About the Program
The political science program is focused on the study of politics, governmental systems, and the making of public policy. The objectives of a major in Political Science include: providing a broad background for careers in public administration and other forms of governmental service; preparing students for graduate study in political science, journalism, international relations, and public administration; preparing students for enrollment in professional schools in law and business; and training for specialized careers in research and teaching.
In addition to the general B.A. degree in Political Science, the department offers the following concentrations: International Studies; Legal Studies; Public Administration; Security Studies; and Secondary Teacher Certification. The department also offers minors in Political Science, International Studies, and Nonprofit Management. Students who wish to continue their education beyond an undergraduate degree can apply to our professional Master in Public Administration (MPA) which is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).
All majors in Political Science must complete a minimum of 30 hours in upper division courses with a grade of C or better. All majors are required to take a standardized written exit exam before graduation. Majors must also submit a minimum of three (3) graded papers for their departmental portfolio.
The general B.A. degree offers broad training in the discipline’s traditional subfields for American government, comparative politics and international relations, political philosophy, and political methodology.
The major with a concentration in International Studies is designed to enable and encourage students to become more proficient in understanding global affairs. The curriculum combines a student’s choice of area studies: 21 hours in Political Science and 9 hours of a number of courses offered in the Departments of History; Sociology; English and Foreign Languages; Communications and Professional Writing; Psychology and the James M. Hull College of Business. The concentration in International Studies requires language proficiency and/or the study of statistics and/or computer science and mastery of the methodological and theoretical perspectives of the discipline. The education and training provided by this concentration will provide a background for a career in government, business, education, and communications or to pursue advanced degree(s) in Political Science, International Relations, International Law or International Business.
The major with a concentration in Legal Studies is designed to prepare students for careers in law-related fields. Students learn about legal actors, legal processes, and legal institutions through the perspectives and methods of Political Science. Students explore questions of power and justice and the role of law in everyday life. This concentration also provides a foundation for the ongoing study of law or for graduate study in Political Science.
The major with a concentration in Public Administration prepares students for careers in government administration, private research and consulting firms, and public planning agencies.
The major with a concentration in Security Studies is designed to provide students with a practical and theoretical understanding of current and future security challenges facing our nation. The major will help students comprehend, understand, and analyze both the traditional and non-traditional security issues confronting the world’s most dynamic and volatile regions. Students will focus on the causes and effects of interstate and intrastate conflict, the sources of terrorism, counter-terrorism strategies, and security issues that affect national, regional and global security. Students will learn general principles of international relations and security studies and how these principles apply regionally. This concentration is designed to prepare students for work in military affairs, government relations, international organizations concerned with global security, as well as provide a foundation for students considering a graduate degree in a security related field.
The secondary teacher certification concentration combines the Political Science major with the appropriate courses from the College of Education for students who wish to teach Social Studies in Georgia.
The department also offers a certificate in EU Studies that is taken in tandem with a formal degree program. This is a six-course certificate program that is a collaborative effort among GRU, the University System of Georgia, and the University of Munich, Germany. Students from all academic majors are eligible to participate so long as they possess a minimum 2.75 cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA). A student may formally apply to enroll in the program after successful completion of the following: the certificate’s introductory course in European Union Studies with a grade of “C” or better; 30 semester hours of academic credit; and a course in World or Western Civilization. Interested students should contact Dr. Christos Bourdouvalis for information.
With its strong liberal arts focus, a degree in Political Science helps students develop and strengthen their analytical and problem solving skills, as well as improve their written and oral communication skills. The degree provides an excellent foundation for graduate education in Law, Public Administration, Political Science, and other social science fields. A degree in Political Science also prepares students for careers in public service, campaign work, teaching, business, journalism, public and international affairs, military career advancement, state and local government, the federal government, and communications.
The department offers an extensive internship program for students once they reach junior status. Internships are available with members of the United States Congress, the Georgia General Assembly, state and local government agencies, election campaigns, interest groups, private corporations and various other organizations. The internship program provides student with valuable work experience related to their major which may prove valuable in terms of career exploration, acquisition of new skills, career development, and potentially career placement. Therefore, students are strongly encouraged to participate in the internship program.
The department also periodically offers Study Abroad and/or Study Away courses that count toward the major. One such program is the Model United Nations course that includes a trip to either Washington, DC or New York City, NY. Participation in this program enhances students’ written and oral communication skills, as well as expands their analytical capabilities. As such, participation in this program is also encouraged for all majors.
The department offers several extra-curricular opportunities related to Political Science. Active student organizations include the Political Science Club, ONE, NMUN Club, and the Pre-Law Club. The department also maintains an active chapter in the undergraduate Political Science Honor Society of Pi Sigma Alpha.