ensure students have the information-gathering, deliberative, and communicative skills necessary in the exercise of citizenship