School of Humanities & Behavioral Science
Political Science, Philosophy, and Economics
The political science, philosophy, and economics major is designed to transform students with an interest in or concern for politics into graduates who can understand, evaluate, manage, and shape political events and governmental actions in a manner consistent with a Christian faith perspective.
The political science program involves the systematic study of how political institutions influence the behavior of citizens, leaders, and international actors to achieve public policies that promote justice both nationally and globally.
Start your AU story
The political science, philosophy, and economics major integrates an economics curriculum with traditional political science courses and offers concentrations in international political economy and domestic policy and economic problems.
- The political science minor is an excellent complement to a variety of majors, including business, Christian ministries, communications, global studies, history, the sciences, and social work.
- The legal studies minor is excellent preparation for law school, combining courses from a variety of disciplines to create a pre-law curriculum.
What courses will I take?
- American National Government
- Political Science Research Methods
- Political Behavior
- American Foreign Policy
What kind of jobs can I anticipate after graduation?
Our program will help you prepare for successful careers in the following areas and more:
Our curriculum is designed to help you develop a number of skills that are important to employers. The best way to develop your proficiency with a skill is to use it repeatedly. That’s why you’ll have opportunities to apply these skills in all your political science courses rather than encountering them only once.
We believe you should complete at least one internship before you graduate. Internships are a great way both to explore career options and to develop your knowledge, skills, experience, network, and brand. They are a proving ground where you can put into practice the things you’ve done in the classroom.
Our curriculum is designed to help you develop a number of skills that are important to employers. The best way to develop your proficiency with a skill is to use it repeatedly. That’s why you’ll have opportunities to apply these skills in all your Political Science courses rather than encountering them only once.
- Written communication: Our majors write a lot. They’ll tell you that no program on campus requires more writing than ours. And you’ll do more than learn how to write a traditional research paper. You’ll also write policy memos, briefing memos, position papers, blog posts, and news analyses. You’ll be able to hone your writing skills for a professional audience through our policy practicum or on internships. In Senior Seminar, you’ll collect your best work in an electronic portfolio and make it available to potential employers.
- Oral communication: Our majors routinely present oral briefings of research or reading they’ve done. Beginning in the sophomore year, you’ll develop your ability to present complex information in a concise and understandable fashion. In your introductory speech class, you’ll probably deliver three speeches. In an ordinary semester, our majors will brief their peers or an external audience 12-15 times. You’ll get good at briefing.
- Social media: We understand the growing importance of social media in the information economy, so you’ll learn how to use Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ in a professional manner and how to build a personal brand that’s attractive to potential employers. You start by setting up a professional Twitter account and learning the basics in Introduction to Politics. When you’re in Senior Seminar, you’ll be engaged with experts across the globe who work in your area of interest. In between, you’ll be using social media in every political science class. As an example of the work you’ll be doing, check out the Twitter hashtag #AUPOSC.
- Analytical/Quantitative skills: Few political science programs require their majors to complete courses in both research methods and statistics. Ours does. You’ll learn best practices for the visual display of quantitative information, how to create tables and figures to incorporate into your writing and briefings, and how to discuss the meaning of data you encounter. You’ll learn how to read, understand, and brief an audience on work that is statistical in nature. And after the course in statistics, you’ll be asked to do your own quantitative research in upper-division courses. These skills are at a premium in an increasingly big-data world.
- Critical thinking: Political science is theory-driven, meaning it looks for general explanations, like why nations go to war ,rather than particular ones, like why the U.S. entered WWI. Because we focus on theory, you’ll constantly be developing your ability to think in the abstract and apply your knowledge to new cases, such as explaining why Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012, or predicting the outcome of the 2014 congressional elections. You’ll also learn how to evaluate claims made by politicians and pundits so you can reach well-supported positions on important policy issues.
- Research skills: The ability to find quality information quickly is a skill that’s essential in today’s economy, so you need to be able to do more than library research. That’s why we’ll help you develop information literacy—the ability to use technology to efficiently locate the information that is needed and to evaluate its quality. You’ll be familiar with a wide range of primary sources of economic, demographic, and political data in both the domestic and international arenas, because you’ll be using them regularly for your briefings, research, and projects.
- Teamwork: Employers place a high value on people who can work effectively on a team. Not only will you learn best practices for effective teamwork, you’ll also have multiple opportunities to use them. You’ll work in teams for in-class activities, briefings, projects—even exams. And you’ll have additional opportunities if you participate in Model UN, College Republicans, College Democrats, or Pi Sigma Alpha.
- Computer skills: You’ll develop proficiency with Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Google Docs, R, Zotero, and Hootsuite. You’ll also be encouraged to use a variety of productivity tools important to employers, including Google Calendar, Evernote, Dropbox, and task managers. And you’ll be using all of these by the end of your sophomore year.
If you want to know what employers look for in job applicants, see the Department of Labor’s Soft Skills to Pay the Bills — Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success.
- Political Science
Receive a curated list of programs to explore for your college career.