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  Academic Programs / Liberal Arts

Political Science

Gary Mucciaroni, Chair
409 Gladfelter Hall

Hawley Fogg-Davis, Undergraduate Chair
455 Gladfelter Hall

Daniel Chomsky, Undergraduate Faculty Advisor
422 Gladfelter Hall

408 Gladfelter Hall

The Political Science major and minor provide a systematic study of politics in the United States (federal, state, and local) and foreign countries.  Students will have an opportunity to compare United States politics and policy to those of other nations and to study the relationship among states within the international system.  Special emphasis will be placed on using theoretical tools to study the role institutions and social relations play in shaping political outcomes, as well as the relationship between politics and economics (political economy).

The key educational goal for political science students is analytical thinking.  Students will recognize and understand various patterns in the distribution of political power and recurrent models of political behavior. Students will also gain insight into the relationship between the distribution of resources and power within society and political outcomes. As politics inherently involves how societies distribute life opportunities, students will also reflect upon the moral choices involved in political life. The department teaches students how to develop the capacity to conduct empirical research in order to illuminate and revise theoretical models of politics. Students will be expected to use a full range of data and to write clearly.

Political Science graduates pursue a wide range of careers.  They may work in government offices (at all levels), political campaigns, private voluntary organizations, unions and community organizations, as well as the private sector.  Some pursue teaching careers.  A degree in Political Science is also excellent preparation for law school.

The department can arrange internships, which are typically linked to academic study. In addition, our Experiential Learning Program offers internships combined with academic seminars every term.

The department has two important student organizations:  the Political Science Majors Association and the Political Science Honor Society - Pi Sigma Alpha, Temple Chapter.


Requirements for the Major

Department Course # Course Name Hours RCI
Political Science 1101 The American Political System (Honor Students take 1911) 3 AC
Political Science 1201 Foreign Government and Politics (Honor Students take 1921) 3 IS
Political Science 1301 International Politics (Honor Students take 1931) 3 IS
Political Science 2496 Introduction to Political Philosophy 3 WI
Political Science 4896 Capstone in Political Science 3 WI
Political Science Electives Select 6 courses in the 2000-4000 level or higher 18  
Total     33  

Note: Courses should be sequenced so that students take the introductory courses before the upper-level courses.  PS 1101 is an introduction to U.S. politics and should be taken before upper-level courses in this area. Similarly, PS 1201 introduces foreign governments and precedes upper-level courses in this field.  PS 1301 introduces International politics and is a prerequisite for upper-level courses in this subject matter.  PS 2496* introduces Political Theory and should be taken after a student has had several political science courses and should precede upper-level theory courses.  PS 4896* is the Capstone course for the major and should be taken in the senior year after the completion of PS 1101, 1201, 1301, 2496 and four Political Science courses numbered 2000 or higher.  Not all courses are offered every semester.  Please check the Schedule of Classes for actual course offerings each semester.

Requirements for the Minor

Department Course # Course Name Hours RCI
Introduction - select two  
Political Science
Political Science
Political Science
Political Science
The American Political System (Honor Students take 1911)
Foreign Government and Politics (Honor Students take 1921)
International Politics (Honor Students take 1931)
Introduction to Political Philosophy


Political Science Electives Select four courses numbered 2000-4000   12  
Total       18  

Special Programs

Honors Program: Students in the Temple Honors Scholar Program may choose to specialize in Political Science.  Through honors seminars, mentoring, and university research funding, the Honors Scholar Program encourages motivated students to make the most of their undergraduate studies through guided independent scholarly research as well as through intellectual interaction with faculty and other honors students both from Political Science and other departments.  Students must have completed 60 + credits in order to apply to become an Honors Scholar (typically during the spring of their sophomore year). For an on-line application and more detailed information, please visit the Temple University Honors Scholar Program web site at: www.temple.edu/honors.  The program enables majors to develop the analytic and research skills necessary for graduate or professional school and for careers in political research. Completion of the Program’s requirements leads to the “Honors Scholar” designation on the Temple transcript.  Departmental honors seminars provide a dynamic and participatory environment in which the best and most motivated students in the department engage some of the most pressing issues in national and international politics. Recent courses have explored the politics of democracy and authoritarianism, money and the electoral process, and constitutional law.  While each seminar involves close reading of a significant body of literature and the writing of analytic essays or a research paper, the time demands of the seminar will not interfere with successful performance in other courses. Those interested in applying for admission should write or call the Honors Program Coordinator, Dr. Hawley Fogg-Davis (phone: 215-204-6929, e-mail: hfd@temple.edu).

Funding and Support: Honors Program students may apply for financial support to cover research related activities, such as visits to archives, travel to present a scholarly paper, etc. up to $2,000 through the Undergraduate Research Incentive Fund:


Funding is also available through the Diamond Research Scholars Program: www.temple.edu/vpus/programs_initiatives/index.htm#dtdu.
Honors students are also encouraged to submit their completed senior thesis to the Library Prize for Undergraduate Research:


Experiential Learning/COOP Program: The Cooperative Education Program is designed to provide experience in an actual job situation for which the student earns academic credit when their work is done in conjunction with academic supervision. Interested students should see Ms. Helaine Liwacz, Coop and Internship Coordinator, for more information (Gladfelter Hall, Room 431; phone: 215-204-6795; e-mail: laineli@temple.edu).

Pre-Law Studies:  Political Science is one of the most popular majors for pre-law students. Although law schools neither give preference to any particular major nor require any specific undergraduate courses, they do make some general recommendations about getting a sound Liberal Arts education. Students should visit the CLA website, www.temple.edu/claprelaw/, for more information.

In general pre-law students should develop skills in communicating ideas in both written and spoken form.  In addition, pre-law students should sharpen their analytical abilities and ability to think logically.  Law schools also recommend that pre-law students acquire in-depth understanding of at least one social science (such as Political Science).  Finally, some knowledge of business structure and terminology may be useful in law school.  For further information, students interested in pre-law studies should contact Professor Conrad Weiler (Gladfelter Hall, Room 431; phone: 215-204-7746; e-mail: weilerc@temple.edu).

Study Abroad:  Temple provides a number of opportunities for students to study abroad, and the experience of living in, and meeting people from, other cultures, seeing different countries, and learning a foreign language can greatly enrich the undergraduate experience.  The Office of International Programs (200 Tuttleman Learning Center; phone: 215-204-0720; www.temple.edu/studyabroad/) has information on a variety of programs abroad.  Temple study abroad locations include Tokyo, Rome, Israel, London, Paris, Germany, Ghana, and Mexico.

The Political Economy Certificate Program: The Department of Political Science and the Department of Economics offer an interdisciplinary program leading to a Certificate in Political Economy. The program focuses on the interaction between government and the economy and is ideal preparation for students planning careers in either the public or private sector. It also provides an excellent foundation for graduate studies in law, the social sciences, and public administration. The program is open to all matriculated students in the University. Contact Dr. Richard Deeg (phone: 215-204-7123; e-mail:

rdeeg@temple.edu) for specific details and requirements.

Student Organizations

The Political Science Majors Association is the organization of all Political Science majors at Temple University. The primary purpose of the Association is to represent the opinions and interests of undergraduate majors within the Political Science Department.  The Association sponsors activities for Undergraduate majors, including career forums, lectures, student and faculty mixers, law and graduate forums, seminars on popular topics, and trips to Harrisburg.

Pi Sigma Alpha is the national Political Science Honor Society, into which students who have distinguished themselves in the field of Political Science are inducted. Inquiries about membership should be directed to the faculty advisor of Pi Sigma Alpha, Dr. Robin Kolodny (phone: 215-204-7709).

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