Political Science Concentration Descriptions

Political Science Concentration Descriptions

All POSC concentrations prepare students for the jobs of the twenty-first century. Across concentrations, POSC hones students’ ability to think critically and to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. These are the key skills that employers value, and that have been shown to correspond with career success.

Your main consideration in choosing a concentration should be your interest and passion—what subjects captivate you the most? By choosing a concentration with this in mind, you ensure that you will have the most success and find the greatest stimulation in your major courses. Remember that employers see your GPA as an important indication of your potential in the workforce.

The particular focus and strengths of each concentration are as follows.

Political Theory

This concentration explores concepts such as democracy, liberty, economic class, revolution, race/ethnicity, and gender/sexuality. Students critically analyze how the structure of government, genealogy of language, and hegemony of established institutions shape relationships between powerful and marginalized groups. Students with a theory or philosophy background consistently have the highest scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) compared to other students, and they also tend to do better in law school. This is because political theory courses require careful reading of complex texts, analysis of the logic of alternative positions, and clear and persuasive written argumentation. Political theory also traditionally has been considered foundational to a career in politics. In addition, it is a point of departure for careers in humanitarian advocacy, non-profits, activism, think tanks, editorial work, and journalism.

Global Politics

This concentration combines international relations and comparative politics, examining the ideas, movements, and structures that shape the global community. Students examine the interactions among nations, as well as the politics of countries other than the U.S. The emphasis is on war, foreign policy, democratization, nationalism, and globalization. The global politics concentration is a point of departure for graduate or law school, and for careers in the federal government, international development, global non-profits, humanitarian advocacy groups, finance, business, law, federal government contractors of all kinds, military, education, clean energy and the environment.

Law, Politics, and Policy

This concentration examines the interaction of law, politics, and policy in the American context, with an emphasis on governmental institutions, political participation, and the policy making process. A key focus is the explanation of human behavior, group cooperation and conflict, and political outcomes. Students also master the basics of quantitative and qualitative research design and gain quantitative fluency. These abilities are critical in effectively answering dilemmas that arise in a wide array of jobs in the public and private sectors. In particular, this concentration is a point of departure for careers in government (city, county, state or national), political campaigns, law, policy analysis, and public opinion research.