Welcome to the department of Political Science!
Political Science—the study of government and politics-deals with the perennial issues of power, authority, freedom, and order in societies and on the international scene. Just as the ancient Greeks used the word "idiot" to refer to one who took no interest in the affairs of the state, we believe that the study of political science is an essential part of the educational process.
The purpose of the program is to provide a liberal arts education with an emphasis in the study of political science. The program prepares students for a wide variety of careers as well as for active and discerning roles in the community.
- Sensitize students to the perennial issues of power, freedom, order, and authority in societies and on the international scene;
- Enable students to become more active and discerning citizens;
- Introduce majors and minors to the various subfields of the discipline;
- Assist in preparing students for graduate school, law school, and opportunities and/or post-baccalaureate careers.
Students majoring in political science can choose among five degree options, of which four are designed to further specific vocational objectives:
- Option 1: B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) Liberal Arts Emphasis - Designed for the student with a broad interest in political science.
- Option 2: B.S. (Bachelor of Science) Pre-Professional Emphasis - Designed for the student seeking graduate work in political science leading to a career in college teaching or research.
- Option 3: B.A. Pre-Law Emphasis - Designed for students intending to go to Law School.
- Option 4: B.S. Public Management Emphasis - Designed for students seeking either a position in government or graduate work in urban studies, public administration or urban planning.
- Option 5: B.A. International Affairs Emphasis - designed for students seeking either a career in the U.S. foreign service, a corporation doing business abroad, a non-governmental international organization, or teaching or research abroad.
The department offers a wide variety of courses out of which all majors choose a "core curriculum" of nine hours. Depending on the option selected, further specialized courses are taken in political science and related areas. There are a variety of options for off-campus study, including internships and the Washington Semester. Students can work with faculty on a one-to-one basis in independent studies or directed readings and are encouraged to master basic career skills-writing, research methods, problem-solving, and the ability to analyze problems.
Culminating the major is a required senior project which includes a significant advanced study which includes either an experiential or a written research component. Student organizations foster learning and interaction among students and faculty outside the classroom; these include a pre-law chapter of Phi Alpha Delta for pre-law students, the OCU delegation to the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature (OIL), Pi Sigma Alpha; the national political science honorary society, the College Republicans, and the Young Democrats.
Law School: This is an increasingly popular career track for students with a Political Science major. An advanced degree in law offers students a wide variety of specializations, the opportunity for a good paying career, and the satisfaction of being involved in public service. We have a track which we specifically recommend for Political Science majors who are considering law school.
Advanced Degree in Political Science: There are opportunities for those who wish to pursue a masters or doctorate in Political Science. Those who go on for a doctorate typically are interested in teaching or research at the university level. There are also specialized professional masters programs which can lead to an emphasis in public administration, public policy analysis, international relations, and political campaign management.
Many Political Science majors do go on to distinguished careers in the
business world. Political Science generally offers a good background or
preparation for either graduate study in business or jobs related to
international business and trade.
Public Administration, Public Affairs, Domestic or International:
Majors can either look for an advanced degree in some of the subfields
listed above or can pursue jobs in governmental agencies, professional
or interest group organizations, government relations divisions of
corporations, consulting and marketing, or jobs in the expanding sector
Teaching: Many graduates find careers within primary and secondary teaching areas related to Social Studies.
Journalism: A Political Science degree can give the student the background or expertise to succeed as a journalist. Courses tend to be writing intensive and build the kind of analytical expertise a reporter would need. These are just some of the general sectors noted in "An Ideal Liberal Art Major: Political Science," a document which is published by the American Political Science Association. This booklet is available from the OCU Department of Political Science, and also contains much more specific descriptions of careers in Political Science. We would also be glad to visit with you about what some of our graduates are achieving in their communities today. For students interested in a liberal arts education, the field of Political Science offers a wide variety of opportunities.
Justis Huddleston, Political Science/Mass Communications Graduate 2016
“I chose OCU because of its proximity to the State Capitol, small class sizes, and excellent political science department. The professionalism and dedication of the faculty to the students has never ceased to amaze me. What begins as a mere interest in politics and law can be blossomed into a full-fledged 0passion for political science through the guidance of the wonderful professors in the Political Science department. A degree from OCU means a lot, and a degree in Political Science from OCU means even more.”
Chance Johnson, Political Science Graduate 2016, Ohio State University Law
“The discussion based learning experiences I had in my political science courses were very valuable in preparing me for the more vigorous Socratic methods used in law school. Learning to articulate my thoughts in a coherent and succinct way gave me a clear advantage over some of my classmates when interacting with my law professors. I really appreciated the smaller class sizes in the political science program as well. They allowed me to develop a sense of confidence in my ability to contribute to a learning environment, which has translated well to the next level of higher education.”
Alex McNay, Political Science Graduate 2015, Works in Non-Profit
“All the classes I took at OCU contained enough of a framework for me to grasp all essential concepts, but also allowed me to study areas within these topics that I was personally interested in. This has helped me generate genuine interest and passion for my studies and future career.”
Robin Ladd, Oxford Plan Graduate 2013, Harvard Law School
“The most important things were classroom discussions and my interactions with faculty. I was able to deepen my understanding of the political science discipline through listening and learning from my classmates' perspectives. Additionally, I was able to have close contact with faculty members who helped guide my education, by ensuring that I took courses that not only interested me, but also enriched my experience with the theory behind political science and philosophy.”
DeEtta Cravens, Political Science Graduate 2012, U.S. Foreign Service
“My favorite thing about OCU was its small size. First, the small campus allowed professors to get to know students and be able to support them outside the classroom. Political Science professor were always my go-to references because they knew me both inside and outside the classroom, which is a testament to how dedicated they were to my academic and professional development. The amount of contact I had with professors and administrators was invaluable. The second way the small size helped was inside the classroom. Being in a class of less than 20 students allowed for stimulating and demanding discussions in a way that a general seminar at a state school never could. Every week, I was pushed by the professors and by my classmates to think critically about my views, express them clearly, and defend them concisely. In all of my five years at OCU, I never took a course in which the professor just lectured. Students were expected to engage with the material in a substantive way, and with such small class sizes, you couldn't get away with sitting quietly in the back. It forced me to be prepared and knowledgeable every class session.”
Bailey Perkins, Political Science/History Graduate 2012, Oklahoma Policy Institute
“I enrolled into the Oklahoma City University Political Science program during the second semester of my freshman year after realizing how much I enjoyed my Governance in America general education course. Majoring in Political Science at Oklahoma City University was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My desire for a dream career in public policy and advocacy developed because of my studies and involvement at OCU. I left the Political Science program prepared for graduate studies and with the tools I needed to succeed in this field. Not only were the classes and assignments given by my professors relevant (like Election Seminar during midterm elections and Introduction to Public Policy), but I felt during my four years at OCU that my professors cared about my well-being as much as my academic success. I knew that any time, I could go to Dr. Johnson, Dr. Daadaoui, or Professor Huston’s office for advice, encouragement or concerns. They also felt comfortable asking me “what’s going on?” “are you okay?” when I overexerted myself in extracurricular activities or pushing me when they knew that I could do better work.”