The political science major at Merrimack College provides you with a rich, rigorous and wide-ranging educational experience.
Meet Your Major
In the political science program, you will:
- Analyze a political situation from multiple perspectives and connect it to theoretical paradigms or practical experiences
- Explore society’s most vital questions about law, government, and humanity
- Learn about our political systems, political leaders, government policies, social, and international conflicts
- Have the opportunity to put your learning into action by pursuing an internship at a state or local government office
- Hone your academic and critical thinking skills and prepare to become a thoughtful, productive member of society
You’ll have the opportunity to take your skills out of the classroom and into the political arena. Debate constitutional issues against national teams in Moot Court, explore a public service internship or spend a semester your junior year at the American University Washington Semester Program.
Upon successful completion of the Political Science program, you’ll be well equipped to pursue a law degree, graduate degree or begin your career in the public or private sector. Our graduates work in business, government, international relations, public administration, academia and more.
Our graduates work in a variety of positions, including:
- Analyst, Library of Congress
- Attorney General, State of Vermont
- Director, Lowell Planning Board
- Judicial Law Clerk, New Hampshire Superior Court
- Legislative Aide, U.S. Congress
- Mayor, City of Lawrence, Massachusetts
- Prosecutor, Tewksbury Police Dept.
- Research Assistant, Citizens for the Constitution
- Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Resources, Massachusetts
- State Senator, Massachusetts
- Systems Analyst, Mass. Dept. of Revenue
What You’ll Take
All Political Science majors take a combination of required and elective course to satisfy the 42-credit requirement.
All Political Science majors must take the following four courses:
|POL 1100||Politics of United States|
|POL 1500||Comparative Politics|
|POL 2000||Political Science Methods|
|POL 4800||Senior Seminar: Politics and the Political Process|
- We recommend that POL 2000 Political Science Methods be completed by the end of your sophomore year.
- You are required to take a writing intensive course in the discipline. This course rotates among upper-level elective courses.
United States Politics
Select at least two courses from the following options:
|POL 2010||Political Ethics|
|POL 2111||State and Local Politics|
|POL 2120||Government, Business and Society|
|POL 2121||Intro to Public Administration|
|POL 2122||Law and Society|
|POL 2181||American Political Thought|
|POL 2300||The Politics of Food|
|POL 3112||Congress and the Legislative Process|
|POL 3113||American Presidency|
|POL 3114||Political Parties and Interest Groups|
|POL 3122||Issues in Public Policy|
|POL 3130||Campaigns and Elections|
|POL 3131||Polling and Public Opinion|
|POL 3140||Mass Media and American Politics|
|POL 3141||Political Communication|
|POL 3150||Criminal Law|
|POL 3151||American Constitutional Law|
|POL 3152||Civil Liberties and Civil Rights|
|POL 3160||United States Foreign Policy|
|POL 3161||The Politics of Immigration and Human Movement|
|POL 3171||Music and Politics|
|POL 4199||Women and Politics|
Select at least two courses from the following options:
|POL 2510||International Politics|
|POL 2581||Intro to Political Theory|
|POL 3520||Modern China|
|POL 3521||Latin American Politics|
|POL 3523||Japanese Politics|
|POL 3524||Politics of the Russia and Post-Soviet States|
|POL 3525||Politics of the Middle East|
|POL 3526||Politics of the European Union|
|POL 3530||Democracy, Development and Violence|
|POL 3531||Politics of Developing Nations|
|POL 3540||International Political Economy|
|POL 3541||Cyber Security|
|POL 4599(W)||Issues and Cases in United States Foreign Policy|
Additional Upper Level Courses
To fulfill the 42-credit requirement, you may select your remaining courses from the electives above or you may choose from the following options:
|POL 4700||Directed Study|
|POL 4850(W)||Public Service (fall/spring) Internship (8 cr)*|
|POL 4851||Public Service Summer Internship (4 cr)|
|POL 4852||Public Service (fall/spring) Internship (4 cr)|
*The Public Service Internship (fall or spring) is an 8 credit/2 course equivalent with four credits counting toward Political Science and four toward electives. Students can complete up to 12 internship credits.
* POL4700: Directed Study-Moot Court may only be taken twice for credit toward a Political Science major (4 credits max).
** Only two Political Science courses may be double-counted between a Political Science major and a Pre-Law minor
Why should I Major in Political Science?
Political scientists concern themselves with basic questions about law, government, and humanity – questions that confront every society in the world today. Students who major in Political Science are prepared not only for employment after college, but for life as an informed citizen ready to participate in the activities of domestic and global politics.
What will I learn?
You will learn about our political systems, political leaders, government policies, social, and international conflicts, as well as strengthen your analytical, research, and critical thinking skills that prepare you for life after Merrimack.
How many credits or courses do I need to receive a Political Science degree?
The Political Science major consists of 42 credits.
What are the required courses and do I have to take courses in any particular sequence?
There are four (4) required course; Politics of the United States, Comparative Politics, Political Science Methods, and Senior Seminar. Students typically take Politics of the United States and POL1500 Comparative Politics before taking upper level courses to fulfill the Major requirements. Political Science Methods must be complete by sophomore year and Senior Seminar is taken in a senior’s fall semester.
Can I minor in Political Science?
Yes. Students can choose to minor in the area of United States Politics or International Relations. The Political Science Minor requires completing a minimum of 18 credits in courses that satisfy the Minor requirement.
I am interested in a career in Law. Does Merrimack offer Pre-Law?
Yes. The Pre-Law Minor is an interdisciplinary law minor for students who are interested in attending law school, who plan on pursuing legal related careers, or who want to learn more about different areas of the law. The Pre Law Minor requires completing a minimum of 18 credits in courses that satisfy the minor requirement. The requirement consists of two (2) required courses, three (3) electives, and an experiential component.
How can I get an internship? Do I get academic credit for an internship?
Students majoring in Political Science should consider taking an internship during their undergraduate years to foster academic experiential learning. Internships are offered in the fall, spring, and summer. Students can create their own internship with the department’s guidance or choose an internship from our database. The Public Service Fall/Spring Internship is an 8 credit/two course equivalent, with 4 credits towards Political Science and 4 credits toward electives. Students work at least 20 hours per week in the public service field and have a required research paper. The Summer Public Service Internship is a 4 credit/one course equivalent. Students can complete up to 12 internship credits; one fall or spring and a summer internship.
What kinds of opportunities are available outside of the classroom?
Students in the Political Science major have many opportunities to learn beyond the classroom. Some opportunities include:
Public Service Internship
Political Science Majors gain knowledge of politics through work with state and local government offices. For more information, please contact Dr. Harry Wessel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Students may study in their junior year at the American University Washington Semester Program. Scholarships are available.
Junior Year / Semester Abroad
Students may apply to one of several university programs
John F. Kennedy Library
Students may attend a number of special events at the Library, including biennial conference on important events in American politics.
What kind of career path could I expect?
Our graduates pursue diverse careers in the field of law, political science, international relations, public policy, business, non profits and communications. A large number of political student undergraduate students continue their education in law or graduate school. Our graduates have a solid record of graduate and law school acceptances. The faculty offers strong advisement programs in pre-law, public administration, and international relations.