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Updated 2012-2013 Undergraduate and Graduate Academic Catalog

PDF of Political Science

Political Science


Thomas Beech, Patrick Donnay


Department of Political Science
Phone: (218) 755-2880
Fax: (218) 755-2822

Political science is the study of political systems and how they function. It has its origins in the fourth century B.C., when Aristotle set out to classify governments. Today it encompasses four major focus areas: International Politics, including the behavior of countries, trade regimes, and theories of war; American Politics, including political parties, interest groups, and legislative, judicial, and executive powers; Comparative Politics, including the nature of democracy and comparison of parliamentary and other political systems; and Political Theory, including philosophical considerations such as what constitutes a good society.

Students of political science gain an understanding of the political nature of the contemporary world, from simple acts such as choosing products as consumers to the complexity of global politics in the information age. As governments and the private sectors of society become more intermingled, political scientists become more valued for their understanding of how both systems work and for their reasoning and analytical skills. Majors in political science are prepared for entry level positions in a variety of fields and for graduate study. Advanced degrees in political science offer the applied skills often necessary for professional advancement.

Note: Good writing and computer skills are essential to political scientists. Students are encouraged to develop their writing skills by taking ENGL 2152 Argument and Exposition, and their computer skills by taking CS 1107 Introduction to Computers.

Career Directions

Interest Groups
International Organizations
Also: Graduate Study


Recommended High School Courses
Social Studies
Recommended Activities
Reading Newspapers
Attention to News Events