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Political Science & Legal Studies

Political Science

In antiquity, the Greeks referred to the study of politics as a "kingly art" because it was concerned with the ways of good government.  While the study of political institutions remains a central focus of political science, the scope of the discipline has broadened substantially as more people are affected by centralized political authorities that wield increased power in a global economy.  Political Science includes the study of values, ideologies, and legal norms; the mechanisms people use to enter the political process; whether with guns or ballots; and the consequences of a global economy which enriches some while impoverishing many.

The Department of Political Science and Legal Studies offers courses in three areas: American Government, Politics, and Policy; International and Comparative Politics; Legal Studies, Criminal Law, and Political Thought.  Students acquire an understanding of the historical backgrounds and philosophical foundations of a variety of political systems in the contemporary world.  They develop an ability to analyze events, issues, and global trends.  In addition, they are afforded an opportunity to gain practical experiences through both individualized field research and internships in the government, not for profit, or private sector.

Because of its comprehensive nature, Political Science offers a solid undergraduate major for careers in law, public administration, business, journalism and teaching.

Legal Studies

The Legal Studies Program is designed to give students an overview of the American legal system, to help them understand the fundamentals of public and private law, and to acquaint them with the historical and philosophical roots of contemporary American law.

Students in this program learn to read challenging legal material, including cases and statutes, as well as works of legal history and philosophy.  They also learn how to write briefs, analyze complex legal arguments, and write effective essays in legal studies.  The courses have in-class oral arguments and mock trials in which students have a chance to simulate the roles of judges, witnesses, and attorneys in the daily practice of law.

Students majoring in Political Science may select Legal Studies as a concentration.  They must complete the eight courses listed below for the concentration, in addition to the five required Political Science courses and Senior Evaluation--for a total of fourteen courses.  The program is open, as a minor, to students majoring in other departments.  They must complete the same eight courses required for the concentration.