Political Science Program
Department Mission Statement
Who is man? How is he to live in community? What are his obligations to others? What is his obligation to the state? What is the state? Why does it exist? What are its duties and responsibilities? What are its limitations and boundaries? What principles should govern its relations to its citizens? To other states and nations?
These are the questions at the heart of political science.
As a political science major at Franciscan University, you will explore the rights, limitations, obligations, and relationships of individuals and the communities and states they form. You will learn how different peoples in different places and times have understood those rights and obligations. And you’ll explore the foundations of the laws and freedoms that govern life in 21st-century America.
Over the course of four years, your studies will engage you in a dialogue with the great thinkers and leaders of Western Civilization. It will also enrich your understanding of the ideals that gave rise to America’s founding and the legal system that provides a framework for life in America today.
Most important, as a political science major at Franciscan University you will learn about the relationship between faith and politics. You will study the Church’s rich history of social teaching, and become familiar with the principles of the natural law. You will also see how the moral law must undergird all political relationships in order for individuals and communities to flourish.
Your program of study will require you to complete 31 hours of course work in political science, as well as 9 hours of philosophy, 6 hours each of English, history, and an intermediate-level foreign language. The program affords you the opportunity to take on a minor in various fields or a second major in history, English, theology, philosophy, or foreign languages. In some circumstances, a second major can be taken in other fields, too.
All political science majors are required to take courses in political philosophy, foundations of politics and government, American national government, state and local government, international politics, comparative government, and constitutional law. You also will be able to choose from a wide variety of electives on Catholic political thought, the American presidency, the judiciary, foreign policy, and more. Finally, as a senior you will need to complete a thesis under the direction of a faculty member.
By the time you complete your studies, you will have honed your ability to think critically and with precision, as well as to write with greater insight and skill. This major is excellent preparation for law school, government, or political organization work; work in non-profit organizations; writing or journalism; or graduate study in the social sciences, public administration, and business.
Assessment Learning Goals
At the completion of the required coursework for the Political Science major, graduates will:
1. Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the proper philosophical and ethical bases of politics
2. Develop a familiarity with the greatest works of Western political philosophy
3. Demonstrate a good, basic understanding of the discipline of political science and the means of doing sound research in the discipline
4. Demonstrate a strong background in American politics and government and in the political philosophy undergirding them
5. Demonstrate a strong basic understanding in the other major fields in the discipline: international politics, comparative politics, and public law
6. Demonstrate basic knowledge in papal social and political teachings
7. Demonstrate an increased understanding of political developments in the world around them
8. Exhibit an overall intellectual understanding in the highest traditions of the liberal arts so as to better enable them to challenge the prejudices and ideologies of the world and see truth more clearly.