Skip to Main Content

Academic Bulletin Political Science - 2013-14

Currently viewing 2013-14 bulletin

Department of Political Science

Faculty in the Department of Political Science: V. Daniel Rogers (chair), Michael Burch, Shamira Gelbman, Scott Himsel~, Alexanra Hoerl, and Ethan Hollander.     ~ Part-time


Aristotle called politics “the queen of the sciences.” Knowledge of politics is important for all liberally educated people. At Wabash, the department offers introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses to all students in four areas: American politics, comparative politics, international politics, and political theory. We offer opportunities for non-majors to seek answers to perennial questions of politics and to learn more about how government works in their own country and around the world. Our major program combines a solid overview of the discipline with opportunities for in-depth study. Students majoring in political science take a survey course in each area and then concentrate on one area for advanced study. Our minor allows students to explore interests in two of the four areas.


By studying political science, students learn to analyze and interpret the significance of political events and governmental processes in order to understand, evaluate, and even shape them. As a department, we hope to turn interested students, whatever their career plans or other interests, into politically literate college graduates who are able to comprehend their political world in ways appropriate to their individual inclinations, as intelligent and responsible citizens, journalists, attorneys, active participants in business, community or electoral politics, as candidates for office, public officials, or academic political scientists.


Requirements for the Major: Majors in Political Science are required to take nine course credits (and may take as many as eleven) distributed as follows:


• Four introductory courses:

PSC 111—Introduction to American Politics

PSC 122—Introduction to Comparative Politics

PSC 231—Introduction to Political Theory (a fall semester course)

PSC 242—Introduction to International Politics (a spring semester course)


• Two advanced courses in one area of specialization chosen from the four areas above. Students will be examined over this area on the first day of senior comprehensive examinations.


• PSC 497—Senior Seminar in Political Science (a fall semester course). Students will write seminar papers for this course in the area in which they have elected to specialize (see above).


• At least two additional Political Science courses.


Note: Students may count either PHI 213 (Philosophy of Law) or a departmentally-approved offering listed under PHI 219 (Topic in Ethics and Social Philosophy) toward the major or minor in Political Science. No more than one course credit in Philosophy may be counted toward the Political Science major or minor.


• Collateral requirements: Political Science majors are also required to take ECO 101 and HIS 102.


Beginning with the Class of 2014, Political Science majors must complete one full credit from among

the following: PSC 261, PSY 201, DV3 252/ECO 253, or MAT 103 and 104. (Note: Most political

science majors will, in effect, fulfill their quantitative studies distribution requirement by taking one

of the above courses to meet this collateral requirement.) Since these courses provide important background material that will enhance understanding of political science as a major field, students are strongly encouraged to complete them during their first two years of study.


The Senior Comprehensive Examination: The comprehensive consists of six hours of written examinations administered over two days. The first day’s exam questions will be available in advance and will require a student to analyze and synthesize material in his area of specialization within political science. The second day’s examination requires the student to write shorter essays in two other areas of the discipline. In addition, the second day’s examination may ask for some short answers in the area of specialization as well as an analysis of political data. The student must also pass the oral component of the examination.


The Political Science Department encourages all prospective majors to complete their four introductory courses (PSC 111, 122, 231, 242) during their first two years. There is no required sequence, but PSC 111 and 122 are recommended for freshmen and PSC 231 and 242 are recommended for sophomores. One potential way of scheduling the introductory courses is as follows:

  Fall   Spring
Freshman Year PSC 111 or PSC 122 PSC 111 or PSC 122
Sophomore Year     PSC 231 PSC 242






Requirements for the Minor:  Political Science minors are required to take five classes, distributed as follows:


• Two of the four introductory courses, PSC 111, 122, 231, 242

• Two 300-level courses in one of the areas in which an introductory course was taken

• One 300-level course in the other area in which an introductory course was taken or PSC 261


Advanced Placement: Students who have received a score of 4 or higher on either the AP Comparative Government or AP United States Government exams will receive one back-credit upon completing a 300-level course in American politics (to receive credit for AP US Government) or comparative politics (to receive credit for AP Comparative Government) with a grade of B- or higher.


Secondary Licensure Program: The Department of Education Studies offers a minor in Education Studies, and an additional licensure preparation program for students interested in becoming licensed to teach at the secondary level (middle and high school grades 5-12). With a major in this department and a minor in Education Studies, students may also choose to complete the licensure preparation program by applying in the spring of the junior year. For more information about the licensure program, students are advised to meet with faculty in the Department of Education Studies. Requirements for the minor and licensure preparation program are outlined in the Department of Education Studies section of the Academic Bulletin.