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CSULB Department of Political Science Learning Objectives

1. Substantive knowledge: Students should have a basic knowledge of the political world, including the ideas, institutions, processes, and policies of the United States and selected other societies, as well as the history and organization of the international system.

Political science majors should be able to

      1. discuss the most important political theorists in the western tradition and the ideas associated with them.
      2. describe basic political and governmental structures, processes, and policies in the U.S. and in several other western and non-western countries.
      3. describe the history, structure and operation of the international system.
      4. describe the role and impact of the U.S. in the international system.
      5. identify the principal arguments for and against alternative forms of government.

2. Analytical skills: Students should understand and be able to work with the approaches and theories used by political scientists to understand political phenomena.

Political science majors should be able to

      1. discriminate between normative and empirical theories.
      2. explain the role of political ideas, value conflicts, and ideology in human societies.
      3. evaluate alternative political ideas and ideologies
      4. explain the structural context within which politics takes place, including the role of the economy, society, and culture, and conflicts over and within those domains.

3. Research skills: Students should have the research skills necessary to ask and answer basic political questions.

Political science majors should be able to

      1. conduct research into political questions using both traditional library, documentary, and interview sources and newer electronic modalities including the Internet and web sites.
      2. acquire information from class lectures, discussions, and readings.
      3. collect, describe and interpret qualitative data.
      4. collect, describe and interpret quantitative data.

4. Communication skills: Students should be able to present their ideas and the information that they’ve acquired, and the analyses they’ve developed in an appropriate format.

Political science majors should be able to

      1. write clearly and cogently about political questions, using appropriate language; developing a clear thesis, and supporting that thesis with evidence.
      2. take positions on, and argue (orally and in writing) for different political and issue positions.