Undergraduate

Political Science

The Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at St. Edward’s prepares you for life as an active citizen, as well as a career in public service, electoral politics, non-governmental organizations or the private sector. You’ll explore all aspects of the political system — from local politics to the fundamentals of the federal government, from global politics to the ethics of public service — and experience the political culture that shapes our system and behavior.

You’ll acquire a solid foundation for advanced studies in political science, law, international relations or public policy. Given our location in the capital of Texas, political science students at St. Edward’s will actively participate in the political process and observe the Texas Legislature in depth. You’ll also complete a political science internship that immerses you in critical issues, prepares you to be a citizen of a democratic society and helps you make a career choice. 

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

Overview:

As a BA in Political Science major, you’ll study the four key fields within the discipline: American Politics, Political Theory, International Relations and Comparative Politics. You’ll examine the federal system and study the contributions of political thinkers such as Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, John Stuart Mill and Abraham Lincoln. You’ll also learn how diplomacy and military force are used to achieve national objectives and become familiar with the politics of specific regions such as Latin America, Europe or Asia.

With a BA in Political Science, students are prepared for a wide spectrum of fulfilling careers as attorneys, political campaign strategists, legislative aides, lobbyists, professors, public servants, teachers, journalists and foreign service officers.

Many students select this degree as a bridge to law school or for graduate study in related disciplines such as Public Administration or Public Policy. An advanced degree is required to teach at the college level. Close interaction with faculty at St. Edward’s — and time spent in classes, advising sessions, an internship and program events — allows you to learn more about options for careers and graduate work.

Degree Plan:

For detailed descriptions and timing of courses, please see the Undergraduate Bulletin (course catalog).

I. FOUNDATION COURSES (21 CREDIT HOURS):
• Rhetoric and Composition I and II*
• College Mathematics
• Computational Skills
• Oral Communication
• Modern Language

II. CULTURAL FOUNDATIONS (18 CREDIT HOURS):
• Literature and Human Experience
• Understanding and Appreciating Arts
• American Experience
• American Dilemmas*
• History and Evolution of Global Processes
• Contemporary World Issues

III. MISSION COURSES (15 CREDIT HOURS):
• The Human Experience
• Ethics*
• Religious Studies/Philosophy
• Science in Perspective
• Science in Depth

IV. MAJOR CORE COURSES (21 CREDIT HOURS):
• American National Government
• International Relations
• Comparative Politics
• Political Research and Statistics
• Public Policy
• Political Theory
• Internship

Thematic Tracks:
You will choose 9 hours of courses from each of two of the following tracks (18 hours total):
International Politics
• Strategic Intelligence
• Topics in International Politics
• International Political Economy
• International Organizations
• American Foreign Relations
• Politics and Governments of Latin America
• Politics and Governments of Europe and the European Union
• Politics and Governments of Asia

Applied Politics
• State and Local Government
• The Legislative Process and Lobbying
• Topics in Applied Politics
• Political Management
• Politics and the Media
• Political Leadership

Pre-Law
• Criminal Law I or Legal Environment of Business
• American Court System
• Legal Writing
• Topics in Pre-Law

American Politics
• The American Voter
• The U.S. Congress
• American Political Parties
• The President
• American Political Thinking
• Topics in American Politics

Electives
Choose 21 hours minimum of electives

V. POLITICAL SCIENCE ELECTIVES (6 CREDIT HOURS)

VI. CAPSTONE COURSE (3 CREDIT HOURS)

VII. GRADUATION CERTIFICATION:
You must register for this course in your graduating term to be certified for graduation.

* These courses are prerequisites for Capstone.
 

Internships

Political science majors complete internships with top businesses, high-level political campaigns and nonprofit and government agencies — locally, throughout the United States and abroad.

Internships give political science majors the opportunity to explore a career interest, network and apply their academic knowledge to affect positive change. An internship is an outstanding addition to your résumé and can give you a distinct advantage in the political arena and for graduate school.

Our students have gained valuable on-the-job experience in organizations such as these:

  • Americans for Prosperity
  • Catholic Charities of Central Texas
  • Democratic Party
  • Mexican Consulate
  • Presidential Campaign, Barack Obama
  • Presidential Campaign, John McCain  
  • Public Citizen
  • Public Policy Foundation
  • Republican Party
  • Sierra Club
  • Texas Attorney General’s Office
  • Texas Civil Liberties Union
  • Texas Governor’s Office
  • Texas Legislature
  • Travis County, Intergovernmental Relations
  • The Washington Center

Research

At St. Edward’s, you’ll participate in professional-level research typically reserved for graduate students at larger universities. As a political science major, you’ll work alongside professors and political practitioners to conduct research as you build skills and confidence and prepare for graduate studies or a professional career.

BA in Political Science majors present original research at the annual Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE) at St. Edward’s. Their exemplary work is often published in Arete, the university’s award-winning academic journal.

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