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    Jerome Foss
    Dr. Jerome Foss
    Assistant Professor of Politics

     Aristotle opened my mind to a completely different way of thinking. All I wanted to do was learn more—to understand more deeply.

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    Dr. Gary M. Quinlivan, Dean
    Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government
    Phone: 724-537-4597

    gq@stvincent.edu 
     

Home > Majors and Programs > Politics
  • Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government 

    The Politics Program

    Politics has been a subject of study from ancient Greece to the present day. For Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, the word politics referred to the activities of the city, the polis. The city, Aristotle taught, is that association that allows a complete human life to be lived. But not every activity of the city promotes the complete human life, or happiness in a comprehensive sense. Political science, originally understood, was the study of the city’s activities in order to understand which modes of political organization were best suited to promoting human happiness. That study, however, had to begin with the question of human happiness itself: What is human nature? Of what does the complete human life consist? How does such a life relate to the city? These are the questions of political philosophy, and no political science is complete without reference to them.

    The Politics Department at Saint Vincent College is unique in the extent to which it promotes an understanding of the nature of political phenomena and their relationship to a life not simply lived, but lived well. To this end, the Department offers a curriculum firmly rooted in the Great Books of Western civilization and the great political writings of the American tradition. Along with philosophical grounding, the program seeks to provide analytical competence to understand the contemporary political environment, to address public policy questions, and to contribute intellectually and practically to the sociopolitical challenges of our times. The Department encourages students to see politics whole, recognizing the intimate relationship that exists between wisdom gained through philosophical inquiry, and political knowledge gained through empirical and analytical research. The Department thus helps to fulfill the liberal arts mission of the college. It also takes seriously its obligation to provide civic education: to cultivate the well-educated citizens and scholars who are essential to the long-term flourishing of a constitutional republic.
    •  NRO Politics AdNationally renowned faculty.
    • Politics curriculum firmly rooted in the Great Books of Western civilization and the great writings of the American political tradition.
    • Saint Vincent's Center for Political and Economic Thought hosts some of the most active and esteemed speaker and conference programs in the United States--all dedicated to the scholarly exposition of freedom, Western civilization, and the American experience.
    • Nestled in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, Saint Vincent is an easy drive from most locations in the Northeast and Midwest.

       

    Politics courses are designed to promote the following learning objectives:

    • To present, engage, and understand the fundamental ideas that have shaped political life, particularly the political life of Western civilization. These ideas often conflict with one another, and are best approached at their source, namely through the Great Books.
    • To promote patriotic yet analytical citizenship through a close study of the American regime. Courses concentrate on the principles, institutions, and policies under which Americans have lived. A distinctive feature of the Department is its emphasis on American political thought, which requires close study of the principles of the American founding, as well as competing principles.
    • To provide students an education in the liberal arts; that is to say, those arts particularly conducive to the cultivation of free citizens, and essential to political life in a republic. This includes the abilities and dispositions necessary to engage in public discussions on a variety of topics, both orally and in writing. Such abilities and dispositions include civility and respect for one’s interlocutors, analytical tools for assessing arguments, and rhetorical skills to present persuasively one’s own views. Responsible use of any education or ability is essential; the Department therefore does not divorce politics from ethics. 
    • To prepare students for a variety of careers and professions after graduation, including in law, business, nonprofit organizations, public administration, public office, international affairs, and academia. The Department thus takes an active role in helping students prepare for graduate and professional schools. The Department also actively assists students in finding internships and related experience.
       

    Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Politics:

    Major Requirements (33 credits)

    Principles of American Politics - 3 credits
    Classical Political Thought - 3 credits
    Modern Political Thought - 3 credits
    International Politics - 3 credits or Comparative Politics - 3 credits
    Institutions - 3 credits
    American Political Thought - 3 credits
    Constitutional Law: National Powers - 3 credits or Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties - 3 credits
    Domestic Public Policy - 3 credits
    Senior Thesis - 3 credits
    Politics electives (Any PS class except PS 550) - 6 credits

    Requirements for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Politics:

    Major Requirements (40 credits)

    Principles of American Politics - 3 credits
    Classical Political Thought - 3 credits
    Modern Political Thought - 3 credits
    International Politics - 3 credits or Comparative Politics - 3 credits
    Institutions - 3 credits
    American Political Thought - 3 credits
    Constitutional Law: National Powers - 3 credits or Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties - 3 credits
    Domestic Public Policy - 3 credits
    Senior Thesis - 3 credits
    Politics elective (Any PS class except PS 550) - 6 credits
    Statistics I - 3 credits
    Econometrics or Statistics II - 3 credits
    Calculus I - 4 credits

    Graduate Study

    Candidates for the B.A. or B.S. degree who plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Politics, Government, or Political Science generally will have to show competence in one or two foreign languages as well as quantitative skills. We suggest that students contemplating such graduate studies consider taking foreign language courses beyond the intermediate level. The quantitative skill requirement for graduate school varies.

    Public Affairs and Public Administration

    For those seeking master’s degrees in public policy and public administration, it would be advantageous to complete BA 100, BA 101, EC 201, EC 202, BA 350, and EC 360. Students should have further discussions with their advisors.

    International Affairs

    For those seeking master’s degrees in international relations or allied fields, it would be advantageous to pursue two foreign languages, and to complete EC 201, EC 202, BA 350, EC 360, EC 351, and EC 353.
     

    Pre-law concentration: students in either the B.A. or B.S. tracks are advised to take both PS 339 and PS 369.

    Minor in Politics  

    (An excellent pre-law minor for students in other fields) A minor in Politics requires 18 credits. The following six courses are required: PS 100 PS 135 or PS 136 PS 290 PS 336 PS 339 or PS 369 PS 345

    Modern Political Thought
    Institutions
    American Political Thought Constitutional Law: National Powers
    Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties
    Principles of American Politics
    Classical Political Thought
    Domestic Public Policy

    Variations from above are possible with permission of the Chair of the Politics department. A student may choose, with the departmental advisor and with the consent of the Chair, a program designed to meet individual objectives.