Academic Catalog

Political Science

The Political Science Department at Benedictine College seeks to cultivate tomorrow’s leaders by immersing them in what Aristotle called the architectonic study. Here the timeless questions of political life meet the current debates. Through the study of primary texts as well as contemporary sources, students will learn about their own political community: its history, founding, principles, institutions, laws, challenges, and how these have been met. In addition, they will discover the political communities of others and the institutions and principles by which these interact with our own. What sets our program apart from other politics programs grounded in the Western tradition is its alignment with the Catholic education Benedictine College offers. Our students do not check their faith at the door but are taught to bring it—and the Church’s two thousand years of experience of the interacting with the state—into the conversation as a guiding light.

The Department takes seriously Benedictine College’s mission to Transform Culture in America. In her 2021 Convocation Address, Vice President and Executive Director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty Montse Alvarado told students that it is only a matter of time before a Benedictine alumnus/alumna becomes President of the United States. Whether as presidents, lawyers, representatives, administrators, or as leaders in their communities, our students will be prepared for their vocations.

Internship/Service Learning

The department recommends that every major in political science completes at least one guided, practical program such as a local internship; a structured service-learning  experience; a semester in Washington, D.C.; an international travel program; placement with a state or local agency or an administrative, legislative or judicial assignment. The department develops these opportunities and matches students, depending on their interests and skills. When possible, the curriculum provides academic credit for such programs.

Travel Opportunities

The department conducts travel experiences that advance discovery learning. Students have attended the American Political Science Association annual meeting; presented papers at regional and national conferences; immersed themselves in presidential politics at the Iowa caucuses since 2000; taken trips to Washington, D.C.; toured and conducted research at presidential libraries; and attended a presidential inauguration. Departmental faculty coordinates and supervises these experiences.

Law School and Graduate Study

The political science major is an excellent preparatory course for the student seeking admission to law school. The combination of constitutional and policy studies equips students with the requisite body of theory and practice associated with success in law school.

Political science majors who plan on graduate studies in this discipline should enrich themselves with upper-division coursework.

Career Paths for the Political Science Major

Political science is an excellent portal to many careers. These include foreign service, public administration, law, policy advocacy for corporations and tax-exempt organizations, management within industries that are highly globalized or regulated, and administration in trade and professional associations.

Students who plan to earn certification to teach social sciences in elementary or secondary schools will coordinate their curricular requirements with the college’s departments of education and of political science, among others.