The Department of Politics and International Affairs focuses on embodying the teacher-scholar ideal in our undergraduate program, where we strive for exceptional teaching, for outstanding and innovative research, and for meaningful academic interactions between students and faculty both inside and outside of the classroom. This central mission is complemented, but not replaced, by the involvement of many of our faculty in directing a range of study abroad, study away, and interdisciplinary programs, extending this commitment to excellence to the wider University.

Departmental Mission 

The Department of Politics and International Affairs seeks to prepare its students for life-long learning, to equip them with the skills and knowledge to pursue various career paths and to be active participants in civic life. The discipline of political science is ideally suited to combine the transmission of knowledge with the development of citizenry in an increasingly multicultural and interdependent world. The program is geared toward exposing students to wide-ranging topics, approaches, and learning strategies while allowing them the flexibility to pursue their interests. To this end, study abroad, service learning, internship opportunities, faculty-mentored research, and other forms of experiential learning are incorporated into our curriculum. 

The Department understands this mission as requiring the delivery of a broad and structured set of courses: broad, in that they allow students to explore political processes at different levels—local, national, and global–and to link those processes to important sets of political ideas; structured in that students should work in all four key areas of the discipline: in American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, and Political Theory. We also strive to nourish in our students a familiarity with the plurality of methods with which political scientists approach their topics of study. Because we see our role as developing our students’ competency in the study of politics, a capacity to discover and create knowledge, and a propensity for intellectual curiosity and responsible citizenship, the structure of courses is designed with a developmental logic. All faculty teach both introductory and upper-level courses, and the upper-level courses build on material from introductory courses in all areas of the discipline. A course on Research Methods, taken in the junior year and constructed in a manner that aligns with the college’s data analytics core curriculum requirement, is intended to hone skills that can be put to use in exploring advanced scholarly material and creating a research paper of considerable length and sophistication in a collaboratively organized Senior Seminar taken in the student’s final year. 

In keeping with the above mission, and as part of our ongoing academic program evaluation, we track and measure student progress along three broad student learning objectives