Political Science (FPS)
The Discipline and the Major
The political science major offers a full complement of undergraduate courses designed for midshipmen to learn about political institutions and behavior. Students in political science study the three primary subfields of political science-- international relations, comparative politics and American politics and law. These concentrations introduce midshipmen to the various subfields of the discipline which include regional studies (Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Europe), political theory, law, political institutions, public policy and political behavior. Midshipmen are free to choose from a wide range of courses each semester from the three subfields (international relations, comparative politics, American politics) to fulfill the required six major electives.
The major consists of 30 credit hours in addition to the core course taken in the plebe year, United States Government and Constitutional Development. All majors take a survey course in international relations and comparative politics as well as political science research methods. In the first class year students write a capstone research paper supervised by a faculty seminar leader. This summative research project requires midshipmen to demonstrate knowledge of facts and method, much as you might be required to do in your professional career. For those interested in advanced studies, the department offers an honors program with a designated honors degree.
Many courses include field trips to governmental and political institutions such as the White House, Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court of the United States, think tanks, and embassies in Washington, D.C.. The department offers lectures by prominent speakers and typically has visiting scholars who are active in government or private sector positions of authority. Congress to Campus brings members of Congress into the classroom to provide midshipmen with a unique perspective. Many political science majors participate in the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference (NAFAC), a four day undergraduate conference run by midshipmen. Summer internships both in the Washington D.C. area (State Department, Pentagon) and abroad (Cambridge Security Initiative in the U.K.) are directed by faculty advisers who bridge real world experience with academic acumen.
Considerations for those who might be interested in this major
Midshipmen graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science gain an important understanding of their domestic and global political environments along with the necessary technical and strategic competence to excel in the fleet and beyond. The major is writing intensive, capitalizing on critical reasoning skills and analytical presentation which are in high demand in the fleet and in the civilian sector.