William M. Curtis, J.D., Ph.D., chair
Faculty: Golesorkhi, Malecha, Meiser, Santiago
The mission of the political science program is to provide majors a solid foundation in the discipline and prepare students to become engaged citizens and leaders in political societies. The department equips students with the analytical tools necessary to understand a complex and dynamic world and engage in informed and active civic involvement. The department offers introductory courses to all students and prepares its majors for careers in business, education, journalism, law, government, religious organizations, and for local, national, and international service.
The political science major offers students a broad and analytically rigorous liberal arts curriculum and prepares them for graduate studies in political science, law, and other professional disciplines. The major, which covers the fields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory, is designed to provide an understanding of the discipline centered around a set of specific strategies for gathering and analyzing information about political life. These strategies — conceptual, historical, structural, institutional, behavioral and normative — are explored in the light of their respective theoretical materials.
Learning Outcomes for Political Science Majors
Our political science major provides students with a solid foundation in the discipline as well as opportunities to extend their learning through participation in internships. Political science graduates of the University of Portland should be able to:
- Demonstrate analytical skills necessary to think critically about political life.
- Identify and demonstrate the importance of political science research questions.
- Distinguish between normative and empirical political analysis.
- Show literacy in the discipline of political science.
- Demonstrate knowledge of concepts of subfields — American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory — of political science.
- Demonstrate knowledge of theories of subfields — American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory — of political science.
- Apply concepts and theories in the subfields of political science.
- Identify the arguments of the scholarly research in the discipline.
- Critically evaluate the arguments of scholarly research in the discipline.
Write political science papers.
- Write papers with a clear thesis.
- Write papers supported by relevant research.
- Develop an understanding of their place in the world as engaged citizens.
- Exhibit an awareness and concern for their roles as citizens in a liberal democracy.
- Recognize and demonstrate an understanding of their roles as members of a global community.
The political science capstone experience provides students an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in scholarly inquiry and analysis. This is carried out in 400 level courses where students explore the scholarly literature and conduct analytically focused research projects. Students who are interested in graduate school or who are in the honors program also have the option of completing a senior thesis under the direction of a member of the faculty.