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Political Science

Political Science

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"Take every opportunity that is given to you because those opportunities simply do not exist at any other educational institution."

Rachel Zanders
Alum, Political Science and French Double Major

Is there any advice you can give to an incoming CHC student about to begin a liberal arts education?

"Take every opportunity that is given to you because those opportunities simply do not exist at any other educational institution. Get to know your professors, especially within your department, for they are the ones that will know you the best and know the most beneficial opportunities for you.

"Take every class taught by Dr. Reich and do NOT miss a single one. Most importantly, pet the campus dogs every time you see them and always take a moment to really let the beauty of the campus soak in."

Can you explain your current job position, the company and the role you serve there?

”I am the youth representative to the United Nations for the non-profit, United Nations affiliated organization, Global Education Motivators (GEM). GEM works in aiding both the local community as well as the global community to meet the constant challenges of an advancing, global society. As the youth representative, I have been able to work side by side with UNICEF and their Voices of Youth platform in reaching children from around the globe and creating conversation cross-culturally via the online platform.”

How did you end up in your current position/field?

"The head of my department, and a wonderful professor, told me about GEM and motivated me to get in touch with the president of the organization. I had an internship with them during college, so the organization knew my personality, my resume, my interests, etc. Therefore a formal interview was not needed however career development offered “mock interviews”, resume building, tips for interview attire, and provided information to aid in the entirety of the job application process."

Rachel's Experience
Program Information

Through the Political Science program, you will grow into an actively involved, engaged and thoughtful global citizen. Through courses that range from Constitutional Law to the Politics in the Middle East, the program is diverse, flexible and allows students to discover their niche and follow their specific interests. Along the way, students will cultivate several "hard" and "soft" versatile and transferable skills that are crucial in today's 21st century work environment. The political science graduate obtains a background in research, critical thinking, technical proficiency, issue awareness, and various leadership traits needed in service to the public good such as compassion, empathy, and initiative for change.

The program's faculty bring years of academic and non-academic experience into the classroom, all of which benefits the students. Due to small class sizes, professors can effectively prioritize their roles as teachers and mentors and develop close relationships with their students in the process. The faculty assists the students from acceptance to the college and beyond, helping students secure internships, establish meaningful connections and opportunities for paid research collaboration positions. In all, CHC professors are dedicated to seeing you succeed and will actively do what they can to make that happen.

Jobs After Graduation

Political Science is a competitive, flexible and well-regarded major that results in job opportunities across all job sectors: public, private, and non-profit. The skills acquired in the political science program and lead to diverse career paths including but not limited to:

  • Law and Public Policy
  • Federal, State and Local Government
  • Education (at all levels)
  • Issue Advocacy
  • Communications and Media
  • Public Relations
  • Data Analysis
  • Political Consulting

Here are the career tracks of some recent alums:

  • Prosecutor in the Navy JAG Corp
  • Staffer for Member of Congress, Rep. Madeleine Dean
  • Chief of Staff to State Representative Bradford
  • Liaison with the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and their child protection department
  • Staff for Global Education Motivators (GEM), an educational NGO dedicated to raising awareness among youth about the United Nations and the issues it engages
  • Research Analyst for the Mediterranean theater of operations at the Office of Naval Intelligence, U.S. Government
  • Recruiter for Intelligent Capital Network in Wayne, PA.
  • Associate Regulatory Reviewer at Digitas Health
  • Paralegal for the City of Philadelphia District Attorney's Office
  • Administrative Coordinator at the Chester County Food Bank
  • Assistant Director of Resident Life and Director of Residence Life Diversity Program at Cedar Crest College

There are numerous students that have entered post-graduate education. See below!

 

What Our Alumni Are Doing
Post-Undergraduate Education

Our students have gone on to post-baccalaureate studies in a variety of fields after they graduate including:

  • Temple University Graduate School College of Liberal Arts (recent alum in Masters of Public Policy and Masters of Public Health dual degree program)
  • Villanova University Graduate School College of Arts and Sciences
  • Temple University Law School
  • Villanova University Law School
  • Widener University Law School
  • University of Florida Law School
  • University of Pittsburgh Law School
  • Drexel University's Law School
  • Masters of Business Administration at Arcadia University's Global Perspective Program
  • Secondary Education certificate from Holy Family Graduate School
  • Master's in Higher Education from West Chester University
  • Masters of Business Administration at Eastern University
Major Requirements

Political Science majors are required to take:

Course Credits
One American Politics elective 3
One Comparative Politics elective 3
One International Relations elective 3
One Political Theory elective 3
One Political Science Writing Intensive Course (either PSCI315 Politics of the American Presidency or PSCI330 Politics of the Middle East) 3
Seven additional electives from any area (American, Comparative, International Relations, or Political Theory) 21
One Public Speaking course (COMM253: Public Speaking) 3
One Technological Proficiency course (CMTC203: Data Analysis Using MSExcel or CSEC140: Legal Issues in Cybersecurity or CMDF281: Introduction to GIS Mapping) 1 credit (minimum)
Senior Seminar in Political Science 3
Total 43 credits

For more information, click here to read the course catalog (see page 132). 

Select Course Descriptions:

PSCI113: Introduction to American Government

An introduction to the structure and functions of the American federal government. Topics for analysis include: the origins of the American Constitution, U.S. political culture, political parties and interest groups, the structure and functioning of the Congress and the Executive, and impact of the Supreme Court on public policy.

PSCI118: Mass Media and Politics

Explores the various types of media, government regulation of the media, the gathering and distribution of political news, and media use in election campaigns.

 

PSCI130: Rule of Law

 

A basic survey course of government regime types. Rule of law (liberal democracies) are compared to rules of men (autocracies, one-party states and monarchies) and rules of religious leaders (theocracies) as these regime types have been found in the past and present. Special emphasis is given to the challenge of creating a rule of law in newly established democracies.

PSCI212: American State and Local Government

Looks at the organization and functions of state and local government under our federal system as well as the rights and duties of citizens within their communities, with particular emphasis on government and citizenship in Pennsylvania.

PSCI214: Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties

Examines the Supreme Court's role in determining the limits of the civil rights and liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion and other protections of the Bill of Rights.

PSCI218: Race and the American Political System

Investigates the impact of race on American government and politics. Theories and methodologies for studying race will be examined. The role of race will be discussed concerning political parties, campaigns and elections, governing institutions, and past and present social movements.

PSCI232: Comparative Democracy

An exploration of various types of "government by the people," with emphasis on issues as well as challenges of political participation, market capitalism, civil society, public policy and homeland security in five mature democracies: the United States, Britain, India, Japan and Israel.

PSCI235: Government and Politics of Europe and the European Union

Explores the politics and governments found in European countries today and the relationship between "Europe" and the European Union (EU). Students will investigate how questions surrounding EU politics profoundly impact the national politics of individual European countries. Students will investigate various national political arenas in European states, especially those of Britain, Germany, and France.

PSCI240: Theories of International Relations

A critical examination of the major theoretical approaches of international relations, focusing on both historical and current issues in international security and international political economy. Classic concepts such as anarchy, balance of power, the security dilemma, the shadow of the future, public goods, interdependence, free markets, and non-state actors are discussed and applied to contemporary case studies such as the NATO alliance, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Persian Gulf War, U.S.-China relations, and others. 

PSCI241: American Foreign Policy

 

An exploration of national interests, principles, and grand strategies that have animated US foreign policy debates and actions throughout the 20th century and at the start of the new millennium. Topics include the foreign policy decision-making process, problems of national security, and strategies for trade and monetary policy in the international economy.

PSCI242: International Organizations, Law and Public Policy

Considers the role of international organizations and international law in promoting world order and in creating international public policy. Topics include peacekeeping, nuclear proliferation, world health, economic development, environmental, and food and agriculture issues.

PSCI315: Politics of the American Presidency

Explores the American Presidency through the lens of the various institutions of American government and politics. Class lectures and discussions investigate how the office has evolved over time, how the Presidency interacts within the executive branch and with the legislative and judicial branches, the nature of the President's relationship with the public, and an examination of the policymaking powers of the President.

PSCI316: Constitutional Law: Public Policy

An investigation of the impact of constitutional law on the formation of American public policy. The debate on the proper policy role of the judiciary is explored, and the constitutional powers and constraints on the executive and legislative branches to make policy are analyzed. Leading Supreme Court decisions in the areas of intergovernmental relations, commerce, science and technology are examined and discussed.

PSCI321: Political Theory: Ancient to Medieval

Explores the works on major political philosophers in early world history and focuses on such concepts as justice, freedom, and equality as well as the nature and the function of the state. Students will investigate the relevance of early philosophical insights for contemporary political challenges.

PSCI322: Political Theory: 17th Century to 20th Century

An analysis of the writings of selected modern world political philosophers and the influence of their ideas on present political structures. Issues discussed include the problem of political obligation, freedom vs. totalitarianism, the social contract, forms of government, and revolution.

PSCI330: Government and Politics of the Middle East

Compares authoritarian, monarchical and democratic regime types found in the Middle East, focusing on the impact of religion, colonialism, the Cold War, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the blessings/curses of oil across the region.

PSCI341: International Political Economy

Explores theories and issues in international political economy, focusing on the political consequences of global economic relations. Students will investigate both historical and current challenges in international political economy.

PSCI498: Senior Seminar in Political Science

Designed to be the capstone experience for political science majors and requires students to reflect on the integrated nature of coursework they have completed while pursuing the major. Students will submit a research paper that explores a topic according to the standards of the discipline. Students will also give a poster or oral presentation on their research topic.

 

Select Course Descriptions
Learning Outside of the Classroom

At its very nature, Political Science is a practical, real-world subject with lasting, real-world implications. It is not meant to be taught out of a book but rather lived through first-hand experiences and activism. To that end, the political science program is instrumental to the planning and implementation of co-curricular events related to government, political, and civic engagement. This is accomplished through the vigorous activity of SPSA (Students Political Science Association) and the Alpha Theta Tau chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha (National Political Science Honor Society).

SPSA, a student-centered division of the Association for Political Science (APSA)

Open to all students but encouraged especially to political science majors and minors, SPSA raises awareness of local, national and global issues through events surrounding campaigns and elections, national holiday remembrances, lectures, film showings, guest speakers, and interaction with the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania elected delegation. Additionally, SPSA regularly engages in educational and fun field trips that include:

  • participation in events such as Student Aid Advocacy Day, lobbying our elected delegation in the state capitol
  • engaging in a public policy debate with another area university in Philadelphia City Hall
  • touring Philadelphia Independence Hall and the Constitution Center in Philadelphia
  • attending a taping of the Daily Show in NYC
  • visiting Congress and the Supreme Court headquarters in Washington, DC

as well as remaining active on campus through activities that include:

  • promoting voter registration
  • running a mock presidential election
  • sponsoring academic talks and public policy forums
  • hosting activities in honor of National Constitution Day (Sept, 17)

Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society 

The mission of Pi Sigma Alpha is to stimulate scholarship and intelligent interest in political science as well as to promote the ideals of integrity and citizenship in local, national and global contexts. Chestnut Hill College is the Alpha Theta Tau chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha.

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Internships

Political science majors are encouraged to extend their classroom experience by taking on one or more internships throughout the course of their academic careers. Internships are critical in securing employment post-graduation but more than that, they allow an individual to grow and take their classroom knowledge and apply it in a real-world environment. Our students have obtained high level internships both in the Philadelphia area and beyond. Most recent internship placements: Office of Congressman Dwight Evans, Office of Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, Office of Philadelphia City Councilman David Oh, Office of Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Global Education Motivators (GEM), Office of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and numerous placements in private law practices.

Recent Placements
Recent Senior Seminar Projects

The Senior Seminar is a culminating point in the Political Science student experience - the capstone of the program in which students craft an original research project. Here are some of the most recent papers:

Ragen Baldwin 2021 "Is Congress Descriptively Representative of American Society At Large?"
David Cardamone 2021 "To What Extent Can Social Media Companies be Regulated and Under What Conditions Does Classification of Platform or Publisher Matter?"
Michael Mazurkivich 2020 "Speech Suppression and the Supreme Court: A Comparative Study of the McCarthy and Trump Eras"
Hajrah Najam 2020 "The Migration of Syrian Citizens to the West"
Jordan Weinles 2020 "Does 'Clash of Civilizations' Theory or 'World Systems Theory' Better Explain Western Hegemony in the Post-Cold War Era?"
Thomas Repsik 2020 "The French Connection: The French Revolution of 1789 and its Impact on the Russian, Chinese, and Cuban Revolutions."
James-Owen Cutts 2020 "Donald Trump's Usage of Twitter as an Effective Form of Samuel Kernell's Theory of 'Going Public' as Compared to Franklin Roosevelt's Fireside Chats"
Marcus Snyder 2020 "The Political Socialization of Black-White Biracial Citizens"
Imani Boggs 2019 "Considering Benign and Malignant Media Framing Effects: Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Dr. Henry Louis Gates"
Adeeb Alsogaih 2019 "Secular Muslim Majority Countries and the Return to Religious Governments"
Richard Cotto 2019 "President Trump and Social Media: The New 'Going Public'?"
Matthew Kress 2019 "Media Politics and Athlete Activism in America"

 

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Contact Information

Jacqueline C. Reich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science
Coordinator, Political Science and International Affairs 
215.753.3630
reichj@chc.edu

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