College Catalog: 2011-2012

Salameno School of American and International Studies (SSAIS): Political Science (B.A.)

Four Year Plan
School of American and International Studies Website


About the Major

In a certain sense, Political Science is the study of power and authority and the forms they take in life. It deals with a whole range of human behavior, relationships, and values that affect the daily lives of everyone. Politics is the process by which individuals make collective decisions, set goals and priorities, and formulate policies to pursue them; to state it more directly, it is the study of “who gets what, when, and how.”

The scope of politics is sweeping: from a superpower summit meeting to a local election, from Congressional action on tax policy to the efforts of environmental groups to influence a decision on a highway construction project. Politics is as old as the works of Plato and Aristotle, as current as the latest poll on public opinion, and as future-oriented as research into the effects of computers and information technology on the politics of the twenty-first century.

Students who major in Political Science are attracted to the vitality and relevance of its subject matter, are intellectually curious about its interrelationships with other fields such as business and economics, and see it as a useful tool in pursuing a variety of careers and professions. Traditionally, Political Science majors have successfully pursued careers in law, government, business management and administration, policy-oriented social action, teaching, or some combination of these fields.

The Political Science program at Ramapo attempts to respond to the needs of students with specific career aspirations as well as those who are activists or are just generally interested. The major at Ramapo is special because it combines traditional, basic, and advanced level courses in two tracts: the American politics track and the International politics track. Specialized courses and seminars reflect faculty expertise and a flexible and interdisciplinary curricular setting. This curricular flexibility allows each student in the major to study political science courses in related fields, and having the opportunity to take a second major – history or economics, for example.

The Political Science faculty encourages both traditional and innovative approaches to the major emphasizing American legislative, executive, judicial, and bureaucratic decision making, international and comparative politics, and the theoretical and practical connections between politics and social issues and institutions.

Special features of the Political Science major include: the recent establishment of a Ramapo Political Forum to sponsor speakers and special events for students; a program of student internships in government, legislative offices, and campaigns, and a pre-law advisor who works with students interested in law school admission. Study Abroad opportunities are possible through Ramapo’s own programs or through the New Jersey State Consortium on International Studies.

Ramapo chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, provides special recognition and programming for outstanding Political Science students.

Requirements of the Major
  1. Students are required to take 12 courses (48 credits) to complete this major.
  2. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below. Waivers only apply to General Education Requirements NOT School Core or Major Requirements.
  3. Double counting between General Education, School Core, and Major may be possible. Check with your advisor to see if any apply.
  4. Writing Intensive Requirement: Three writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: First Year Seminar, Critical Reading and Writing (formerly College English), and Readings in Humanities.

Note: A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.

Requirements of the Minor
  1. Students are required to take 6 courses (24 credits) to complete this minor.
  2. At least 1/2 of the courses fulfilling a minor must be distinct from the student’s major. That is, three of the five courses required for a minor cannot be used towards fulfillment of major requirements. A school core does not need to be completed for a minor. Minors are open to students regardless of school affiliation.