Political Science Major
Social Sciences and History Department
Interested in a new Political Science Living & Learning Community? Read about it here (opens PDF document).
Introducing "Florham Polis"
The ancient Greeks thought of politics as the “authoritative” or highest form of study – since political decisions govern and shape our economy, the military, our social interactions, even what happens in our family life. At FDU’s College of Florham, we take the importance of political science seriously, not just as a way of studying governments, national values, and contemporary political problems, but in using ideas to improve our political and civic life.
Our majors explore the ideologies, institutions, and policies of governments. These include government at the local, state, and national level, as well as foreign governments and international relations. Our studies include legislatures and election systems, regulatory agencies and courts; police departments and armed forces, criminals and terrorists, the media and voters, presidents and prime ministers. We also study ideas: who ought to get what? What does it mean to live well? Which of our institutions and political arrangements are working well and which are dysfunctional and sick?
Finally, we explore political change over time and space and ask what leads to revolutions and what emerges from them? Why (and how) do some countries become and stay democratic – while other do not? Why do some ethnic groups come into conflict and violence while others do not?
Why Study Political Science
Political science students at Fairleigh Dickinson
- learn in small classes emphasizing student participation (our average class size is 20, with upper division classes averaging 12)
- develop close working relationships with our teachers through independent studies, student-faculty research, activities outside of class, and individual mentoring and advising
- prepare for life after graduation through internships, coursework relevant to a range of fields, study and direct experience in Washington, D.C., and by developing the critical reading, writing, and analytic skills strongly desired by employers
- go on to careers in federal, state and local government, law enforcement, the court system, journalism, social services, law, and teaching, among many other fields.study diverse subjects in such courses as European Politics, Women and American Politics, War, Peace, and Arms, Biology and Politics, The Politics of Reproduction, Advanced Criminal Justice, and American Political Thought
- work closely with teachers who have been recognized by their students and peers as extraordinary teachers. Our faculty research is making an impact on New Jersey and the broader world.
Careers in Political Science
There are thousands of private and public interest groups whose leadership and staff participate directly in politics. There are also hundreds of thousands of civil service jobs in numerous executive departments and agencies of government. Our graduates pursue a variety of careers in Washington, D.C., state capitals, municipal government, or in corporate environments. Political science graduates can work as a city administrator or as an intelligence analyst or as a campaign manager; there is a government office to fit every interest.
Political science also provides outstanding preparation for rewarding legal careers and work in the vast criminal justice system. Our graduates have studied law at institutions such as Rutgers University, Seton Hall University, Pace University, the University of Denver, Villanova University, American University, and Penn State University. Political science students have also enrolled in graduate programs at institutions such as Penn State, John Jay School of Criminal Justice, American University, George Washington University, the University of Delaware, and the University of Florida.
Subfields of Political Science
Political science is divided into several subfields and we offer three "tracks" within the political science major in order to accomodate a variety of interests and career goals. Each track graduates the student with a Bachelor of Arts.
Traditional Political Science:Our most popular major option. The standard Bachelor of Arts in political science offers the most flexibility and broadest appeal. Generally speaking, it is most appropriate for students who want to work for government, interest groups, go to law school, or continue studies in political science at the graduate level.
Campaigns & Elections:This track isfor those who can’t get enough of the rough and tumble of elective politics. The Campaigns and Elections track emphasizes course work…[continue with rest of paragraph]
International Relations: The IR track focuses on regional politics and the analysis of global problems: it is most appropriate for those who want to enter one of the many foreign services (State, CIA, DIA, etc.) or international trade.
Study Abroad & Internships
We encourage all of our majors to take a semester abroad at our campus in Wroxton College in Oxfordshire, England. Students find the semester in Europe to be an indispensable help to their understanding of history, global influences, and political economy.
Every semester we offer a three-credit internship in political science. Students, together with their instructors, identify appropriate internship sites and opportunities and earn regular course credit for work in a professional setting. Our students intern with federal, state, and local lawmakers, with court systems, area law enforcement agencies, law firms, interest groups, and public service organizations. A number of these opportunities are paid. The semester-long work internship leads directly to a good grasp of the many opportunities in politics and to gainful employment. Students may also complete an internship and study for a semester in our nation's capitol, by being accepted to The Washington Center. Contact the Department Chair for more information at 973-443-8721.
Other Sites of Interest to Political Scientists
- PublicMind (FDU's survey research center)
Dr. Gary Darden
Deparment of Social Sciences and History
Fairleigh Dickinson University
285 Madison Ave - M-MS3-02
Madison, NJ 07940
Room 31 (3rd floor)
See a video overview of the political science major.
FDU's political scientists are often involved in local, regional, and even national coverage of political events. See a brief video.
An introduction to FDU's PublicMind polling resource. See the video.