Program and Degree Options
The Political Science program stimulates intellectual curiosity with respect to power relationships within and among the mass public and its leaders. Through theoretical contemplation, applied experience and scholarship, students develop skills to contribute meaningfully to a democracy that values diversity and social justice in a global community.
The Role of Political Science
Political science enhances the liberal education of students through a focus on the ways in which we organize and govern our world, and on the continuing struggle over issues of power, freedom, equality, justice, and social order. Politics is crucial in all human relationships, whether they be social, economic, religious, cultural or even personal. In so many words, political science seeks to answer a simple question: "Who gets what, when, and how?" A serious study of politics compels us to examine ethical, moral, and value questions of the highest order, thereby enriching the moral, personal, leadership, and intellectual development of students.
The way in which we structure our institutions, whether they be global, national, or local, is a reflection of how we make decisions concerning those individuals whom we entrust to govern our lives through the policy decisions they make on our behalf. Therefore, how we decide the critical questions determines how we are governed.
Political science prepares students for many career opportunities. Graduates have pursued their life's work in the legal profession, government service, business, professional political consulting, education, and journalism. Some students pursue graduate degrees as a way to enter the work world of higher education or participating in civic life. The study of political science helps all students to be effective citizens in an increasingly complex and changing world.
We envision a person with a political science degree from North Central College as a strong writer, a critical thinker, a careful reader, and a confident speaker who is willing to listen and carefully consider diverse viewpoints and to engage in meaningful, thoughtful and respectful dialogue about the nature of power relationships and governance. To that end, 33 credit-hours of political science coursework is required for the B.A., which includes four core first-year- and sophomore-level mandated classes (Intro. to American Government, Intro. to International Relations, Theories of Political Science and Practices of Political Science) in addition to the senior seminar. Beyond that, each student must choose at least one course from among the following blocks of political science electives for a well-rounded experience in the major:
- American politics — Presidency, Congress, elections and campaigns, parties and interest groups
- International relations — foreign policy, international politics and economics, comparative politics
- Law and courts — introduction to law, civil rights, liberties and justice, international law
- Political philosophy — economic and social justice, philosophy of law, classical political philosophers
A minor in political science requires 18 credit hours, which must include Introduction to American Government, Theories of Political Science, and the senior seminar.
Pi Sigma Alpha
As one of 600 chapters of this national undergraduate political science honor society throughout the country, the NCC Pi Sigma Alpha chapter (Alpha Delta Xi) is open to juniors and seniors from all majors who have completed at least fifteen credits of political science courses, including one upper-level course, with no grade below a B in those classes. Students must also have an overall grade point average that places them in the top one-third of their class. The goal of Pi Sigma Alpha is to engage students and faculty interested in the study of political science in discussions and projects related to politics and government.