Political Science at Baruch

Our concern is with the ideas, structures, and processes of politics in the United States and around the world. It is a very large subject, and we understand that different students will be attracted to different aspects of it. Some students, perhaps aiming for law school, may be drawn to a course in Constitutional Law. Other students, thinking of the international marketplace, may choose The United States in an Age of Globalization. Still other students, considering a career in government, may take Urban Public Policy. And some students, entranced by the play of ideas, may select Modern Political Thought. In a typical semester, we offer nearly two dozen different courses.

We divide our discipline into six subfields:

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Politics
  • Political Theory
  • Public Policy
  • Urban Politics

We offer courses from each subfield every semester. There is almost always a course to fit every interest.

As a major
The Political Science major is unusually flexible. Students are required to take American Government (POL 1101), a capstone seminar (POL 4900), plus seven other political science courses, representing at least four of the six subfields. In addition to our conventional courses, we have a flourishing internship program, which gives students a unique opportunity to work for government or nonprofit agencies for College credit. We also encourage interested students to develop independent study projects or honors thesis projects, in which they work on a topic of their choice one-on-one with a professor. These innovative courses supplement our standard offerings, providing students with enormously rewarding experiences that they might not otherwise have considered.

Learning goals for majors: By the time that students have completed the major, they will be able to
1. Gain a broad exposure to central issues of political science, which include:
  (a) the ethical problems attendant to the exercise of power;
  (b) the history of important political ideas, such as "liberty," "justice," "community," and "equality";
  (c) the impact of historical, economic, and social forces on the operation of politics;
  (d) the functioning and distinctive features of the US political system;
  (e) the diversity of political systems found among nations and the significance of these differences;
  (f) the interaction among international actors and the causes of war and peace.
2. Apply a key concept, theory, or method of political science to analyze a political question.
3. Articulate a thesis regarding a political question.
4. Consider alternative perspectives regarding a political question.
5. Evaluate evidence regarding a political question.
6. Gather appropriate evidence pertinent to a political question.
7. Craft a well-structured written or oral argument regarding a political question.
8. Develop a greater sense of civic duty to participate in public affairs.

As a minor
Political science minors are also very flexible. Each subfield offers a minor consisting of two 3000 level courses plus a capstone seminar (POL 4900). In addition, with permission of the department, students can create their own minors that reflect their own interests. As a result, there is a political science minor to complement nearly every major.

As an elective
Most political science students at Baruch are neither political science majors nor minors. Why take political science? The most obvious answer is the intrinsic interest of the subject. Americans do not have to be forced to talk about politics. It's been a national habit for centuries. We are fascinated not only by current events—a scandal here, a war there—but also by the great perennial questions that invariably are of great practical consequence: how do we reconcile our love of freedom with our need for order? our commitment to minority rights with our belief in majority rule? We are interested in politics because it is dramatic and exciting and because, as members of American society, we understand that politics is our business.

Why take political science at Baruch?
The answer must begin with our faculty. We are all experienced classroom teachers and published research scholars. Our teaching makes us better scholars because inquiring students keep us on our toes. And our research makes us better teachers by keeping us up to date in our fields. Routinely, our faculty are invited to give lectures around the nation and in foreign countries, and many have won prestigious scholarly awards. Yet our first allegiance always remains with Baruch, and our first duty is to the students we serve every week. Students are entitled to our very best efforts -- to courses that are challenging and provocative and are taught with all the intelligence and sensitivity that we can muster. Does this guarantee success? Of course not. It is not enough for us to give our best. Success requires that students give their best, too. When faculty and students both strive for excellence, it is hard to fail, and excellence in the classroom is our bottom line.

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