The department of political science seeks to make the study of politics and international relations an integral part of the liberal education of Beloit students, providing a coherent, comprehensive introduction to the discipline of political science for them. To further these purposes, faculty actively engage in the political world and scholarship about it, and the department offers courses that encourage the thoughtful consideration of political aims, institutions, processes and problems. These include the exploration of power, conflict, peace, citizenship, and justice from diverse perspectives. Introductory courses are designed to equip students for responsible, effective participation in civic life and public affairs in local to global contexts. For students who major or minor in the program, the department offers opportunities for more specialized study in government and politics as a foundation for graduate education and future vocations in law, government, journalism, teaching, activism, and other public service careers. The department works to strengthen the College as a whole by participating responsibly in its intellectual life, its core programs, and through service.
Course requirements for a major concentration in political science are deliberately flexible. We believe that the best preparation for careers, as well as for the rest of life, is the perspective and depth afforded by an authentic liberal arts and sciences education.
The focus of the political science major ensures that students acquire the tools necessary to study politics and an emphasis is placed on courses in philosophical logic, languages, and statistics. Students are asked to take nine courses in political science, one unit in economics, one unit in history, and two units from philosophy 100, any non-native language, or any statistics.
An experiential learning component is also included in the major, with students expected to engage in off-campus study, to conduct an independent research project, or to participate in an internship program. In choosing courses, as well as other learning experiences, the student works closely with an advisor from the department.
The department also offers a minor concentration in political science.
After graduation, some majors move directly to positions in business, government service, politics, or teaching. Most, however, proceed first to further professional education—whether in law (recent examples include Cornell, Wisconsin, Michigan); in public administration and policy (Harvard, Minnesota, Princeton); in Ph.D. programs in political science (Chicago, Wisconsin, Oxford); or journalism (Texas, Missouri). Historically, the department has had particular success in educating people for college teaching, foreign service, law, and public affairs.
Beyond conventional course work, political science students enjoy many other modes of learning. The department offers its advanced students opportunities for study in special seminars as well as supervised individual research. We bring prominent political leaders to campus and the classroom. Some of our majors administer an informal student-faculty study and social group, discussing current political problems. During election years, students work in the campaigns of local or national candidates.
Beloit offers a vast range of learning possibilities beyond the campus. Each year we send several students to the nation's capital, for first hand study of American political processes in the Washington Semester program. Working internships with local judges and the public defender's office are available during regular on campus terms. Recent field term experiences have included staff assignments with the Wisconsin legislature. Beloit also offers a variety of overseas study opportunities administered by the World Outlook Program.