Political Science

FACULTY Professors Aspin, Gill; Associate Professors Curtis, Dannehl (chair), Gobeyn; Assistant Professor Burmila, Ryan; Distinguished Adjunct Professor Michel.

The undergraduate major is designed to maximize students’ capacity to analyze and interpret the significance and dynamics of political events and governmental processes be they at the global level or at the local community level. Students build an excellent foundation for numerous careers by mastering the accumulated basic general knowledge of political science and developing the related analytical skills. Political science majors most frequently pursue careers in law, business, governmental service, private political organizations, journalism, and academic political science. Many students with yet other career aspirations major in political science so they can understand not only how government affects them, but also how they can affect government.

Major in Political Science

A major in political science consists of a minimum of ten political science courses and satisfaction of the department’s requirements for either the B.A. or B.S. degree.

Political Science Course Requirements

The political science requirements are: (1) A core of four courses to provide a grounding in the traditional sub-fields of the discipline: PLS 105, American politics; PLS 205, comparative politics; PLS 207, political theory; and PLS 208, international relations; (2) PLS 209, scope and methods of political science; (3) two upper-level (300-400) courses in each of two sub-fields to permit concentration and to acquire a depth of understanding; and (4) a senior seminar (PLS 491, 492, 493, or 494) designed to be a culminating experience. Sub-field course work is distributed as follows:

  • American politics: PLS 105, 202, 301, 310, 311, 360, 419, 420, 421, 422, 440, 459, 460, 494
  • Comparative politics: PLS 205, 304, 305, 306, 491
  • International relations: PLS 208, 302, 317, 318, 319, 492
  • Political theory: PLS 207, 300, 307, 308, 407, 493

Each student’s prospectus, which must be approved by his/her advisor, will outline the courses to be taken to satisfy the degree requirements. Individual interests and special capabilities of the student, as well as the scope of the discipline, are considered in preparing the prospectus. Courses initially proposed in the prospectus may be revised upon approval of the advisor. The Political Science Department maintains a policy of close supervision of its majors and urges them to consult regularly with their faculty advisor. In planning their academic program, students intending to major in political science are encouraged to complete the core courses (PLS 105, 205, 207, 208) as early as practicable. Students should complete PLS 209 prior to enrolling in a senior seminar.

Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements

Two years or its equivalent of college-level foreign language. (This means that a student must complete 202 or a 300-level language course. Whenever that has been completed, the requirement has been met.)

Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements

Students must complete the university requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree. When selecting courses to satisfy the B.S. requirements, students are strongly encouraged to select from mathematics, computer science, statistics, or quantitative methods.

Minor in Political Science

The minor is to provide students with a flexible, coherent, and guided study in the discipline of political science as it relates to their specific academic major or personal interests and needs. The minor requires a minimum of 15 hours in political science, at least 9 hours of which must be at the junior-senior level. The 9 hours of junior-senior-level courses cannot also be used to satisfy the requirements of any other major or minor. All minors must take PLS 105, PLS 209, and a senior seminar (PLS 491, 492, 493, or 494). In addition, the student must take 6 hours of junior-senior level courses representing a coherent program of study and meeting the approval of a political science faculty advisor. It is the role of the student’s faculty advisor to help work out a specific program coinciding with the student’s academic major, interests, and needs.

Some suggested programs of study:

  • Pre-Law: 105, 209, 360, 419, 459, 460, 494.
  • Public Management: 105, 209, 419, 420, 421, 422, 494.
  • Communications and Politics: 105, 209, 301, 310, 360, 419, 494.
  • Behavioral Politics: 105, 209, 301, 310, 311, 360, 422, 494.
  • International and Comparative Politics: 105, 209, 302, 304, 305, 317, 318, 319, 491 or 492.
  • Urban Politics: 105, 209, 419, 420, 421, 422, 494.
  • Political Philosophy: 105, 209, 307, 308, 407, 493.

Off-Campus Programs

Political science majors are urged to consider the many off-campus programs available. Bradley annually sends students to the various Washington Semester programs (through American University in Washington, D.C.). The University also participates in many programs of study abroad. Students are also urged to consider participating in either the department’s internship program or in the University’s Cooperative Education/Internship Program (see the Cooperative Education/Internship section of this catalog). Bradley students are eligible to do internships through the Washington Center for Internships. The Center seeks to utilize the resources of the nation’s capital to provide participatory learning experiences in order to enhance students’ academic, civic, and professional development. All of these programs provide students with practical experience while they are pursuing academic goals.

Pre-Law

A statement on pre-law curricula is given at the beginning of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section of this catalog. The college also offers pre-law courses.