May 25, 2024  
2017-18 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-18 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science, B.A.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Type

About the Program

Political science focuses on the theory and practice of politics and the analysis of political systems and behavior. It explores who has power, how they acquire it, and what they do with it. Courses in international relations and comparative and domestic politics encourage students to think critically and to strengthen their skills in the oral and written presentation of ideas.

Since governmental decisions and the pursuit of power have relevancy to nearly all disciplines, the curriculum is designed for both Political Science majors and students from other programs.

The Bachelor of Arts degree program prepares students to pursue careers in law, politics, international affairs, domestic and foreign policy, public administration, public relations, consulting, education, or private industry.

Political Science Program Director: Dr. Amy Widestrom


Although the program does not limit students to specific tracks, three optional concentrations are available: International Relations, U.S. Politics and Policy, and Pre-Law and Political Theory. A concentration, however, is not required for the Political Science major.

Students who plan to pursue employment or graduate study in the fields of peace studies, foreign policy, or international affairs should pursue a concentration in International Relations and add an intermediate Modern Language course. The U.S. Politics and Policy concentration provides a foundation for employment or graduate study in public policy, public administration, education, non-profit work/management, and politics. The Pre-Law and Political Theory concentration offers preparation for paralegal positions and a foundation for law school. Political Science majors may also find careers or pursue graduate programs in business administration, health administration, education or other fields by selecting appropriate courses in consultation with their adviser.

Joint and Accelerated Programs

The Political Science program offers several ways to pursue graduate school after completing or making significant progress toward a Political Science major, including:

  • A 4+1.5 program with Arcadia’s International Peace and Conflict Resolution master’s program
  • An accelerated 3+1.5 with Arcadia’s International Peace and Conflict Resolution master’s program
  • An accelerated 3+3 program with Drexel University’s School of Law
  • An accelerated 3+2 program with the American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy

Study Abroad

Political science majors are encouraged to study abroad for a semester, a year, or another time period that meets their curricular and personal needs. For example, the Department of Historical and Political Studies has global field study courses that combine traditional course work with a seven- to ten-day overseas travel component.

When studying abroad, students should try to enroll in political science courses that are not offered on the Glenside campus, giving students a unique opportunity to interact with other students, faculty and public officials from another culture and political system.

If studying abroad for a semester or a year, political science majors can plan to study abroad during any semester except senior year due to the required Senior Thesis Seminar course sequence.

Since it is important that students plan ahead for study abroad, they should consult with their advisers as soon as possible and make their intentions known to the Director of the major and the Associate Dean for International Affairs.

Internships and Experiential Learning

Political Science majors are strongly encouraged to pursue internship opportunities. The Department of Historical and Political Studies offers an internship course to encourage this, PS 380 (Political Internship), designed to be taken in either the Fall or Spring semester, in addition to other coursework.

Arcadia University also participates in the Washington Semester Program at American University and the Washington Center Program. Each offers an off-campus experience of seminars and internships, drawing on the resources of the Washington, D.C., political community. Internship experiences will assist students in deciding what career to pursue after graduation and provide them with valuable personal and professional experiences, connections, and references. Students may also pursue internships over the summer, though these typically do not come with academic credit.

Studying abroad is another way to supplement and expand upon learning that takes place in the classrooms in Glenside. Political science majors study away through Arcadia’s College of Global Studies at sites in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and more. International internships are also available through Arcadia’s College of Global Studies.  While abroad you may also do an internship in the British, Scottish, or Irish parliaments.

Finally, students have the opportunity to participate in and travel with an award-winning Model UN team. This allows studies to experience how the United Nations, an intergovernmental organization, works to address global issues.

Senior Capstone

The Senior Capstone Project is the opportunity for students to bring four years of coursework and academic and personal experiences together by engaging in an extended project. Political Science majors complete a two-semester Capstone course that challenges them to integrate their education, interests, and career plans into producing a polished research-based thesis and poster presentation.


Students must take 44 credits drawn from the courses listed below, with Undergraduate Curriculum requirements and electives to total 128 credits.

Four Political Science Electives

At least two of these courses must be at the 300 level or above. PS 330  can count as either a core course or a 300+ level elective, but not both. Internship course PS 380  can count toward the major but does not count as 300+ level elective courses. Any of the political science courses that are offered through Arcadia’s College of Global Studies can be used as Political Science electives.

Additional Information

It is expected that students will complete the required 100-level courses in their first year, and the required 200-level courses in their second year. Students must be on campus for their senior year in order to complete the Senior Thesis sequence.

Students are strongly encouraged to take PL 155 Applied Logic  and MA 141 Elementary Statistics  before taking PS 490 Senior Thesis Seminar .

Concentration Requirements

Study Abroad

At least one course/experience recommended.

U.S. Politics and Policy Concentration

A minimum of 20 credits of the 44 credits required for the major from the list below or study abroad courses with prior approval.

Secondary Education Certification in Social Studies

Students interested in secondary certification should consult with their disciplinary adviser and their School of Education adviser as early as possible, preferably freshman year. All Arcadia undergraduates seeking certification must have declared Secondary Education as a minor and formally apply into the teacher certification preparation program during the spring semester of their sophomore year. See the School of Education section of the catalog for Secondary Education certification requirements.

Related Graduate Study at Arcadia

  • Master of Arts in International Peace and Conflict Resolution (4+1.5 program; accelerated 4.5-year BA/MA program)
  • Master of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy (4+1.5 program; accelerated 5-year BA/MA program) – American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy in Paris, France

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Type