Jul 20, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Political Science, B.A., Environmental Policy and Politics

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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 a Concentration in Environmental Policy and Politics prepares students to master the national and international politics of environmental, energy, and sustainability policies in its institutional, legal, social, cultural, and historical context with specific application to American government and politics. Majors develop skills in writing, communications, analysis, and research with application to environmental policymaking, politics, administration, and advocacy. In the belief that learning extends beyond the walls of the classroom, experiential educational opportunities in the form of internships and simulations are also available.

Environmental policy and politics professionals work in and with the private sector, stakeholder communities, government agencies, and elected bodies to develop, implement and evaluate laws, regulations, and public policies aimed at influencing environmental management decisions, natural resources management, minimizing damage to the environment, and managing environmental risks through research, policy advice, and advocacy.

Environmental policy and politics professionals have a variety of job titles: environmental planners; program managers; development coordinators: policy and government advisors; risk management specialists; regulatory project managers; environmental lobbyists; environmental policy analysts; public involvement specialists; urban planners; regulatory affairs specialists; city and regional planners; sustainability specialists; risk management specialists; compliance specialists and inspectors; environmental advocates and activists; environmental managers.

Duties of Environmental policy and politics professionals can include: researching local, state and federal environmental policies; lobbying legislators; organizing community action; raising awareness of environmental issues and propose appropriate solutions; influencing public opinion on environmental issues; environmental advocacy; writing grants and soliciting funding from government and public sources; developing sustainability project goals, plans, and strategies in collaboration with other sustainability professionals; documenting and communicating key environmental risks to stakeholders; evaluating applicable environmental laws and regulations to help plan an organization’s actions; serving as liaisons between firms and nongovernment organizations and regulatory agencies and legislative bodies on environmental issues and policies; planning studies in areas such as population, land use, or zoning.

Students are encouraged to complete a minor in Environmental Engineering or a minor or second major in Biology or Communications.

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.”

Estimated Completion Time:

Typically 4 years of full-time study

Capstone Requirement:

Students in the Bachelor of Arts in the Political Science program, Environmental Policy and Politics, 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)

Total Credits Required:

128 credits

Additional Requirements:

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

Free Electives: (8-9 credits)

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