Political Science Learning Goals

Political Science Learning Goals

1. Broad knowledge of field of Political Science and its subfields

a. Knowledge of general theories in Political Science and subfields

b. Knowledge of the workings of political systems (domestic and international) with regard to institutions and inputs.

c. Knowledge of theories of political behavior

d. Awareness of key assumptions of disciplinary subfields


2. Critical thinking applied to the study of politics

a. Critically evaluate the literature

1. Ability to understand the theories and hypotheses being tested in both quantitative and qualitative works.

2. Ability to understand the ways in which hypotheses are tested in both quantitative and qualitative works.

3. Ability to critique overall research designs and understand conclusions of the author(s).

4. Ability to understand what is being read.

5. Ability to evaluate sources of information.

b. Engage in discourse about the literature.

1. On its own terms.

2. Through an interpretive lens.

c. Being able to distinguish between factual presentation and argument.

d. Being able to construct propositions based on a set of facts and values.


3. Ability to conduct applied research appropriate to the field of Political Science. Including the following:

a. Ability to formulate a research question, drawn from an appropriate existing literature.

b. Ability to complete applied research projects, including any of the following:

1. Ability to develop testable hypotheses, drawn from an existing literature.

2. Ability to conduct tests of those hypotheses and develop conclusions. This standard includes:

– Ability to apply appropriate methodology to those tests.

– Ability to distinguish between different methodological approaches.

– Ability to justify the use of a particular methodology.

3. Ability to develop argument or an approach based on existing work.

c. Ability to recognize limitations in applied research.

d. Ability to report results to empirical tests.

e. Ability to develop well-reasoned conclusions based on the applied research.