Political Science

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Political Science Overview

A degree in political science develops your conceptual skills and provides you with the tools to analyze political concepts in broad perspectives and make sense of new issues as they arise, as they have been doing globally at an increasing rate. In addition to providing deep and broad knowledge of the subject, the political science program is designed to develop skills in critical thinking and written and oral expression, and increase commitment to social responsibility and political participation.
Degrees Offered
  • BA
Program School

Political science at Chatham is a great training ground for the leaders of tomorrow. Our students will learn how to think critically and analytically about issues of vital importance to our communities, nation, and world. They will develop confidence in formulating and communicating effective solutions to the problems society faces. Importantly, thanks to small class sizes, they will be known, mentored, and inspired as individuals.

— DR. JENNIE SWEET-CUSHMAN, assistant director, Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics, and assistant professor of political science

New Leadership Pennsylvania Promotes Women in Politics

The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) at Chatham University combats gender inequity in politics by hosting the NEW Leadership Pennsylvania™ summer institute—an intensive, non-partisan, six-day residential program.

Explore the Political Science Degree:

When you major in political science at Chatham, you’ll appreciate one-on-one mentoring with a professor, discussing questions that matter, the opportunity to do original research, and possibilities for travel abroad. Our program maintains affiliations with programs and centers across the University and the greater community, bringing you into contact with scholars and practitioners from multiple fields.

Campaigns and Elections

What makes a candidate successful? How do you win in local, state, and national politics today? This course will provide a survey of trends in modern U.S. political campaigns and elections, including the effects of political parties, interest groups, the media, campaign finance, election laws, and individual candidates. Special emphasis will be placed on the impact of gender on electoral success. Students will follow one current campaign in detail, comparing it to the literature on campaigning. 

Women and Politics

Does gender make a difference in politics? Are women different from men in their political behavior? Do women contribute different norms, rules, and outcomes within political institutions? Students become familiar with the literature on, and conduct research projects in a specific aspect of, women’s involvement in politics. 

Ethnic Conflict

This course is designed to introduce students to theories about nationalist and ethnic conflict and strategies that have been used to manage them. In the first part of class, we examine sources of ethnic identity and how governments have attempted to reinforce or deemphasize those identities. Second, we examine how domestic factors have and have not worked to suppress ethnic conflict. Finally, we examine how the international community or other third parties have attempted to bring about the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

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Our Faculty

If one word could best sum up Chatham's faculty, it would be engaged. Professors bring experiences to relate the course lessons to real-world situations.

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Global Focus Program

Chatham’s award-winning Global Focus program engages students in the critical and holistic exploration of one specific country or region of the globe every year. The program reinforces cross-cultural ties and internationalization initiatives in the Greater Pittsburgh area and beyond. Featured countries have included Indonesia, Canada, Southern Africa, Germany, Brazil, Chile, Vietnam, and more.

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Preparing for Law School

Chatham's pre-law program is designed to encourage and support students with an interest in careers in law. It also helps students prepare to attend law school. The program includes the pre-law advisor, a pre-law minor, co-curricular programs offered in partnership with the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics, as well as the support of an advisory committee.

International Studies Certificate

Students can enhance the degree with a certificate in international studies in one of five major global regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. The certificate includes a language requirement, history and culture courses, and an international field experience (which Chatham helps to fund).