Department Chair: Luigi Bradizza, Ph.D.
Aristotle described political science as the "highest and ruling science" for human actions because it aims at the human good in the most comprehensive sense. Those who study political science inquire into the permanent questions of justice and the good life, as well as the particular, urgent decisions facing leaders and citizens in the United States and the international arena. The Department of Political Science and International Relations provides students with essential knowledge of institutions and regimes, legislation and constitutional law, diplomacy and war, while also grounding students in the teachings of the great political philosophers.
Our program offers a major and minor in Political Science, a Master of Arts degree in International Relations, and an online Ph.D. degree in International Relations/Area Studies. Course work covers the full range of the discipline's subfields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations and political theory. Majors may complete a concentration in American Government and Public Law or in International Relations and Comparative Politics; alternatively, they may major without a concentration.
Led by a highly qualified, approachable faculty, our small classes provide students with the opportunity to interact closely with each other and with their professors. Our challenging curriculum hones students' skills of critical reasoning, research, writing, speaking, planning and organization, teaching them how to gather relevant information, form logical and clear arguments and articulate their thoughts. With this training, our majors are well prepared for both graduate programs and professional careers. While many attend law school, others find success in such fields as international relations, national intelligence, homeland security, law enforcement, lobbying, teaching, business, and the nonprofit sector.
Through the University's accelerated program, highly motivated and qualified undergraduates can earn both a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in international relations within five years.
Not more than three Political Science transfer courses, with the permission of the department chair, may be applied toward fulfillment of the major or minor. Majors and minors are required to achieve grades of C- or higher in all Political Science courses.
Students who declare the major beyond the sophomore year do not need to take the Gateway course at the 100-level but must take an additional upper level elective instead.
Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master's Degree Program Leading to a Master of Arts in International Relations
Salve Regina University offers an accelerated program of study that leads to both a bachelor's and a master's degree within five years. Political Science students, who plan to earn a graduate degree in international relations, may take advantage of this accelerated bachelor’s/master’s degree program. This program is designed for the University's highly motivated, academically talented and qualified undergraduates with a recommended grade point average of 3.30 or higher. Current undergraduates must complete the application process by February 15 of the junior year. Students interested in pursuing an accelerated bachelor’s/master’s degree program should contact their advisor as soon as they develop that interest.
Undergraduate students considered for the accelerated bachelor’s/master’s degree program are conditionally accepted into the master's program and may take four graduate courses (12 credits) during their senior year. Of these 12 credits, six are applied to the undergraduate degree. Final program acceptance is contingent upon successful completion of the undergraduate degree and four graduate courses in the senior year. The total number of credits required to complete the accelerated bachelor’s/master’s degree program is 150, 24 of which are graduate credits taken in the fifth year. Undergraduate students may register for no more than two graduate courses per semester and for a total of no more than four graduate courses while having undergraduate status.
Ph.D. Degree in International Relations/Area Studies
For information on this program, please see this page: https://salve.edu/international-relations-phd.
Political Science and International Relations Student Learning Outcomes
At the completion of the program, students will be able to:
- Know and communicate the core terms, concepts, and principles of political science, including the fundamental political questions and alternative answers articulated by the great political philosophers about the best political order and the good life, and the great tradition of Catholic political and social teaching.
- Demonstrate a sound understanding of the American political system, its founding, constitution, and institutions, and the development of its laws, political culture and foreign policy.
- Demonstrate a basic knowledge of international relations and the politics of other nations.
- Demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge of fundamental political principles, American and comparative politics, and international relations in a critical and well reasoned manner to important contemporary issues.
- Demonstrate the skills necessary for advanced study, professional excellence, and informed citizenship, including the ability to perform research and analysis, construct logical arguments, express complex theoretical arguments in both written and oral form, and maintain a high level of professional discipline and comportment.
- Identify the moral principles essential to political life and citizenship: courage, moderation, justice, and prudence, as well as the Catholic political and social teachings that direct human beings toward a world that is harmonious, just, and merciful. Explain how these principles may apply to specific circumstances.
An overview of American politics and Institutions from the Founding and the framing of the U.S. Constitution to today. Every student needs an understanding of the presidency, Congress, the Supreme Court, the media, political parties, interest groups, and the federal-state relations. Through reading the Constitution and other original documents, students learn fascinating and essential political concepts such as limited government, separation of powers, and the rule of law.
This course will introduce students to the long history of war and conquest, the achievements of diplomacy and cooperation, and the search for peace and justice among nations. We will confront the tensions between morality and national security, and we will learn from the examples of great political leadership.
In this course, you will read some of the most important texts of political philosophy, beginning with the greatest political thinkers of them all--Plato and Aristotle. Then, you will explore Christian political philosophy, diving into the texts of Augustine and Aquinas. By the end of the semester, you will have a deeper understanding of politics, human nature, and the great ideas that will underpin all political arguments.
In this course, we begin with the radical break from earlier political thought and trace the development of modern political philosophy into the 20th century, reading authors such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Nietzsche. These ideas constitute a crucial background for understanding the American Founding, modern law, and contemporary culture-in short, for understanding ourselves.
This course covers the origins, forms and forces of the nation-state system, the conduct and practice of diplomacy, and the analysis of major contemporary issues. Students will learn about the causes of war, examples of great (and terrible) leadership, and the changing balance of power from the beginning of the modern era to the 21st century. This course will provide essential background for understanding international relations and the world we live in today.
This course is an intensive investigation of America's national government, using key primary and secondary sources. The aim is to give the student a broad, deep, and rigorous understanding of our government. The course begins at the beginning, with a close look at the American founding. It then carefully examines federalism and the three branches of government. In addition to understanding the principles by which the various components of American government operate, we also study important and controversial Supreme Court cases that have affected our view of the government and our rights.
This course examines the roots of order in the United States by emphasizing certain institutions, customs, ideas and beliefs which continue to nurture order in the republic and the individual. We will examine, successively, the legacy of order received from the Hebrews, the classical culture of the Greeks and the Romans, the medieval world and the age of the Reformation, the turbulent civilization of the 17th century, the elegant civilization of the 18th century, and America's colonial experience. Examination of the Federalist Papers and the influence of the Founding Fathers on the establishment of our judicial branch of government will complete our study.
This course looks at how culture, history, and markets influence politics in different nation-states, and why political institutions and patterns of political behavior vary from one nation-state or region of the world to another. This is the foundational course for the comparative study of the different political systems around the world, together with their cultures, histories, and economies.
Students are placed under a mentor in any aspect of state government best suited to their individual interests and career goals (judge, public defender, legislator, department head, governor's office, etc.) Placement is tailored to each student. Requires once-a-week classroom meeting and 8-10 hours per week in placement. Department chair approval is required.
Special Topics courses are offered to supplement the educational experience with unique courses that are not part of the normal course offerings.
This course is an in-depth study of some of the most important streams of American political thought. We will examine early American Christianity, natural rights, constitutionalism, democracy, and the development of modern liberalism. We will also examine views that dissent from each of these major categories. Most of the readings in this course are considered to be essential to a thorough understanding of the political history of this nation.
This course discusses and evaluates various theories of economics and political development in Latin America, with a focus on the establishment, the frequent breakdown, and the reemergence of democratic political systems during the post-colonial era. The causes and consequences of both military regimes and modern revolutionary movements, as well as the impact of the United States foreign policy, will also be examined. The course provides an overview of politics and government throughout Latin America, but with a special emphasis on the nations of Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Cuba.
Civil war in Syria, Saudi oil, Islamist terrorism, the Iranian nuclear program, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--these and many other aspects of Middle Eastern politics make it essential for Americans to understand this region. This course traces the history of the region from the time of Muhammad to the present, then focuses on key countries and contemporary issues.
This course is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of independent African states. Attention is directed to the social, geographic, and economic settings; to the colonial experiences; and to the contemporary political situation.
This course focuses on the modern politics and history of Asia, one of the most important and rapidly changing regions in the world. Special emphasis is given to China, Japan, and India. Topics will include the effects of traditional cultures on modern politics, the rise of nationalism, democracy and authoritarianism, economic change, and international relations in the East Asian region.
Humanity has entered the Anthropocene, an epoch in which economic development produces profound and potentially irreversible effects on Earth, such as climate change, environmental degradation, and mass extinction of species. This course examines the environmental effects of poverty and economic growth, challenges to sustainable development, and the structure of relevant political, cultural, and economic institutions. The course will focus mainly on phenomena that are global in scope but will include domestic examples and applications.
Students develop the skills needed to research, write, present, and defend an original thesis. Topic may be in American politics, international relations, or comparative government. This course prepares majors for the senior thesis which is written the following fall. Junior academic standing and Political Science Majors are required.
Topics will reflect contemporary political issues in American Government not offered in degree or kind within standard curriculum.
Topics will reflect contemporary political issues in international and comparative government not offered in degree or within the standard curriculum.
Political science seniors will, under the direction of an advisor, engage in research in order to develop a major thesis paper on a topic of their choosing. After having learned the skills needed to research, write, document, present, and defend an original thesis in the POL-372 course, the senior Guided Research course will help the students practice those skills and put together an even more detailed, polished and professional thesis.
This course is designed to provide Political Science majors with the opportunity to present their senior thesis within a multi-media format and to successfully defend it.
Great legal and political controversies swirl around the Supreme Court. One root cause of this is a profound and enormously consequential dispute over how we should understand the meaning of the words in the Constitution. This course focuses on the origin and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court decision making, the constitutional structure of federal-state relations, and the constitutional powers of the three branches and their relationships to each other. Students will become familiar with landmark cases in the history of constitutional law.
Citizens and justice system professionals alike need to understand the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. This amendment provides citizens vital protection against an overly intrusive government. We will study the intellectual and legal roots of the Fourth Amendment and its development at the Federal and State level. By studying US Supreme Court cases, we will consider what it permits and forbids and why. We will then turn to recent controversies regarding racial profiling, NSA wiretapping, the Surveillance State and the War on Terror.
We will carefully study many important U.S. Supreme Court constitutional law cases that describe and develop our understanding of our constitutional rights and liberties-our freedom of religion, speech and press, the right of privacy, rights of the criminally accused, as well as rights concerning race, sex, and voting. We will supplement our study of these cases with an examination of some Founding Era documents that shed light on the original understanding of our rights and liberties and how this understanding has developed.
An examination of America's leadership role on the international scene from World War II to the present, with an analysis of the interrelationship of domestic and foreign issues. Open to students with sophomore academic standing or with permission of instructor is required.
This course looks at theories of integration, the integration process of the European Union, the dilemmas and challenges of integration and the relations between the European Union and Russia in the post-cold war period.
This course focuses on the interrelationship of Political Science and Economics, exploring the problems of economic growth and political policy in an increasingly integrated global system. It examines competing models (free market, state-led, Marxist, etc.) and analyzes institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization, that help manage international economic relations and investigates the moral and cultural questions raised by globalization.
Congress is a fascinating and centrally important political institution. It is a locus of intense and consequential political struggles. It is shaped by its structure, by the particular people who have been elected to it, and by the outside groups and individuals who pressure it. This course will greatly enhance your understanding of the American political system and the lawmaking process by means of a close study of what many consider to be the most powerful of the three branches. You will look at the theory, history, and practice of Congress, with an eye to understanding how and why Congress acts as it does.
This course provides an explanation of the institutional and political evolution of the presidency with an emphasis on the nature of presidential power in domestic and foreign affairs. Attention is also given to institutional conflicts with Congress and the Courts. The nature of presidential leadership and personality is also explored. Open to students with sophomore academic standing or with permission of instructor is required.
his course allows students to apply their skills and knowledge outside the classroom while gaining practice work experience at an approved agency.
Course work arranged for majors to pursue avenues of learning outside the existing offerings of the department.