The Department of Political Science, and the International Affairs Program, offer courses focusing largely on the study of political science, a liberal arts discipline which seeks to understand the political condition and potential of humanity.
The study of Political Science brings a student face-to-face with the issues and concerns of living in a complex world where some measure of public action is necessary to make life livable. Graduates enter the fields of law, public administration, teaching, political staff work and public relations staff work. Home of the pre-law program, international affairs program and the Mock Trial team.
Each of the department's three degree programs are designed to provide the student with a broad understanding of political phenomena suitable to a liberal arts degree. Thus, each, regardless of its specific content, requires courses in political philosophy, in American political institutions and processes and in comparative and/or international politics. In addition, the pre-law program is designed to prepare the student for a particular vocational goal.
The department's International Affairs Program provides a more interdisciplinary approach to the study of government and politics. The discipline of political science - and therefore the program of the Department of Government -is strongly committed to a liberal arts orientation. In concert with the rest of the university, the department believes also in linking traditional liberal arts preparation with meaningful career preparation through the inclusion of minor and supporting coursework and/or through student involvement in certificate programs in this, or other departments.
The department maintains close relations with the programs in criminal justice, and contains the International Affairs Program. In each, selected political science courses are required parts of the core curriculum.
The department maintains a dynamic internship program which provides practical experience with local political and governmental agencies and annually sponsors a winter quarter in Olympia, in which selected students intern with the Washington State Legislature. When possible, it is strongly urged that students include an internship as a part of their program.
In addition to external internships, students may gain practical experience through a combination of work/study and internship with a particular faculty member. Students qualifying for such programs assist the professor to whom they are assigned with research work in an area of the faculty member's interest. The department has an active faculty with diverse research interests who have produced books and monographs, presented papers at conventions of national and regional political science associations and of other, more specialized scholarly organizations and completed research grants funded by agencies of the government. The opportunity to assist in such work is of value particularly to those students planning to continue their studies, or to work in the public sector in areas necessitating faculty guidance in research techniques.
In the spring of 1982, the Nu Gamma Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honorary Society, was chartered at Eastern. This student organization serves as a vehicle for recognition of outstanding academic achievement in government and complements the department's participation in the University Honors Program. Pi Sigma Alpha sponsors a number of social and intellectual programs for students and faculty and with its help the department attempts to maintain contact with its graduates to make available to students their experiences and insights into the value of an education in government.
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