Waiting on the world to change? Not us.
Study Politics at the W
Students of Politics study with broader purpose. Here at the W, we develop skills too often left out of traditional political science programs: skills that allow our students to carry their knowledge out of the classroom, take action, and solve problems. Politics majors at the W understand the major players, processes, and uses of power; they also know how to make an impact.
The discipline of Political Science, or Politics, is one of the oldest taught in the United States, the focus of capstone classes at the nation's early colleges. Why? Because early Americans were striving to create a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. If American democracy was going to work, they reasoned, it would require citizens to develop civic virtues (tolerance, fairness, capacity for reasoned deliberation, etc.) and become well-versed in the mechanics of government action. There is no less need for this training today.
That's why The W's B.S. degree in political science is specifically designed to equip students for democratic engagement and leadership in addition to social analysis. Majors learn the basics of scientific analysis so they can contribute to our understanding of social and governmental problems. They also hone their skills in local government and community organizing with coursework emphasizing active and service learning in which students apply what they learn to real problems. Courses are issue-focused, encouraging students to address the critical questions of our time, with a focus on active citizenship, local-to-global politics, and democratization, especially in the case of the American South. Many can be paired with a one-hour "lab," freeing individual students to earn additional credit hours whenever they find an opportunity for field research, political activism, or internship work that is relevant to the course subject. Before graduating, most politics majors also complete one or two internships, ensuring they gain experience working in a professional setting.
Whether they choose a general political science major or pursue a concentration in social studies or nonprofit advocacy, the political science program prepares students for careers in government, public service, and political advocacy. Graduates have the foundation they need to succeed in law school or graduate programs in political science, public affairs/administration, public policy, and related fields. For majors, minors, and students who simply pick up a few POL electives, our program offers the chance to sharpen critical thinking skills, refine oral and written communication abilities, develop talent for negotiating differences of opinion, and nurture the virtues of democratic citizenship.
Want to Teach? Get a Concentration in Social Studies
Are you looking for curriculum that will prepare you to teach Social Studies at the middle and high school level? If so, this concentration in Political Science is for you. Given the interdisciplinary nature of political science coursework, the political science degree’s flexibility, and the importance of civics education, it is a common major for pre-service teachers who want to pursue an alternative route to licensure.
The Praxis II exam required for licensure in social studies demands deep knowledge of US and world history and politics, as well as familiarity with basic concepts from sociology, economics, geography, and psychology. With that in mind, the Social Studies concentration is designed to encourage study in all areas covered by the exam. The Political Science-Social Studies degree requires a total of 49 credit hours: 18 hours in political science, 16 in history, and 15 in any field of social studies (HIS, POL, ECON, GEO, PSY, or SOC).
We have partnered with The W's Master of Arts in Teaching program to create a clear pathway to licensure (and a headstart on a master's level license, which will result in higher pay). In their last semester before graduation, students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher may take the two pre-licensure graduate courses required for initial licensure in the state of Mississippi. This puts them on track to begin teaching the year after graduation. We are proud to have many graduates teaching in Mississippi and Alabama and would love to talk more about your path to the classroom. Contact us today!
The Nonprofit Advocacy Concentration in Political Science ensures students are prepared to serve nonprofits as government relations professionals. In doing so, it addresses the growing recognition among practitioners and researchers in the nonprofit sector that organizations must increase their ability to engage policymakers and political processes if they hope to fulfill their missions and sustain their operations. This work requires professionals capable of overseeing public education and mobilization campaigns as well as government relations and lobbying activity.
Our graduates will be able to meet this demand with the knowledge and experience necessary to strategically engage the policymaking process through lobbying, community and grassroots organizing, and other advocacy activities; what’s more, they will become familiar with the specific regulatory environment in which nonprofits operate.
The courses required for this concentration give students a deeper understanding of the interactions between mass politics and policy-making processes, the political strategies employed across the branches of government and at various levels of government, and the political and legal context in which advocacy organizations operate. They take traditional courses like American Government, Southern Politics, and World Politics; but they also have courses devoted to deliberative democracy, protest and contention, and government relations. Beyond politics, the program includes elective coursework in public relations and nonprofit management. This allows students in the major to complement their government relations expertise with skills in advertising, visual design, web development, or marketing as well as in fundraising, volunteer development, or social entrepreneurship. Finally, all graduates are required to complete at least one internship prior to graduation; in conjunction with the experiential and service-learning embedded throughout their political science coursework, this ensures graduates enter the job market with robust resumes and real-world experience. Altogether, the Political Science-Nonprofit Advocacy degree requires a total of 48 credit hours.
If you want to make a difference in the world, political science is your major at The W.
For more information about politics at The W, contact:
Dr. Chanley Rainey
Painter Hall 202