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Dean: Peter A. Dorsey
Professors: Maureen Oakley, Michael J. Towle, Kristen Urban
Associate Professor: Amanda L. Beal (Chair)
The faculty members of the Department of Political Science believe that the study of politics is an essential part of an undergraduate liberal arts education and an important aspect of good citizenship. Pursuant to this end, the department is committed to providing students with a strong background in the study of politics. It offers a wide variety of courses that explore critical political issues at the local, national and international levels. Students are taught to identify important political issues and apply appropriate research skills to analyze them.
The programs of study offered by the Department of Political Science are ideal not only for students who are seeking a liberal arts education to prepare themselves for careers in the public sector or international affairs, but also for those who hope to continue their studies in graduate school or law school. In addition, the department is attentive to the career concerns of students who seek certification to teach social studies at the secondary level.
The department offers majors and minors in both political science and international studies. Additionally, the department administers the conflict, peace and social justice minor and participates in the interdisciplinary minors relating to Latin American studies, Non-Western studies, gender studies and legal studies.
Departmental majors are encouraged to pursue governmental and nongovernmental internships, which help students make connections between the theory and practice of politics, sharpen their communication and analytical skills, and begin the process of developing professional networks-all of which prepare them for professional careers. The department also encourages its students to participate in study-abroad programs and to make connections with the larger, globalized world of the 21st century.
Co-curricular opportunities provided by departmental faculty have included Mount participation in three political simulations: the Mid-Atlantic European Union Simulation, the National Model of the Model Arab League and the Maryland Student Legislature. These annual events gather students from many colleges to locations such as Washington and Annapolis, and require students to adopt formal roles, become acquainted with issues and agendas of specific countries or political parties, and join in the process of negotiating with other student role-players to achieve desired political outcomes. Students are also encouraged to be active in campus organizations such as the Political Science Club, International Affairs Organization, Amnesty International, College Republicans and College Democrats. The department supports a chapter of the political science honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha.
Political Science majors at Mount St. Mary’s University are expected to graduate with a basic understanding of the field of political science. To that end, the Department of Political Science has established the following five learning goals to measure student achievement, and a means to assess student success.
All students in the Political Science major are expected to:
- Complete a major research project in a subfield of political science, demonstrating a competent ability to pose and analyze an important question using philosophical, legal, qualitative or quantitative methods.
- Elucidate a proficient familiarity with the nature, evolution, theoretical framework, and purposes of features of the international political system, including state and non-state actors, international law, and international organizations.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the similarities and differences of political systems and cultures around the world.
- Make informed and reasoned arguments concerning issues pertaining to constitutional democracy in contemporary America, demonstrating familiar with the history, operations and salient features of American politics.
- Understand the evolution of Western political thought and ideologies, including emerging ideologies, and the impact of some key figures in the realm of political thought.
The Bachelor of Arts in international studies is an interdisciplinary program. The major is administratively housed in the Department of Political Science. A coordinator of the major is appointed by the provost, in consultation with the chair of the political science department. Participating departments include Business, Accounting and Economics; History; Foreign Languages; Political Science; Sociology; Theology; and Visual and Performing Arts.
Students in the International Studies major will be able to:
- Understand the basic functioning of state and non-state actors in the international political system, which includes a working knowledge of the international economic system, as well as theoretical paradigms grounding the disciplines comprising international affairs.
- Undertake critical analysis of events and issues in the field of international affairs, and demonstrate competency in such analysis through written and verbal discourse.
- Discuss socio-cultural differences in the world, demonstrating an awareness of the diversity of cultural and political expression and the interaction of cultures in the modern world.
- Develop and conduct original research in the field of international affairs that utilizes appropriate evaluative research methodology and draws upon disciplinary standards of excellence in scholarship and writing.
- Address critical ethical and moral challenges to the international system.
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