Political Science

Paul Gardner (department head)

Political science is, in one sense, an ancient discipline. From the beginnings of human society, people have made observations about the nature of their government, the personalities of their leaders, and the consequences of governmental action. Plato, Aristotle, and a long line of great political thinkers have pondered the questions of politics and political institutions. On the other hand, political science as it is taught today is a very new discipline, which has been developed primarily in the United States in the past 100 years. During this period, scholars have attempted to move from mere observations about politics to scientific observations about politics. The goal has been to describe and explain political phenomena with greater accuracy. Political phenomena are studied at various levels—individual, group, local government, national government and international.

Required for a major:

Plan I. Thirty-two hours in the department, including POLS 130, 132; two courses in the POLS 300-370 range; POLS 485. Students will fulfill the writing and speaking requirements by completing POLS 485 and the research requirement by completing POLS 485 and a senior project. The senior project does not have to be completed in political science. Normally a maximum of four internship hours can be counted toward the major, with the exception of the internship completed through the Washington Consortium program. In that case, all six internship credits will apply toward the major. The major is flexible, but it requires frequent consultation with the major advisor.

Students considering graduate study in political science, public policy or public administration should consider taking at least one course in economics and a statistics course.

Plan II (teaching). Same as general major requirements, except that a minimum of 24 hours must be selected from American government topics. A minimum of 34 hours of political science is required in Wisconsin. See education department for secondary education minor requirements.

Required for a second teaching area: See Education department for specific requirements. The second teaching area license is offered only in the state of Iowa.