The Department of Political Science creates opportunities for individuals to develop and utilize their knowledge about political science. By combining rigorous intellectual inquiry with civic engagement opportunities, the department seeks to prepare graduates who can assume leadership roles in the advancement of a pluralistic society.
The study of politics is an examination of the processes and institutions through which humans create communities. Ancient and modern political scientists have shown us that politics also is the study of the ideas, interests and expectations people bring to making decisions, and the obstacles they meet in their efforts to forge a common life that will be good for more than a few. This department gives special attention to issues of equality and justice in this country and the world.
In addition to the Political Science major, the department offers a Public Administration major, and minors in Political Science, Public Administration, Political Science Teacher Certification, and Leadership and Service. Because the department believes that academic achievement should be complemented by personal development, it provides numerous ways for students to engage with the world beyond the classroom. These activities fall broadly into three areas.
Civic Engagement. Students may complete internships in political settings at the local, state or federal levels of government. The James A. Barcia Center for Public Policy & Service offers residential programs for students to spend a summer in Lansing, Washington D.C., or other locations while completing their internship. Additional civic opportunities are available through programs such as the Leadership & Service Minor, the Henry Marsh Institute for Public Policy, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute current events group. The Center for Public Policy & Service has five student organizations with leadership and service opportunities: College Democrats, College Republicans, Law Club, Model United Nations, and Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honorary).
Research and Professional Development. To prepare students for graduate programs or the workplace, the department places great emphasis on developing research and professional skills beyond the classroom. A nationally-ranked Moot Court program enables students to compete against teams from across the country, and many prospective law students are active in the Law Club. Students can edit and write for two undergraduate journals advised by department faculty: The Sovereign and The SVSU Law Review. Faculty members mentor students who present their work at regional and national academic conferences, and the Cardinal Policy Institute allows students to work on developing their skills at writing public policy papers, conducting research for local government, and also completing grant applications. A faculty-led Reading Club is open for those who wish to study classic works of political liberty in a graduate seminar-style setting.
Global Awareness. In support of SVSU’s vision of preparing students for a diverse and global society, the department offers an established Model United Nations program, which competes every fall in Chicago. Many students also participate in winter Model United Nations events or in the Model Arab League. Every few years, department faculty lead study abroad experiences during the spring or summer term, and students are encouraged to explore other international opportunities, including internships.