The study of political forces, institutions, and policies
The mission of the Political Science Department is to provide a theoretical understanding of the nature and functions of government and politics, the characteristics of political systems and the processes and behaviors associated with governing, and the content and analysis of public policy. The political science curriculum provides background knowledge and analytical skills for involved citizens; it prepares students for teaching in the social sciences; and it establishes a foundation for professional careers in law, government, higher education and public service.
Strengths of the Program
The political science program offers a challenging curriculum that encourages students to develop skill in the critical reading of both current news coverage and the theoretical literature in the field, writing and persuasively presenting analysis of scholarly pieces and public policy. These skills are excellent preparation for a career in public service or journalism, and especially for law school or for graduate school.
Political Science majors are required to do an internship during their junior or senior year, but are encouraged to seek out real-world experiences even earlier in their academic career. Our students regularly work on political campaigns during election years, intern with mayors, Senators or Members of Congress, assist county attorneys or public defenders, and work with local, national, and international non-profits and other interest groups. Internships can be done locally during the school year or in Washington DC, Chicago, or other locales during J-term or over the summer.
Internships and other experiences not only provide students with insights on potential careers and some work experience; they also can offer valuable contacts in the field. Many of our graduates have secured their first job with the help of people they met through their internships.
In the Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship competition, four political science majors have won the scholarship and six other majors have been finalists. Four political science majors have been finalists, and one has been the winner, of HC’s Creigh-Weyer Scholarship competition over its first three years.
Political science majors who have graduated in the last five years have gone on to enroll in PhD programs at Indiana University and Louisiana State University; in Masters programs at Western Michigan University, Illinois State University, University of Nebraska–Omaha, Queen's University (Belfast, Northern Ireland), and Indiana University; and in law school at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Creighton University, Hamline University, Lewis and Clark Law School, The Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and Texas Tech University. Others found jobs after graduation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Rifle Association.