Political Science

Bachelor of Arts

AIC’s Political Science program aims to provide students with a broad and critical understanding of the theoretical and functional aspects of the world of politics and government.

To ensure a strong foundation across all aspects of political science, we offer a comprehensive curriculum with topics in American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. Our students become engaged with the political system in a way that fosters a lasting ethic of political participation. In addition to political knowledge, we also work to impart the skills most important to a liberal arts education, namely critical thinking, research, writing, and presenting skills.

Students intending to teach Political Science in secondary schools must have two majors (Political Science and Secondary Education) and work with advisors in each field.

AIC Political Science majors have gone on to work in a variety of fields, including:

  • Journalism
  • Business
  • International affairs
  • State and local government
  • Law
  • Public administration

Learning Outcomes for Political Science
The following are learning outcomes for successful completion of the political science major:

  • Cultivate analytical, research and communicative skills
  • Develop the ability to analyze issues from multiple perspectives (including international)
  • Develop a core of knowledge in the field of:
    • American politics
    • Political theory
    • Comparative politics
    • International relations

Studying Political Science at AIC has expanded my understanding of the world and of the human condition. I have learned to appreciate the complexities of varying perspectives, and have gained the skills needed to answer the philosophical and political questions facing our society.

—John Mbengam ‘15 Political Science Student

In the classroom. In the workforce.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll have significant intellectual freedom to focus your studies on political issues that interest you most, whether they be the American political system, globalization, human rights, or economic development in the Third World.

Future Studies

This course of study develops the analytical, research, and communication skills necessary for you to address issues in contemporary politics, or to apply your skills to careers in law, business, journalism, education, and the nonprofit sector.

Career Opportunities

The program provides you with the skills needed for positions in federal, state, and local governments, campaign management teams and electoral organizations, international organizations, and nonprofit associations.

Major Requirements

  • ECO1400: Intro to American Politics
  • POL1000: Comparative Politics
  • POL2410: International Relations
  • POL4870: Seminar in Political Science
  • PSY2302: Statistics

and one from the following courses:

  • POL2620: Public Law
  • POL2630: Civil Liberties

Plus 18 semester hours of additional political science courses including a minimum of six hours from:

  • POL3642: Issues in Modern Political Thought
  • POL3660: Political Thought I
  • POL3661: Political Thought II
  • POL3700: American Political Thought

Minor Requirements

  • ECO1400: Intro to American Politics
  • POL1000: Comparative Politics
  • POL2410: International Relations

Plus 9 semester hours of additional political science courses, including a minimum of three hours from:

  • POL3660: Political Philosophy I
  • POL3661: Political Philosophy II
  • POL3700: American Political Thought
  • POL3642: Issues in Modern Political Thought

Course Descriptions

This course provides an overview of the discipline of political science, including its division into the four fields of political theory, American Politics, comparative politics and international relations. Students will learn basic concepts in politics and analyze governmental types, forms of political participation, and political socialization.

This course provides an overview of American politics and government, focusing on Constitutional principles, national institutions of governance, and politics actors, such as political parties and the media.

This course provides acomparative examination of governmental and political systems, with the American system considered as point of comparison in some cases. The corse will focus on one or two areas of the world, such as the Middle East or Europe.

This course focuses on the politics, institutions, and policy processes of state and local governments. State and local governments provide essential services, suchas education and policing, and are considered the building blocks of democracy. In this course, comparisons will be made among states but much attention will be paid to the state of Massachusetts and city of Springfield.

This course is a study of the international community and of the forces that determine political relations among the nation states it comprises. Consideration is given to the character of the nation state, the nature and determinants of political power in a multistate system, and the conduct of diplomacy.

The powers, function, and inherent conflicts of the Congress and the presidency are examined with emphasis placed on the historical development of institutions.

This course is a study of the organizations, characters, bases, and operations of party systems with emphasis on the United States. The historical development of the parties is investigated.

This course examines the structure of both presidential and congressional elections and the resultant consequences of those structures. The historical development of elections is emphasized. A case study of either the presidential or congressional midterm election will be analyzed with special attention given to campaign strategies.

The student will study political concepts, institutions, and processes in the Middle Eastern political systems.

This course examines the role of the media in political life, considering its roles in polling, setting the agenda, and providing political information. The structure of the media, including its ownership, will be studied as will its influence as an interest group.

This course will explore the topic of European integration from a variety of perspectives, including those of history, political science and sociology. The first half of the course will concentrate on the pre-history of the European communities leading to the creation of the European Union in November 1993. Then it will look at the European Union’s institutions and how they function, the relationship between the member states and the EU, and special issues that face the EU today.

This course is the study of nature, function, and power of the Supreme Court in the American political system via study of its decisions. Emphasis is placed on cases about separation of powers, federalism, and economic liberties.

effectiveness of the legal system in protecting and promoting individual rights are examined and discussed via a reading of constitutional case law. Special attention is given to rights of the accused, freedom of speech and religion.

The First World War was arguably the most important event of the twentieth century. It had a profound impact on international relations, political ideas, the conduct of war, the global economy, Western society, and culture and the arts. It altered the map of both Europe and the Middle East and set the stage for another world war as well as for decolonization. We are still living with many of its legacies today. This discussion-based course will begin by reviewing the nineteenth century international system and discuss the reasons why the war broke out in August 1914. It will then examine the course of the war on all its fronts as well as its effects on the home fronts of the belligerent countries, including on the arts and literature. Finally, it will consider the Paris Peace Settlement of 1919 and war’s long term consequences, including its place in historical memory around the world.

The Second World War was the bloodiest conflict in recent history. It had a profound impact on our world. This discussion-based course will explore the international system in the 1920s and 1930s and the various factors that led to the outbreak of the conflict in Europe and Asia. It will then examine the course of the global war itself, including its impact on civilians. Finally, it will consider the consequences of the war and how it is remembered in various countries today.

A study is made of the politics and problems of implementing governmental policies with particular emphasis on organization, management, personnel, finances, responsibility, and bureaucracy.

This course will examine the international history of the Cold War. Special emphasis will be placed not only on the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, but also on how the entire world between 1945 and 1991 was influenced by the competition between the different ideologies and socio-economic systems that those countries represented. It also will suggest how the Cold War has continued to infulence our present era.

In this course a study is done of the aims, instruments, and conduct of American foreign relations, with particular reference to contemporary problems. Students will participate in case studies.

The impact of international organizations on relationships among nations is examined and discussed. There will be special focus on the role of major institutions such as the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organizations, European Union, OAS, NATO, and OPEC.

This course consists of an analysis of contemporary problems in the world community in light of the theories and concepts of international politics.

This course will examine the nature and significance of the American radical tradition from the American Revolution to the present-day. Among the radical philosophies and movements to be covered will be the socialism and communism; civil rights; Black power; feminism; the New Left; environmentalism; the gay and lesbian movement; and the global justice movement. Examination of the American radical tradition suggests that radicalism has been a persistent and significant feature of American history.

A study is made of the fundamental concepts of international law and diplomacy. Particular attention will be devoted to the significance and application of these concepts in international relations.

In this course, an inquiry is made into the role of multinational corporations in international relations. A broad range of ideas and issues are explored, including; an analysis of states and corporations as juristic entities; business transactions and world politics; corporate interest and national interest; multinationals as precursors of integrated global system; role of international law and diplomacy; and multinationals’ impact on national employment, taxation, and balance of payments. This course is not open to freshmen.

A study of the historical role of the U. S. Supreme Court and its impact on American society, including an examination of issues of political theory and major court cases.

Organized thematically, this course explores diverse issues current in modern political thought and pertinent to contemporary governments and societies.

This course surveys the ideas of leading political thinkers from ancient times to the Renaissance. Figures such as Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, and Machiavelli will be discussed.

This course surveys the ideas of leading political thinkers from early modernity through to the present day. Figures such as Bodin, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Burke, Hegel, Marx, and Mill will be discussed.

This course studies American political thought from its Puritan origins to present day. The course is organized around defining moments of political thought, such as the Revolution, Constitutional Founding, Civil War, Great Depression, and Civil Rights Movement, with selections from mainstream and radical voices in each period. Readings include selections from James Madison, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In this course, students will learn the research process. Special emphasis will be placed on research design. At a minimum, students will conduct a literature review, formulate a research question, and choose the appropriate research methods to answer that question. It is expected that students’ topics will flow from their course work in political science.

An internship in a government office, social agency, or research department is required.

This is a series of independent readings to be conducted under the instructor’s supervision.

During the spring semester, students participate in a formal internship program at the New York State Assembly in Albany. The program includes completion of an academic course, a four-day orientation about the state legislative process, and seminar discussions. Students work 30 hours per week for a member of the assembly, doing legislative research, constituent relations, and other administrative tasks. Students must be accepted into this program to participate.

This course explores process, politics and policy of federal, state, and local budgeting for twenty-first century challenges. Students will examine procedures, performance, and accountability of public budgeting in three ways: control over expenditure; program management; and long-term policy planning. Students will analyze performance-based budgeting and political vs. managerial budgeting approaches, as well as gain an understanding of the social impact of conflict and prioritizing inherent in public budget decision-making.

This course examines the process of policy formulation, techniques of policy analysis, and execution of public policy. Content will address the issues of policy development, legislative enactment, implementation, enforcement, and evaluation. Through case study analysis, students will map out the theoretical and practical approaches to current public policy issues.

Provides opportunities for understanding federal, state, and foundation sources of public finance, with an emphasis on proposal development, organizational development and change, and grant writing. Lectures, small-group problem solving, and a variety of speakers will be utilized to cover course material.

This course examines the ethical, moral, and legal dilemmas of public, private, and nonprofit management decision-making. Through case study analysis students will gain insight into the appearance versus the actual conflicts of interest; learn how to prevent fraud, waste and abuse; and establish a zero tolerance for issues of personal gain, influence peddling and other corrupt practices common to the work environment. Special topics will focus on crafting appropriate codes of ethics and standards of conduct for both employer and employee to strengthen management and organizational ethics and culture.

This capstone course requires students to apply the knowledge learned in the MPA program in a comprehensive, experiential project focused on analyzing and proposing recommendations to a significant issue within a governmental agency or masters thesis involving substantial research focused in public administration specific to a student’s area of interest. Students will be required to present their project or research in a public forum.

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