Political Science - Advice For Majors
Contact: Dr. Janet Campbell, x7430, Janet.Campbell@mhcc.edu. If you are majoring in Political Science, you should request Janet Campbell as your advisor.
If you are considering political science as a major, a good rule of thumb is to follow the recommendations below. It is important to note, however, that each transfer institution has its own requirements; therefore as soon as you know where you may transfer, it is advisable to contact the political science department at that institution to discuss your course of study. Also useful is the Pre-Law course of study. This blueprint enables you to meet the AAOT requirements (for transfer). You can substitute political science classes in the Social Sciences and Electives categories. This way you can complete your transfer degree and be well prepared to major in political science.
Suggested Required Courses
PS200 Introduction to Political Science
PS201 American Government OR PS 203 State and Local Government
PS204 Comparative Politics OR PS 205 International Relations
PS225 Political Ideology: Ideas about Government
And two of the following:
PS209 Problems in American Politics*
PS215 Global Issues+
PS220 American Foreign Policy and World Order
PS241 Political Terrorism
PS242 The U.S. Intelligence System
PS297 Introduction to Environmental Politics
Majors are strongly encouraged to take:
PS298: Political Science Research: a self-designed research project for one credit OR
WE280PS: Internship/Work Experience in a community organization (3 credits).
Other Suggested Courses
ANTH103 Intro to Cultural Anthropology
EC200 Principles of Economics
HST201 History of United States OR HST112 World Civilizations
PHL208 Political Philosophy
PSY216 Social Psychology
SOC204 General Sociology OR SOC225 Social Issues
MTH243 Probability and Statistics
WR123 English Composition: Research
Many Political Science Departments require you to specialize in a specific area. So before you transfer it is worth thinking about which area of political science may suit you. The following lists most major areas of study in political science. You should read through the list and think about which sorts of thought processes may appeal to you.
This field of political science is more abstract and philosophical in nature. It focuses on the realm of possibilities and explores applications of these theories in human societies. If you like thing about the "big picture" this is a good field of study. It basically tries to address questions like:
- What should decisionmaking be like?
- Is there a possible "best" answer to this?
This field examines the here and now as well as historical trends. Its prime purpose is to analyze the behavior of current and past societies and it is more data oriented. It seeks to answer questions like:
- How do people influence decisions?
- Why do people feel the way they do about issues?
- Why do they make the decisions they do?
If you like discussing current policy issues (such as gun control, abortion, spending priorities, security, etc) this is the field of study for you. It basically examines the policies that are in place, explores whether or not they work and suggests possible better policies. It answers questions like:
- What decisions have been made?
- Are they working?
- What could be better?
If you are interested in how the government is organized, this is the field for you. Public administration examines how a country with millions of residents is managed and what sorts of problems are involved. Typical questions are:
State and Local Government
- How are decisions implemented?
- Is government efficient?
- How can it improve?
Often it is said that citizens can be most effective on the local level. This field of study examines this phenomenon. Questions include:
- How are local decisions made?
- How do or can citizens participate?
- How is local politics different from international/national decisions?
Ever wonder about how the rest of the world functions and why? If you have, than this is a great field of study for you. Comparative Politics seeks to understand how countries are different and why. Questions include:
- How are decisions made in different countries?
- Is there an overall "best" system?
- Do all countries face similar problems or are they radically different?
- What makes countries tick and what makes them similar or different?
While each individual nation may have its own set of circumstances, decisions are made that affect the world at large. This field looks at how these decisions do and/or should occur. If the topics of how to manage world peace and conflict, the environment, resources, and wealth appeal to you this is the topic for you. Typical questions include:
- How do decisions governments make affect the global polity?
- How should we manage the world?
This area really focuses on the specifics of the organizational elements of government. The organization and impact of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches are usually examined fully. Typical questions include:
- What is the structure of the government?
- How does this structure influence the decision-making process?
Some institutions actually offer majors in specialty areas that include, in one way or another, all the above fields. A few examples of focus areas are listed below. Often what is offered is heavily dependent on the specialty area of the instructors at the institution, so it is wise to contact the institution directly for information on various programs.
- War and Peace/Peace Studies
- Environmental Politics
- Social Movements
- Women's Studies
The best thing to do at MHCC is to take a wide variety of political science courses, see which area may suit you best, and then contact your transfer institution once you have narrowed your interests. Questions? See the political science chair listed at the top of the page.