Political Science & Global Affairs

Anne Santiago, Ph.D., chair

Faculty: Curtis, Golesorkhi, Meiser, Santiago

The mission of the political science and global affairs program is to provide majors a solid foundation in the study of domestic and global politics and prepare students to become engaged citizens and leaders. It equips students with the knowledge and intellectual skills necessary to understand a complex, interdependent, and dynamic world and to navigate and positively shape its important political, legal, and economic institutions. The department offers introductory courses to all students and prepares its majors for careers in business, education, journalism, law, government, non-governmental, religious organizations, and for local, national, and international service. Our majors also have opportunities to extend their learning through internships.

The political science and global affairs major offers students a broad and analytically rigorous liberal arts curriculum and prepares them for graduate studies in political science, law, and other professional disciplines. The major, which covers the fields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory, is designed to provide an understanding of politics centered around a set of specific strategies for gathering and analyzing information about political life. These strategies — conceptual, historical, structural, institutional, behavioral and normative — are explored in the light of their respective theoretical materials.

Learning Outcomes for Political Science & Global Affairs Majors

Political science and global affairs graduates of the University of Portland will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate elementary knowledge within three areas of the discipline of political science--American Politics, world politics, and political theory--that will serve as the building blocks for mastery of the discipline over time.
    1. Demonstrate foundational knowledge of key concepts, theories and discourses within American politics, world politics, and political theory.
  2. Understand and demonstrate a foundational knowledge of methodological approaches in political science.
    1. Understand the role that theory plays in guiding methodological decisions within research.
    2. Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamentals of conducting research in political science for a variety of methodological approaches.
  3. Demonstrate advanced knowledge/mastery of political science subfields, including international relations, comparative politics, American politics, and political theory by critically assessing their key concepts, theories, and discourses.
    1. Identify and explain the key concepts, theories, and discourses of the scholarly research within the subfields of the discipline.
    2. Critically evaluate the key concepts, theories, and discourses of scholarly research within the subfields of the discipline.
  4. Analyze and apply key concepts, theories, and discourses in at least one of the four subfields of political science.
    1. Articulate a critical analysis of a problem within political science through a research paper (18-25 pages) that establishes a novel research question, clear thesis, cogent argumentation and conclusions, and that properly engages the relevant scholarly literature in the given field.
    2. Within this research paper, apply the fundamentals of a research design as mastered in POL 250 Political Inquiry and Analysis.

Capstone Experience

The political science and global affairs capstone experience provides students an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in scholarly inquiry and analysis. This is carried out in 400-level courses where students explore the scholarly literature and conduct analytically focused research projects. Students who are interested in graduate school or who are in the honors program also have the option of completing a senior thesis under the direction of a member of the faculty.

Philosophy, Politics, and Policy

Students interested in integrating an emphasis on policy with a double major in political science and global affairs and philosophy should consult the chairs of the philosophy and political science and global affairs programs.