Office: E370 Thompson Hall
David Rankin, Chairperson
Political science is a liberal arts discipline designed to prepare students as informed citizens and leaders in contemporary society. A major in Political Science must take a minimum of 36 credit hours within the discipline. The credit hours are divided into required core courses, upper-division courses selected from different subject areas, and the capstone seminar.
Fredonia graduates hold responsible positions in businesses and corporations as well as in federal, state, and local governments. Following completion of their study at SUNY Fredonia, some students continue their education in graduate or law school. The latter become attorneys in the public and private sectors. The department has regular advisory meetings on careers for its majors and sponsors a variety of internships. Each year the department selects students to spend a semester in Washington, D.C. Selectees may be either majors or non-majors, but must be juniors or seniors at the time they go to Washington. Fifteen (15) credit hours are granted for participation in the program.
Similar in structure to the Washington Semester Program but with residence in Albany, the Albany Semester Program provides an internship with a state agency or the New York State Legislature. It earns 15 credit hours. The Department of Political Science also offers a number of internships in local government and local law-related agencies.
Political Science majors are encouraged to satisfy General Education distribution requirements with courses in history and economics where possible. They are also advised to consider these departments in their selection of electives.
Students wishing to teach political science in the secondary schools may obtain provisional certification by completing the Social Studies Adolescence Education program (see the History section of the catalog).
Candidates in all education programs are required to demonstrate competence in a foreign language. This requirement must be satisfied in any one of the following ways:
- Score of 85 percent or higher on New York State Regents Exam. Requirement is fulfilled.
- Scores of 65 percent - 84 percent on High School N.Y.S. Regents Exam: Student needs to take an Elementary I level course or an Elementary II level course of a language or equivalent course(s) or successfully complete an equivalent SUNY Fredonia proficiency exam.
- Scores below 65 percent on High School N.Y.S. Regents Exam or if student did not take a N.Y.S. Regents Exam: Student needs to take an Elementary I level course and an Elementary II level course of the same language or equivalent. The College Core Curriculum foreign language requirement differs from the certification requirement and must be satisfied for degree conferral.
The procedure to be followed for admission to the professional sequence of courses is described in the Education portion of the catalog. For updated information on the department, its programs and faculty, students should consult the department web site.
The Department of Political Science also provides the Interdisciplinary Studies - International Studies major and minor programs for the campus. See International Studies for program information.
Awards, Activities and Organizations
The department is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national Political Science Honor Society. Outstanding undergraduates are encouraged to apply, and need not be political science majors to qualify for membership.
Fredonia also operates a chapter of Sigma Iota Rho, honor society for International Studies. Students who are interested in membership should contact the coordinator of the International Studies program within the Political Science department.
The Department of Political Science gives at least three scholarships to entering freshmen, good for two years, based on merit: the Political Science Alumni Scholarship, the Political Science Department Faculty Scholarship and a J.R. Soukup Freshmen Award.
The Department of Political Science annually gives the Erna G. and J. Murdoch Dawley Award to the outstanding graduating senior in Political Science. The endowed award is given at the conclusion of the spring term. A J.R. Soukup Pi Sigma Alpha Award is given annually in the spring term to the outstanding junior who not only demonstrates scholarship but is pursuing studies and/or a career in some form of private or public community service.
The department awards the John R. Quatroche Jr. Award to a Political Science student who demonstrates an outstanding record of involvement in extracurricular affairs, campus service and leadership.
Political Science majors can belong to the student Political Science Association, which organizes a variety of activities. These include trips to Washington, D.C., career days, election year debates, voter registration projects, parties, and others. Political Science majors may also participate in the Mock Trial program and competitions and in the annual simulation of European Union policy deliberations, in which many U.S. and European colleges and universities participate.