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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.
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.
- All students complete a capstone seminar that channels the knowledge they’ve accumulated into a discipline-specific project under close faculty guidance. Chatham is one of the few universities across the country that offers such an independent and student-driven program.
- Graduate with an advanced degree through one of our partnerships, including the Accelerated Graduate Program in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University, the 3/3 program at Duquesne University Law School, and the Early Assurance Program with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
- Chatham University is a founding member of PLEN (Public Leadership Educational Network) which offers week-long seminars and summer internships in Washington, D.C. The seminars include sessions with people on Capitol Hill, and feature topics on public policy, pre-law, science policy, women in Congress, and women in international policy.
- Chatham is home to the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics, which offers a variety of ways for students to become involved in programming and other efforts.
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.
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.
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.Learn More
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).
Jobs our graduates have held include International Strategy Analyst at MITRE, Development Administrative Assistant at Manchester Bidwell Corp, Junior Associate Attorney at Law Office of Eric Shore, Technical Partner at Excela Health, Program Coordinator at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Lodge Manager at Project Vote Smart.
Internship Opportunities at the Local, State, and Federal Level
Students have interned at a variety of settings, including organizations such as local, state and federal legislative offices; the City of Pittsburgh; World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh; Scenic Pittsburgh; Thomas Merton Center; and the League of Women Voters.
Continued Education Around the Globe
Our students have gone on to attend graduate and law schools, including the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of Missouri, and the New England School of Law.