If you’re fascinated by the world of politics, then you may wonder what you will study in a liberal arts program in political science. A degree in political science will prepare you for a wide range of careers, from journalist to policy analyst and intelligence officer to political campaign manager.
1. The Fundamentals of Political Theory
Often, the first thing you will study in a liberal arts program in political science is basic political theory. Without having thorough background knowledge of the concepts and theories behind politics and governance, you won’t be able to move on to more advanced courses in political science and related disciplines. You should expect to take at least an introductory course in the subject of political theory. Some programs offer additional electives in political theory, including courses such as democratic theory, theories of justice, feminist political theory and political theory in specific cultures or geographic locations.
2. Politics in America
In the United States, the politics of the American government is a big part of what you will study in a liberal arts program in political science. A few of the classes you might expect to take include American political theory, congress and the presidency, the American legal process and American foreign policy, according to U.S. News & World Report. However, U.S. political science degree programs aren’t solely focused on politics in America. Often, they also include studies in international relations, and the government and politics of other regions.
3. Policies and Policymaking
A solid understanding of political and government policies and how those policies are created is essential for political science majors. Most political science degree programs include some focus on public policy, policymaking, policy analysis and policy issues. Whether students plan to become policy analysts or campaign managers, it’s important for them to understand how public policy affects the nation – and the politicians who enact those policies.
4. Research and Writing
While they don’t necessarily constitute a separate class, research and writing is another important part of what you will study in a liberal arts program in political science. Even at the bachelor’s degree level, studies in the field of political science are research- and writing-intensive, according to U.S. News & World Report. Be prepared to take courses such as empirical theory, quantitative research methods, mathematics from a political science perspective and political polling and survey research.
5. Courses That Enhance or Focus Your Studies
Some political science degree programs offer the option to specialize in academic tracks or subfields such as comparative politics, public policy, political behavior, public law, American politics and international relations. If your program doesn’t offer focused subfields or specialties, it’s a good idea to take courses in subjects that are versatile, like economics, or to pursue a minor or academic concentration that can help prepare you for a future career in politics, law or business
The subjects you will study in a liberal arts program in political science will offer you a comprehensive view of the political systems in place both in the U.S. and around the world.