As a political science major at La Salle, you’ll receive a rigorous and relevant education in the fundamentals of political inquiry.
Our goal is to turn you into both a highly-capable professional and an informed citizen. The Department provides our students with a strong grounding in each of the major sub-fields of political science – American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political thought – as well as with the analytic tools and approaches needed to be successful in their careers.
We educate our students to express themselves through a variety of formats, but particularly through the written word. We encourage our political science majors to become independent thinkers and pursue their own lines of research. Our faculty believes that it is important to equip students not only to understand the world, but also to think critically and make choices in pursuit of “the good life.”
Faculty in the Political Science Department host and participate in a number of events throughout the year for our majors and the wider La Salle community. Among these events are the annual Constitution Day Panel, the Lasallian Forum for Politics and Policy, film nights, and election night parties. They are also actively involved in supporting University initiatives like those of the Diplomat-in-Residence Program (DRP) and Explorer Cafés.
Lasallian Forum for Politics and Policy
The Lasallian Forum for Politics and Policy, established in 2010, brings informative speakers from a range of fields—federal, state, and local governments, nonprofits, law firms, court officials, campaign officials, lobbyists, and interest group activists—onto campus to talk about their work and career trajectory. The Forum aims to give students a firsthand account of each speaker’s field of practice and expose them to the multiple career opportunities in political science. Recent forum speakers and topics include:
Amilcar Moreira, Ph.D., Institute of Social Science, University of Lisbon, Portugal, “The Economic Crisis and European Labor Markets”
Michael Cleary, Esq., Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, former military officer in Iraq and Kuwait, “Issuing Warrants: Pursuing”
Karen Kaiser, Esq., Associate General Counsel for The Associated Press and La Salle alumnus Thomas Curley, former CEO of The Associated Press, “Government Seizing Phone and E-Mail Records”
Jamie Malanowski, author and journalist, “Commander Will Cushing: Daredevil Hero of the Civil War”
The Political Science Department offers two awards to each graduating class for outstanding academic achievement.
Political Science Department Academic Award
This Departmental Award is given each year to the graduating student with the highest cumulative grade point average (GPA). The award is given during Commencement Weekend at a special awards luncheon for all Department winners and their families.
Joseph V. Brogan Senior Research Seminar Award
Inaugurated in 2011, the Joseph V. Brogan Award, named in honor of Dr. Joseph Brogan, ’72, who taught political theory in the Department from 1987 to 2009, is given each year to a graduating senior to honor excellence in undergraduate student research. The award is given to the best paper produced in the senior seminar classes. The award winner is presented with a plaque after graduation and his/her name is engraved on a larger plaque maintained in the Department.
Courses in this Major
Political science majors at La Salle have the opportunity to take courses from a variety of disciplines across the University. Here is a sample of some of the courses:
POL 120: Governments of Western Europe
This course is an introduction to European politics, with a focus on the political, social, and economic changes over the past 200 years. While focusing on a select number of countries, including Britain, France, and Germany, the course also examines the development of the European Union and the challenges of regional economic integration. It is required of all political science majors. The requirements include a minimum of 10 to 12 pages of academic writing.
POL 310: Political Parties and Elections
This course provides a view of the political problems of the United States as revealed in the major and minor political parties that have arisen during the country’s history.
POL 319: Courts, Judges, and Judging
This course offers an introduction to the development of the Common Law, tracing the rise of courts and the expanding role of judges in England and the United States from the Magna Carta to the Constitution of 1789, discussing the rise of judicial review in the United States, and concluding with an exploration of the competing ways in which current Supreme Court Justices view their role and their power in a democratic society.
POL 341: Globalization and International Decision-Making
This course offers an analysis of the increasing functional obsolescence of the nation state under the pressures of transnational problems such as drugs, AIDS, and the environment. The emergence of regional and international organizations such as the European Community, the Organization of African States, and the Association of South East Asian Nations to meet these challenges are also addressed. The course is required of all political science majors.
"The professors in the Political Science Department are not only accomplished scholars, but were mentors who challenged you to think beyond the conventional, and to always look for the greater good."
— Ricardo R. Johnson, ’07 Associate General Counsel, Carefirst BlueCross Blue Shield
Blaze Your Own Path
Careers and Internships
The approach of the Department is unique, reflecting not only our Lasallian mission, but also our commitment to giving students the kind of education that will benefit them in graduate school, law school, and throughout their career. As a political science major, students will not only receive a top-notch education in line with the Lasallian mission, but also numerous opportunities to learn through internships and political activism. In our program, internships are encouraged. Students find themselves well-prepared and their internships often lead to career opportunities after graduation.
With a solid foundation in the four major sub-fields of political science – American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political thought – your career opportunities could take you in a range of directions. Backed by their own first-hand ability to research, think critically, make evidence based arguments, and address political and policy issues, students will be competent and prepared to handle the field and what comes their way. Our graduates have found themselves in high-level government positions, nonprofits, institutions of higher learning, and more. Our students have participated in internships or received jobs at:
National Constitution Center
United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Environmental Protection Agency Region III
The final project of every political science major is a 35 page independent research project. This is the students’ chance to bring together all of their theoretical and practical knowledge and present an evidence-based claim to the faculty. Upon choosing their topic, students gain hands-on experience in organizing and presenting data and evidence in a clear persuasive writing style. Students have used their completed research when applying to graduate school, law school, national scholarships, grants, and positions in their field. Two of our recent graduates have even gone forth to receive prestigious Fulbright awards for teaching and researching in foreign countries using the fundamental skills in research learned at La Salle. Some past student research topics include:
Constitutionality of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Environmental pollution and political mobilization among minority communities
Sources of strength for ISIS and other jihadi groups
Explanations for the gender wage gap in the United States
Political polarization and populism in the United States
Comparative development trajectories among Asian states
After receiving your bachelor’s degree in political science from La Salle you’ll have the skills needed to take you to the next step in your education. Many of our majors choose to pursue a second degree in a related subject or further their education in law school. Regardless of the path they’ve taken, our graduates have found themselves competent writers, persuasive arguers, and well equipped to critically think about domestic and global political and policy issues. Our students have pursued master’s degrees at colleges and universities such as:
In the political science program we offer specialized courses in constitutional law, environmental law, financial regulation law, and theories of jurisprudence. Our goal is to expose students to law level classes before they make their decision to go to law school. Beyond these classes, all our courses are designed to prepare students to use logic and reasoning skills, as well as develop persuasive arguments and produce evidence-based writing to ready them for law schools like:
It’s important to do what makes you happy. La Salle provides students with so many different clubs and activities that it is hard to not find one you love. Now that I am a second semester senior, I’m going to miss all of the activities I got to be a part of that truly made […]
Ludmille Glaude is a shining example of a student who used the opportunities La Salle provided to blaze her own path. Upon coming to La Salle, she immediately carved a spot for herself as an Explorer by getting involved on campus. She’s on the women’s club rugby team, former president of the African American Student League, and tirelessly addresses issues of social injustice in the world, using her voice to help others find their own.
It’s important to do what makes you happy. La Salle provides students with so many different clubs and activities that it is hard to not find one you love. Now that I am a second semester senior, I’m going to miss all of the activities I got to be a part of that truly made me happy. (more…)
Ludmille Glaude, ’18
Ludmille Glaude is a shining example of a student who used the opportunities La Salle provided to blaze her own path. Upon coming to La Salle, she immediately carved a spot for herself as an Explorer by getting involved on campus. She was on the women’s club rugby team, former president of the African American Student League, and tirelessly addresses issues of social injustice in the world, using her voice to help others find their own. She used that same voice to introduce former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama when she spoke on campus in 2016. “Meeting her was definitely a highlight of my time at La Salle,” she says. “It was an amazing opportunity that I will never forget.” Majoring in political science, international relations, and Spanish with a religion minor, Ludmille plans to continue using her voice and education to make a difference in the world. “I want to be an ambassador,” she says. “Having lived in Haiti as a child, I always saw myself as a global citizen, so if I can help people with policy change and travel the world, that’s the dream.” Ludmille recognizes Philadelphia is the perfect city to explore her passions and to help fulfill her dreams. With so many internship opportunities available in a city as large as Philadelphia, she’s already had several internships which have helped her build an impressive resume. But, she says the friendly community has been her favorite part of La Salle. “I feel very blessed because every single person I’ve encountered has helped me in some way,” she says.
Beyond the Classroom
92% of graduates are employed, volunteering full-time through service programs or pursuing additional education full time within one year of graduation.
Ranked in Forbes 2017 Top U.S. Colleges.
83% of faculty hold a Ph.D. or the highest degree in their field.
Listed by the New York Times in the Top 6% for median income of graduates at age 34.