Mar 30, 2023  
2022-2023 Westminster College Catalog 
2022-2023 Westminster College Catalog

Political Science, B.A.

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Political Science Mission Statement
The mission of the Political Science major is to develop in our students the ability to apply informed, reflective, and sophisticated analysis and judgment to the major issues of contemporary political life. Our curriculum attempts to develop this ability in three related ways. First, it provides each student with the basic substantive knowledge of politics through the major fields of the discipline - political theory and philosophy, the American political system, the major political systems around the world, and international politics and institutions. Second, the major is designed to provide students with training in some of the major conceptual, theoretical, and methodological tools of the discipline, and in the application of these tools to the analysis of contemporary political life Third we stress the general abilities of clear and precise writing and the development of persuasive empirical and normative arguments, throughout the curriculum.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify and analyze the central questions and problems that are common to all the “subfields” of political science.
  2. Explain and evaluate the major theoretical approaches in the discipline today, and apply these approaches to the analysis of a major development in contemporary political life.
  3. Apply one (or more) of the major methodological approaches in the discipline to the analysis of a pressing problem in contemporary politics.
  4. Develop and defend a normative argument concerning the meaning and/or application of an important values involved in political choices.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of the theories, concepts, or methods of (at least) one other discipline to the pursuit of knowledge about political life.

The program in political science is designed to provide the student with a knowledge of political theory, of the American political system, political behavior and institutions in other countries, and of international politics and institutions. The political science program prepares students for careers in government service, teaching, law, and related professional and graduate study. It also offers electives in support of major programs in other disciplines. Students planning subsequent enrollment in law school are advised to consult the pre-law adviser. Special programs in international relations and foreign areas can be arranged for students planning careers in the Foreign Service of the United States, in international organizations, or in education. Westminster students may enroll in the Washington semester program of governmental study in Washington, D.C., at American University, or in other approved off-campus programs. Westminster students may make use of internships in law offices or government agencies.

Political Science majors planning to attend law school:

The following is a list of recommended courses. These are not required courses, but all do help the student develop some of the skills abilities, and knowledge helpful for success in law school:


All political science majors will take PS 301  in the spring semester of the junior year, and PS 601  in the fall semester of the senior year. The two courses are linked and together make up a unified capstone experience. Political science majors who enroll in the Honors program are required to complete the political science capstone program - PS 301 , PS 601 , and SSC 252  - as well.

Students interested in attending law school may wish to consider the 3-3 cooperative program with Duquesne University Law School. See the section on Pre-Professional Programs in this Catalog.

Secondary Education Teacher Certification: To be eligible for certification in social studies with a major in political science, students must successfully complete a major in political science and a minor in secondary education. Students who are interested in secondary education should contact the coordinator of secondary education in the School of Education, as soon as possible for complete information on the requirements for certification.

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