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Program of Study

Because its effects are so immediately felt, political science is a field that’s often dramatized. But as television shows glorify leadership positions and the power that seems to come with them, they often miss the depth and importance of understanding organized government at a systemic level. Political scientists are those who know how to evaluate power divisions and societal constructs that will have lasting effects on citizens and systems around the world. At Loyno, you’ll develop a deep understanding of politics—how leadership is organized, what consequences come of global political action, and how political change affects our everyday lives. And with that understanding, we hope you’ll be one of the people who can help predict what’s coming next—and who can, whether through research, action, or leadership, keep our systems working for us.

Overview of Courses

In addition to a political science core, you will complete a capstone research project and select elective courses that tailor the program to your goals and interests. Here’s a sample of what you can expect to learn and do:

  • Introduction to American Government Structure 
    Development, powers, and limits of the federal government are discussed.
  • Comparative Government I
    The first half of the course explores the concepts, theories, and approaches of comparative politics. The second half analyzes the domestic politics of Great Britain, France, and Germany with a focus on how historical development has impacted the development of current political, cultural, and economic institutions.
  • History of Political Thought I
    This course approaches the development of political thought from a traditional view, employing cultural and intellectual history and traditional philosophy to review the social, historical, and political contexts of thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, and others.
  • Constitutional Law I
    Discussions include the origins of constitutionalism and the framing of the U.S. Constitution; nature and scope of judicial review; sources and nature of legislative and executive power; the commerce power and state power to regulate; and introduction to 14th Amendment due process.
  • International Relations
    This is a comprehensive, systematic study of fundamental principles that govern international politics.

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Core Curriculum

Political Science is divided into four major subfields. We require courses in each, as well as our senior capstone course.

American Government

Pols 100--Intro to American Government
Pols 300/301--Constitutional Law I and II

Comparative Government

Pols 200/201--Comparative Government I and II

International Relations

Pols 315--International Relations

Political Theory

Pols 230/231--History of Political Thought I and II

The above named courses total 24 credit hours.  The remaining 4 courses (12 credit hours) needed to complete the major consist of Political Science electives, and a capstone course (discussed in more detail below).  We offer electives in each of the four major subfields.  Consult with your advisor on which electives to take, depending on your interests.

You are always free to take additional Political Science courses beyond the 36 credit hours required for the degree.

If you are interested in some particular area of political science and we do not offer a course that covers that area, consider doing an independent study for up to 3 credit hours.  Discuss independent study with your advisor. 

Capstone Course

In your senior year, you are required to enroll in our department’s capstone course. The centerpiece of this course is a research paper, but there will be class discussions and a variety of other exercises to help you put into focus the courses you have taken toward your major, how they have contributed to your Political Science education, and to evaluate the quality of the curriculum and your own accomplishments in the major.

Political Science Minor

A minor in political science requires 21 hours, made up of three hours each in American Government, Comparative Government, History of Political Thought, and International Relations, plus nine additional hours of advanced electives.

  • Introductions to American Government
  • Comparative Government I or II
  • History of Political Thought I or II
  • International Relations
  • POLS elective 
  • POLS elective
  • POLS elective


Political Science Course Information

Find out more about the Political Science major: