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 characterize the discipline most directly, it is the study of “who gets what, when, and how.”
The scope of politics is sweeping: from a superpower summit meeting to local elections, guerrilla wars and revolutions, 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 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 just generally interested. The major at Ramapo is special because it combines traditional, basic, and advanced-level coursework for its students using an array of qualitative and quantitative approaches. 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 in related fields and provides the opportunity for students to pursue 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’s chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, provides special recognition and programming for outstanding Political Science students.