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Learning Goals for Undergraduates - Political Science

Political Science is a diverse discipline that includes four generally recognized sub-fields: American Politics, Political Theory, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. Two majors are offered by the Department of Political Science: the political science major and the international affairs-political science major. The latter major allows close ties with the other participating departments in the International Affairs Program: Modern Languages and Classics, History, Anthropology, and Economics. Additionally, the Department, particularly through the joint appointment of one of its faculty, has close ties with the Canadian-American Center.

Students who receive their degree in either Political Science or International Affairs-Political Science should master a number of broad categories of knowledge and technical skills.

Learning Objectives

Disciplinary knowledge:

Students should have a general understanding of the principal theories that have shaped the discipline. They should be cognizant of the current state of the disciplinary debate on these theories, and they should be aware of countervailing viewpoints. Students should be aware of the policy and ethical consequences of various theoretical perspectives.

Analytical skills/Critical thinking:

Students should be able to access a broad range of research material in their field, including both primary and secondary sources. Students should be able to read and critically evaluate literature central to their discipline. Students must demonstrate the ability to write, discuss, and defend a research project in their field based on these research materials.

Technical and applied skills:

Students should develop good written and verbal skills. They should be able to conduct research consistent with the practices of the discipline. They should be able to access and use web-based information. They should have familiarity with the disciplinary concepts and vocabulary employed by political scientists.


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