The Political Science Department emphasizes small classroom learning situations. Aside from the introductory courses, and occasional special offerings, classes typically will have no more than 25 students. In all of our courses, students come to know different members of the faculty personally and become familiar with different approaches to the study of politics.
Throughout our curriculum we promote active learning where students are expected to engage in the intellectual enterprise of discussing ideas with their peers and professors.
To further facilitate classroom engagement several faculty utilize intricate simulations of the United Nations, U.S. Congress, and presidential elections.
In choosing a course of study, students select among a wide variety of classes focusing on U.S. politics, international affairs, comparative politics, and political philosophy. All courses emphasize the development of analytic thinking and writing skills; and at all levels students are expected to think critically about course material.
Political science majors must complete 12 courses, including at least two introductory-level courses, research-intensive courses, and the Senior Project.
Pi Sigma Alpha
Founded in 1920, Pi Sigma Alpha is the national political science honor society. Our local chapter, Zeta Upsilon, was instituted in 1974 by the late Professor Charley Tidmarch. Since then, uninterruptedly, the honor society has been offering opportunities for leadership and service on our campus.
Pizza and Politics
Pizza and Politics is the Department of Political Science's lunchtime occasional speaker series. Three or four times per trimester, during the common lunch hour, pizza is served while faculty and students from the department and across campus gather to hear presentations on political topics of interest. Sometimes speakers come from outside of the Union community; other times, students and/or faculty members present. Lively discussion always follows the presentation.
Each year, the Charles M. Tidmarch Prize is awarded to the student who has written the best senior thesis in Political Science.
Oswald Heck (1924) and Irwin Steingut Prize
The Oswald Heck (1924) and Irwin Steingut Prize is awarded to the student who has consistently done the best work in political science.
Mildred Wilder Prize
The Mildred Wilder Prize is awarded to the senior majoring in political science who has written the best piece of scholarly work on women and politics.