2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
    Apr 20, 2024  
2021-2022 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science, leading to a B.A. degree

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Major Requirements

All majors will complete at least 10 courses (including the core courses), at least one of which must be a writing intensive course.

In addition to the Core Classes, in close advising with department faculty, students will complete five advanced courses, at least two at the 300 level. Three of the five advanced courses must be completed in one thematic area; at least one course must be completed in two additional thematic areas. Courses cannot double count across thematic areas.

Additional Considerations for Majors

Introductory courses, including PSC 201 Political Ideologies , and PSC 301 Political Science Research Methods  should normally be completed by the end of the sophomore year.

Majors must maintain a 2.00 GPA in political science courses to remain in good standing in the program.

No more than two courses taken outside of the Muhlenberg Political Science Program will count toward the major.  Internships cannot count toward major requirements.

Special topics courses are frequently offered in the program.  Students should consult with major advisors and the department chair to determine how particular special topics courses fit into thematic areas.

PSC 490 CUE: Senior Capstone Seminar  is open to seniors only.  The CUE is normally offered once per year, during the Spring semester.

Thematic Areas

  • Policy Studies
  • States, Conflict, and Culture
  • Problems in Democracy
  • Institutions and Processes
  • (In)Equality, Justice, and Power
  • Citizenship and Political Engagement

Policy Studies

How do public policies (political objectives constituted by government actions, rules, and organizations) both create and reflect ideas, norms, culture and political objectives?  What role do interests groups, constituents, political elites, governmental and non-governmental systems play in policy formulation and implementation?  What are the consequences of public policy for individuals, societies, norms, culture, and governmental relations?

States, Conflict, and Culture

Why do states and nations struggle to develop?  How and why does development lead to, or prevent, conflict - or peace?  What causes conflict and how does political science evaluate war morally, strategically, theoretically?  What are the mechanisms for achieving peace?  How are constructions of identity linked to conflict and development?

Problems in Democracy

What is democracy?  What are its various interpretations?  If democracy is “rule by the people,” then who are the people and what does it mean to rule?  What kinds of political institutions and ideologies promote, hinder, or erode democracy and democratization?  How do economic and social structures and culture affect the health of democracy

Institutions and Processes

How do institutions and political processes create and interpret the rules of the game through which politics is played?  How and with what kinds of consequences do institutions shape and constrain individual behavior, political action, and public policy?  How do ideas and ideologies shape institutions and political processes and what are the consequences for individuals and for government systems?  What causes institutions to emerge?  How and why do they change, persist, and decay?

(In)Equality, Justice, and Power

Who gets what, when, where, and how?  How do social, economic, and political inequalities promote or hinder justice?  How do political scientists understand power and how does power constitute politics?  How do interpretations of equality and justice shape the struggle for power?  How are varied identities - such as race, gender, ethnic or national identity, class, economic position, religion, sexual identity - linked to questions about justice and power in national and international contexts?

Citizenship and Political Engagement

How do individuals, groups, and organized interests participate in the political world?  Political engagement shapes and is shaped by institutions, cultures, media, law, ideologies, and organizations.  What are the varied ways people participate - voting, protest, running for office, joining groups - across different contexts and why are some forms of engagement more effective than others?

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