2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Apr 20, 2024  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Political Science

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Department Chair:  Associate Professor Michele Moser Deegan
Professors:  Borick, Gambino, Hashim, Herrick, Slane
Associate Professors:  Mathews-Schultz, Mello

Political Science is a discipline that aims to understand, analyze, and evaluate governmental institutions, public policy, political ideas, and collective action within societies and among nations.  By introducing students to the tools of the discipline - its theories, concepts, and research methods - the study of political science enables them to explore the power relationships, social-economic conditions, and ideological commitments that shape political action and public argument in a diverse and globally interdependent society.  The Political Science Department takes seriously the mission at the heart of liberal arts education: cultivating thoughtful, articulate, active, and responsible citizens.  In doing so the department offers courses and research experiences emphasizing the development of writing skills, critical thinking, and active and intelligent engagement with issues affecting contemporary public life.  Political Science students develop an array of skills and experiences that lead to careers in federal, state, and local government; international organizations; law; nonprofit organizations and associations; campaign management and polling; journalism; teaching; and graduate study.

Students interested in politics and government may also consider several interdisciplinary majors with a substantial political science component.  These majors are International Studies, A.B. , Philosophy/Political Thought, A.B. , and Political Economy and Public Policy, A.B.   The department strongly encourages its students to participate in a study abroad experience, a semester in Washington, D.C. or local internship.

Special Programs

Honors Program

Exceptional students in Political Science are invited to propose a research project for honors consideration during their senior year.  Proposals must be submitted by the end of the fall semester.  Applicants will work closely with a faculty member in developing and completing an honors thesis using empirical or theoretical research methods.  To be eligible for honors, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. A 3.75 GPA in political science courses and an overall 3.50 GPA at the end of their junior year.
  2. In consultation with a faculty advisor, candidates will select at least 2 additional faculty committee members to serve as additional advisors.  The candidate is expected to have his/her proposal approved by his/her committee no later than the end of the Fall semester prior to thesis completion.  More information about this process is available from department faculty.
  3. Honors candidates will enroll in an Independent Study (PSC 970) in either semester of their senior year.  Under the direction of a faculty advisor, the applicant will develop a senior thesis using empirical and/or theoretical research methods.
  4. The student will present and successfully defend his or her thesis in a public forum before political science faculty and students.  After the thesis defense, department faculty will determine the award of honors.
  5. In the event that the candidate does not receive honors, a grade will be received for the Independent Study.

Semester in Washington, D.C.

Since 1986 Muhlenberg College has participated in a Washington semester program: The Lutheran College Washington Semester.  The program is sponsored by the thirteen colleges in the Lutheran College Washington Consortium and is open to all majors and minors. See  Semester in Washington, D.C.  




      Political Science Required

      Courses in political science are numbered as follows:

        100 - 199 Introductory courses open to all students; required for the major.
        200 - 299 Intermediate courses normally open to students beyond the first semester of college.
        300 - 399 Advanced courses with previous course work in political science normally required; usually require a significant research project.
        400 - 499 Seminars with intensive reading; recommended for juniors and seniors with substantial work completed toward the major; strongly encouraged for those seeking honors in political science.
      American Government and Political Processes

      Courses in the American government and political process subfield focus on the institutions, actors, inputs, and outcomes of the American political process and the role of citizenship within the broader society.

      Comparative Politics

      Comparative Politics is the comparative study of political phenomena, including political institutions, behavior, and ideas in countries other than the United States.  The sub-discipline studies the domestic politics of foreign nations with a focus on how power is organized and exercised.

      International Politics and Foreign Policy

      International Politics in the study of the interaction among nations, international organizations, and an increasing range of non-state or nongovernmental actors, such as multinational corporations, terrorist organizations, etc.  International relations also seeks to explain the processes by which this wide range of actors attempt to address the increasingly broad range of security, development, and environmental issues facing the world.

      Political Theory

      Political theory involves the critical examination of the ideological and philosophical underpinnings of political communities, the analysis and evaluation of ideas that animate contemporary political arguments, and the interpretation of classic texts in the history of political theory.


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