B.S. in Political Science

Our department offers a BS degree in political science that is unique and innovative. The program tightly integrates the traditional fields of American government and international relations in order to prepare students for a life and a career in an increasingly globalized world. In addition, the program incorporates into its curriculum courses in politics and life sciences and information technology. That is, the program focuses on the use of information technology for political organization and communication and the influence of recent advances in biology and biotechnology on how we understand ourselves as human beings and citizens. It is these aspects that make us stand out from other undergraduate political science programs.

The underlying assumption of the program is that public service is honorable and that it is possible for individuals to make a difference both locally and globally. The program will prepare principled leaders and responsible citizens for fruitful careers in the public and private sectors.

The program has many key features, including:

The Political Impact of Globalization. Our degree reflects a re-thinking of the political science in light of globalization, which has blurred the line between national and international politics. In order to address this phenomenon, the curriculum integrates the preexisting programs in American politics and international relations/comparative politics. Themes explored include the effect globalization has upon American democracy and the nation-state in general, foreign policy in the new emerging global order, problems in "global governance," and the effects of globalization on political decision-making.

Politics and the Life Sciences Track. Revolutionary developments in biomedical science and biotechnology, such as cloning, stem cell research, and psychotropic pharmacology touch upon fundamental questions concerning human dignity, equality, and the character of society. According to the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences, "In the 21st century informed leaders and citizens will need an interdisciplinary background" to not only understand the science behind these developments, but also their implications for human beings and community at large. The proposed program in political science has been designed to take into account these emerging issues with the inclusion of a track of courses in the interdisciplinary field of Politics and the Life Sciences, including some courses from the Biology Department. Themes will include the claims of the biological approach to politics, the application of evolutionary reasoning to political phenomena, such as the rule of law, international conflict, and property rights.

Digital Politics and the Information Age Track. While advances in computer and communication technology have changed the way we do business locally, nationally, and internationally, their impact on politics must be considered. Profound changes in the nature of technology and globalization are challenging hierarchical lines of authority and organization. New information technologies have permitted mass collaboration across organizational boundaries giving rise to new models of production, research, and development. The same technologies have empowered people to question their governments and their media, to challenge political parties and to organize themselves independently of party. Political science programs are only now beginning to study the impact of social networking, social computing and information technology on the political scene. The degree will explore the impact of information technology on political practice and the political community, as well as provides students with the technical skills to use state of the art information technology. Some courses from RIT's Information Technology department are included in the program.

Political Institutions Track. For students interested in a traditional political science degree, the department offers a track in political institutions. This track includes courses in Congress, the Judiciary, the Presidency and international law and institutions.

Faculty. The political science faculty has extensive experience in the classroom and well published in their fields of expertise. Faculty members have broad backgrounds in addition to their political science training, including literature, philosophy, political campaigning, and public policy. Several members have worked for polling organizations, the United Nations and Washington, DC think-tanks.

4+1 BS/MBA OptionóBusiness Administration. RIT's Saunders College of Business and the political science department in the College of Liberal Arts have negotiated a 4+1 BS/MBA option that would permit qualified students who have earned a BS degree in political science to accelerate their progress through the Saunderís College of Business MBA program. Waiver of selected MBA courses may be granted, based upon completion of certain undergraduate courses. Students may be able to complete the MBA program in as few as four or five academic quarters.

Double Majors. The political science program is designed to comply with RIT's emphasis on curricula creativity, flexibility and innovation. The program includes 5 free electives and its interdisciplinary and intercollegiate character ensures that pre-approved double majors in political science and other degree programs within the College of Liberal Arts and within the Institute as a whole will be readily available to students. Students in diverse fields such as Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Economics, and Philosophy have already signed up for double majors with political science.

Co-op, Internships and Study Abroad Experiences. Students of Junior status are eligible to take part in an optional experiential learning experience that may include an internship, co-op, or study abroad experience. An internship, co-op, or study abroad experience offers a fine opportunity for students to supplement their classroom learning with hands on experience in a variety of government agencies, non-profits, nongovernmental agencies and political campaigns. These opportunities can provide students with employment experience as well as the opportunity to further develop skills in their chosen profession. As one of the oldest and largest in the country, RIT's co-op program is known and respected by employers throughout the nation.

Career Opportunities. The degree will prepare undergraduates for careers in law, local, state and national government, foreign service, business, government relations, and other areas of the private and public sector in which knowledge of the political process and the strengths and limitations of modern democracy and modern society is appropriate. In addition, students will be prepared for graduate study in a variety of fields, ranging from business and law, to political science and public policy.