Ever wonder about the real power that lies behind the politicians we see every day? Is American power in decline? Why are we at war in Iraq and Afghanistan? How do questions of race, gender, class, or sexual orientation shape our world? Can human rights treaties really improve people's lives?
The politics major program invites students to explore answers to these questions and more by analyzing the nature of political power and how it is exercised in our nation and world. Beyond the study of government and institutions, politics courses focus on how social actors--from Wall Street investors to labor unions, from presidents to peasant movements--use a variety of power resources limited by their specific contexts to shape their lives.
Politics majors gain insight into public affairs, and improve their conceptual, analytical, critical and communication skills. Students explore timeless questions regarding justice, democracy, human rights, equality, and the appropriate relation of individuals to governments and of governments to one another.
In addition, students at Saint Mary's don't just study politics--they do it! Politics courses often engage community partners as part of our curriculum through service learning projects and community based research arranged by SMC's Catholic Institute for LaSallian Social Action (CILSA).
The faculty have recently added several new special topics courses to our regular course offerings in the four major subfields of politics: American politics (including public administration), political theory, international relations, and comparative politics. The department advises students to divide their work among these four subfields, although a concentrated major may be advised in a particular case. The department also recommends coursework in related disciplines such as economics, history, or philosophy.