Department Chair: Gregg B. Johnson, Ph.D.
College of Arts and Sciences, Room 321 | 219-464-5266
Political Science, B.A. (two concentrations: legal studies, public policy and public administration)
International Relations, B.A.
VALPO POLITICAL SCIENCE & INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS MAJORS majors have extraordinary opportunities for hands-on learning through the Community Research and Service Center as well as many internship opportunities.
Community Research and Service Center (CRSC):
While Valpo stresses normal text book learning, we are committed to the process of community based learning; that is, using the community as a laboratory for learning.
The Political Science Department runs the Community Research and Service Center (CSRC). The goals of CRSC are to do research and provide service for government and not for profits in northwest Indiana and involve undergraduate students in the process. Over the past ten years more than 400 students have helped with over 75 different community projects. These projects have included an analysis of the Portage Duneland Trail for the Portage Parks Department, a survey on affordable housing for the Community Development Corporation, an evaluation of the medical and day care clinics at Hilltop Neighborhood House, assistance with the development of an economic plan for the town of Hebron, and an analysis of the potential ridership of a commuter rail line from Valparaiso to Chicago to name just a few.
To the best of our knowledge, we are the only University in the nation that runs a research center using exclusively undergraduate students. Students work on these projects either as paid part-time assistants during the school year, as part of class projects, as volunteers, or as paid full-time interns in the summer. Students can begin to work on these projects as early as their freshman year.
Valpo’s political science and international relations programs combine all the benefits of a small school while, at the same time offering a wide range of opportunities for the student to concentrate in certain areas of the discipline. We offer concentrations in: legal studies and public policy and public administration.
As attested to in the above sections, undergraduate students at Valpo are regularly involved in research in an applied setting. More than adequate computer facilities and databases are available for students to be involved in more theoretical types of research. Valpo students present their research findings at undergraduate research conferences.
Degree, Skills or Experience Needed for Beginning a Job in This Field:
Many positions in politics and administration require work beyond the Bachelor’s degree. Useful skills to acquire with a degree in political science are: expertise with a computer, proficiency in a foreign language, and statistical analysis. Advanced degrees that would be helpful include the Master of Arts, the Ph.D., or the Juris Doctorate.
Kinds of Work Available to Graduates in this Major:
A major in Political Science or International Relations may lead to many careers including, but certainly not limited to, the following: law, criminal justice, business, education, government service at the state, national, local and international level, politics, policy analysis, campaign management, foreign or non-governmental organization service, and work for private interest/public policy groups.
Potential Hiring Institutions:
Governments at all levels including state, local, federal and international, "think tanks" and organizations doing policy and planning research, special interest organizations, lobbyists, not-for-profit organizations, campaign organizations, public opinion research organizations, environmental groups, newspapers and other media organizations, as well as many aspects of business.
Extracurricular Groups:Students can participate in Pi Sigma Alpha – Political Science National Honor Society, as well as groups that may be of particular interest, such as College Democrats, College Republicans, and Student Senate. Many of our students have served as president of the student body.
Internships / Study Abroad:
Students have many off-campus learning options, including programs in Africa and China in addition to Valpo’s European and Latin American opportunities. Many of our students also take advantage of our relationships with programs in Washington, D.C. In particular, our affiliation with the Luther Institute has allowed us to offer students exciting and challenging internships in Washington that have ranged from the Justice Department, the White House, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, both the Democratic and Republican
Parties, and many "think tanks." We also have relationships with other Washington and United Nations programs for students who have other interests. A special relationship exists with our local Congressman, whose office is run by Valpo graduates and regularly employs our students as interns.