Jul 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Political Science, B. A., International Relations and National Security Concentration

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Department Contact:

Chair: Dr. Denise Holladay Damico
Coordinator: Dr. Mark C. Gentry

Program Description

Political Science has been defined as the study of “who gets what, when, and how.” It involves the study of government and public policy, as well as the study of the behavior of individuals and groups in the pursuit of their interests. The BA in Political Science with an International Relations and National Security Concentration reflects the reality of globalization and geopolitical conflict, preparing students to address, manage and resolve contemporary foreign policy challenges, problems and issues employing an international and comparative perspective. The concentration addresses political, social, cultural, and economic issues in their global and historical context. Students completing the concentration will have a sound grounding in international affairs and will have the analytical and problem-solving tools to address complex global public policy issues. The concentration will prepare students for further graduate study and careers in international trade, international law, international social and economic development, international security, and foreign policy through employment with the U.S. government, international governmental organizations, the non-profit sector, law firms, and international business.

International relations and national security professionals work to promote national and international security, protect the homeland from foreign and domestic threats, maintain diplomatic relations, resolve international disputes, and promote international cooperation. International relations and national security professionals work in a variety of issue-areas including national security, conflict resolution, global environment, global health, human rights, foreign policy, international trade, foreign aid, international economic development, international law, cybersecurity, energy security, homeland security, and national defense. International relations professionals are employed by Federal and state governments, international organizations, consulting firms, foundations, research institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and multinational corporations.

International relations and national security professionals have a variety of job titles: foreign affairs analyst; international policy analyst; national security analyst; political analyst; legislative assistant; immigration specialist or officer; international aid specialist, manager, director, and coordinator; intelligence analyst; intelligence collections specialists and manager; counter-intelligence officer; diplomatic agent; political affairs officer; international partnerships manager; global project manager; international relief specialist; development specialist; humanitarian aid worker; human rights activist; mediator; conflict resolution specialist; political risk officer and analyst.

Duties of international relations and national security professionals can include: conducting foreign threat assessments; reporting to political appointees in foreign affairs agencies or elected officials; researching conditions or politics in foreign countries and writing reports; engaging in diplomatic negotiations; mediating international disputes; formulating foreign policies and making recommendations to elected officials; coordinating with like-minded civil society groups in foreign countries to influence international policy; collecting and analyzing foreign intelligence; managing, administering and coordinating international non-profit programs; managing, administering, and coordinating national or international responses to humanitarian crises.

Students are encouraged to complete a minor or second major in any of the following: History, Cybersecurity Administration, Military Science, Public Health, Spanish, or one of the World Language minors.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Critical Thinking: Students will develop the ability to think critically about information (e.g., data or texts), theories, concepts, problems, issues, institutions and processes of American Politics and Government, World Politics and Political Theory before accepting or formulating a position or conclusion or proposing a solution to a problem.
  2. Citizenship: Students will develop a deeper and fuller understanding of political processes, acquiring a solid conceptual foundation that can be built upon in their lives as citizens.
  3. Research Methods: Students will be able to use and explain research methods used in the discipline of political science and evaluate conclusions derived from these methods. Students will develop skills that include the ability to identify, locate and access sources of information, the ability to critically evaluate information, the ability to organize information to present a sound central idea in a logical order, and the ability to use the work of others accurately and ethically.
  4. Communication Skills: Students will demonstrate the necessary oral and written skills (English and Public Speaking) to convey their knowledge to others about political science or other appropriate topics.
  5. Ethics: Students will demonstrate familiarity with theorists and ethical frameworks that can help them make hard decisions, evaluate the policy decisions that public officials make on their behalf, and recognize the implications of these choices; Knowledge of reliable frameworks of principles will help students evaluate ambiguous facts and define behavior as “right” or “good.”

Capstone Requirement:

Students in the Bachelor of Arts in the Political Science program, International Relations and National Security Concentration, are required to complete the following two course sequence to graduate from this program:

  • PLSC 330  - Political Science Research Methods (3 cr)
  • PLSC 494  - Political Science Research (1 cr)

Estimated Completion Time:

Typically 4 years of full-time study

Total Credits Required:

128 credits

Courses Required for the Major: (49 credits)

Additional Requirements:

  • At least 21 PLSC credits must be at the 300 or 400 level, excluding 398/399, 487, and 494.

Free Electives: (10 credits)

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