The Political Science major exposes students to the philosophical and practical problems of po-litical organization, action, and governance. The courses we offer cover the range of political institutions, processes, and policies in a way that allows students to discover how politics actual-ly works. As students move through the major we encourage and foster critical thinking about the nature of citizenship, rights, and duties in the modern world.
The undergraduate Political Science curriculum is divided into three general areas: "Theoretical Approaches to Politics," "American Institutions and Politics," and "Foreign and International Politics." While majors may choose to focus their studies on one of these areas, they are re-quired to develop a solid intellectual foundation and understanding that spans all three and to ap-proach the study of Political Science within the broader context of the social sciences.
Students completing the Political Science major are expected to develop the ability to read and listen critically, to reason analytically and engage in thoughtful moral judgment, and to write and speak clearly and forcefully. The major emphasizes the enhancement of key intellectual skills and qualities of mind-the habits of questioning, debating, challenging, and shaping coherent and persuasive arguments and interpretations-and seeks to involve undergraduates in the active re-search life of the Rutgers department.
Course work is organized into two general levels. Classes at the 100 level are regarded as intro-ductory and are designed to expose students to general concepts, basic knowledge, and modes of inquiry, as well as to serve as a foundation for additional course work. We offer five 100-level classes covering these introductory concepts, from political theory (101 Nature of Politics) to American government (104 Introduction to American Government and 106 Law and Politics) and the world beyond our shores (102 Introduction to International Relations and 103 Compara-tive Politics). Classes at the 300 and 400 levels focus on more specialized issues, questions, or problems. While we have few prerequisites, students should complete appropriate introductory course work before enrolling in upper-division classes.
Political Science majors are encouraged strongly to take advantage of opportunities to engage in experiential learning at Rutgers. These opportunities include the Washington Internship Semes-ter, various Study Abroad program, local internships supervised by the department, and 1.5 cred-it courses offered at the 200 level.
Prior to declaring a major in Political Science, a student must complete at least two 100 level Po-litical Science courses with an average grade of C or better. These courses can be counted toward major credit.