Political Science – Albright College

Political Science

Become a leader! Solve problems in legal, public service, business, academia, nonprofit organizations — anywhere across the globe.

The goal of Albright’s Political Science program is to cultivate in you the knowledge and responsibility to be a leader in a democratic polity and an informed citizen in an international society.

To achieve this goal, we provide a curriculum that is appropriate, cohesive, contemporary and integrated into the liberal arts programs of the college. We encourage in you independence of scholarship on campus and experiential learning through internships and foreign study off campus. Our faculty are dedicated to innovative teaching, scholarly research and college governance. They hold impressive educational credentials from highly ranked graduate schools in the discipline. And our graduates are leaders in public, private and non-profit organizations.

“You leave Albright with a support system, a network of people that want you to succeed.” — Jacob Walsh ’20


Deep Roots of Political Science

The study of politics in a liberal education has roots in ancient Greece. As Aristotle wrote in his Politics, “Man is an animal whose nature it is to live in a polis [city].” In short, women and men are political animals. Governance processes have a central place in human societies, and politics is pervasive in any culture. Governance requires leadership with a commitment to foster mutual service, and politics needs leaders with fidelity to justice, equality and human rights—among the best of human values.

Therefore, the study of politics and governance necessarily draws upon the liberal arts and sciences. We draw from the methodologies of history and the natural sciences, involve the consideration of questions fundamental to philosophy, and cover themes contained in the world’s literature. Likewise, to learn the study of politics in government is to learn how to analyze community problems, develop resolutions, and communicate this knowledge to citizens. Our mission is developing such leadership in our students and providing them the means to develop these talents over a lifetime of service to others, whether it is in the classroom, at the bar, or in public, private or non-governmental agencies.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • KNOWLEDGE: Introduce students to the principle facts, key theories, institutions, practices, and processes of major subfields within the discipline
  • CRITICAL THINKING AND INFORMATION LITERACY: Advance students’ capacity for critical thinking through the development of a base of methodological, research, and communication skills
  • CITIZENSHIP: Promote an understanding of active, ethical, and responsible citizenship, and an understanding of the value questions inherent in politics
  • GLOBAL CONNECTIONS: Cultivate an appreciation and understanding of cultural and political diversity, world affairs, and global interconnectedness

The above list was adapted from Deadorff, Michelle D., Kerstin Hamann, and John T. Ishiyama. 2009. Assessment in Political Science. Washington, DC: American Political Science Association.


Political Science graduates from Albright College pursue a range of careers, serving as leaders in the legal profession, public service, business, academia, the non-profit sector and the international arena. The following is a listing of positions secured by Albright graduates over the past few years:

Federal Government

  • Archivist, U. S. National Park Service, San Francisco
  • Associate director, Intergovernmental Affairs, Washington, D.C.
  • Claims representative, U. S. Social Security Administration, West Plains, Mo.
  • Equipment management specialist, U.S. Social Security Administration, Baltimore
  • Contract administrator, Federal Government-Defense Contract Management Agency, Washington, D.C.
  • Contractor, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Bethesda, Md.
  • Legislative director, U.S. House of Representatives (N.Y.), Washington, D.C.
  • Manager, U.S. General Services Administration, Philadelphia
  • Manager, staffing and classification, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Washington, D.C.
  • Office manager, U.S. House of Representatives (Pa.), Washington, D.C.
  • Program analyst, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington D.C.
  • Senior staff, U.S. House of Representatives (Calif.), Washington, D.C.

Local/State Government

  • Associate director, Colorado Municipal League, Denver
  • Community development director, City of Reading, Reading, Pa.
  • Deputy director, communications, Department of Motor Vehicles, Albany, N.Y.
  • Deputy chief counsel, Pennsylvania Securities Commission, Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Director, Berks County Department of Veterans Affairs, Wyomissing, Pa.
  • Executive director, Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, Mendham, N.J.
  • Executive director, Republican Committee of Chester County, West Chester, Pa.
  • Human services assistant, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Reading, Pa.
  • Legislative aide, New York State Assembly, Albany, N.Y.
  • Legislative assistant, Pennsylvania State Senate, Reading, Pa.
  • Legislative assistant, Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, Pottsville, Pa.
  • Aide, Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Personnel analyst, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Statistician, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Town manager, Town of Stratford, Stratford, Conn.

Private Organizations

  • Legal administrative Assistant, Stradley, Ronon, Stevens, & Young, LLP, Philadelphia
  • Advisor, First Investors Corp., Binghamton, N.Y.
  • Coordinator of chapter and colony development, Alpha Sigma Phi, Carmel, Ind.

Hilary Aquino, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor


Irene Langran, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of Political Science; Program Director, International Relations; Program Director, Public Health


Nathan Henceroth, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Political Science


Hayley Munir, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Political Science


Michael A. Armato, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of the Public Policy and Administration Program

Major in Political Science


  • POL 101 American Government (counts as General Studies Foundations Social Science)
  • POL 202 Introduction to International Relations
  • POL 205 Comparative Politics
  • POL 206 Political Inquiry
  • POL 207 Research Methods (counts as General Studies Foundations Quantitative Reasoning)
  • POL 315 Political Theory
  • One approved Political Science senior-level seminar
  • Six additional advanced Political Science courses

Interdisciplinary Combined Major in Crime and Justice

The Political Science, Sociology and Psychology departments offer a Crime and Justice interdisciplinary major that focuses on the legal, political, administrative, psychological and sociological analyses of criminal deviance and societal responses to crime. See Crime and Justice under the Sociology Department for requirements.

Combined Major in Political Science


  • POL 101 American Government (counts as General Studies Foundations Social Science)
  • POL 202 Introduction to International Relations
  • POL 205 Comparative Politics
  • POL 206 Political Inquiry
  • POL 315 Political Theory
  • One approved Political Science senior-level seminar
  • Two additional advanced Political Science courses

Minor in Political Science

Whether you are planning a career in the bureaucracy, the nonprofit world, or the private sector, government and politics impact you. Appreciating the ways policy is made, realizing how relationships between and among countries affect business and the populace, and understanding power structures are all hallmarks of the political science minor. The minor in political science shall consist of five courses with the following distribution:

  • POL 101, American Government
  • POL 202, International Relations, or POL 205, Comparative Politics
  • Any three additional Political Science courses

International Relations Combined Major

The interdisciplinary major in International Relations provides students you the tools you need to understand and evaluate relationships among nations, states and people as these are affected by conflict, globalization, health, climate changes and other challenges. Students contemplating careers in government, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, intelligence, international business, international law or diplomacy should consider this combined major. For more information, contact Professor Irene Langran, or visit http://www.albright.edu/IR/.

  • POL 202 International Relations (POL/IR majors substitute HIS 215, HIS 237, HIS 315, SOC 305, POL 242 or POL273)
  • POL 205 Comparative Politics (POL/IR majors substitute POL 260, 345, HIS 211, HIS 220, HIS 228, HIS 232, HIS 242, HIS 256 or HIS 267))
  • POL 352 International Law and Organizations OR POL 242 Human Rights
  • Approved Political Science study abroad program
  • POL 403 Seminar or an approved International Relations Seminar
  • One of the following:
    • ANT 270 People of the World
    • POL 273 Globalization
    • HIS 315 World War II Era
    • SOC 305 Terrorism
  • One of the following:
    • ECO 233  Comparative Economics
    • ECO 234  Economic Development
    • ECO 301  International Economics

International Relations majors are strongly encouraged to develop facility in languages other than their native language. Students should stay alert to the options provided by independent study with qualified and willing instructors in the departments.

Interdisciplinary Combined Major in Public Health

The interdisciplinary combined major in public health is a liberal arts program in which students will gain a greater understanding of public health on local, national and global levels. The study of public health not only combines perspectives from the social sciences, sciences, mathematics and humanities, it also cultivates critical and analytical skills across disciplines, written and oral communication, teamwork ability, ethical reasoning, and civic knowledge and engagement. This major will benefit students who wish to pursue careers related to public health and the health sciences, law and policy, and other career paths that draw upon multidisciplinary approaches and critical engagement.  To study public health is to engage human biology, socio-economic contexts, personal choices and behaviors, environmental determinants, and political processes on local and global scales. 


  • PUH 101 Introduction to Public Health
  • POL/SYN 330 Global Health
  • Statistics course from: BIO 200 Biometry, ECO 207 Business/Economics Statistics, MAT 110 Elementary Statistics, POL 207 Research Methods, PSY 200 Research I, or SOC 211 Statistics
  • PUH 310 Epidemiology
  • Public Health Internship
  • PUH 440 Public Health Capstone
  • One or two additional Public Health courses (students completing an approved Statistics course within their other major must take a second course)
    • HIS 205 History of US Medicine/Public Health
    • HIS 206 History of Urban Public Health
    • POL 214 Public Policy
    • POL 218 Public Administration
    • BIO 234 Anatomy & Physiology I
    • BIO 235 Anatomy & Physiology II
    • SOC 201 Social Problems
    • SOC 203 Human Services
    • SOC 262 Stratification
    • SOC 291 Environmental Sociology
    • PHI 260 Biomedical Ethics
    • LAS 299 Disease, Death and Society in Latin America 1850-1990
    • ESS 325 Geographical Information Systems
    • ANT 303 Food & Culture
    • PSY 206 Social Psychology
    • PSY 230 Human Development
    • REL 236 God and Doctors: Religion, Health and Medicine
    • PSY 290 Diversity Issues
    • PSY 390 Psychopathology
    • Comparative Health Systems
  • BIO 151 General Biology I: Structure & Function is recommended for the General Studies Foundations-Natural Science requirement.  Other Foundations-Natural Science courses are allowed

Public Health Minor


  • PUH 101 Introduction to Public Health
  • POL/SYN 330 Global Health
  • Statistics course from: BIO 200 Biometry, ECO 207 Business/Economics Statistics, MAT 110 Elementary Statistics, POL 207 Research Methods, PSY 200 Research I, or SOC 211 Statistics
  • PUH 310 Epidemiology
  • Public Health Internship

Legal Studies Minor

The interdisciplinary minor in Legal Studies is designed to help you develop a thorough understanding of our legal system. For those considering law school, it serves as excellent academic preparation. You study the place of the legal system among our civil institutions, and develop the ability to read, understand and assess critically Supreme Court cases. This minor is open to all students interested in studying our legal system regardless of concentration or career goal. Contact Suzanne Palmer, J.D. for additional information. A total of five courses are required.


REQUIRED of all minors:

  • POL 216 Law and Society

Take any TWO of the following:

  • POL 231/331 Criminal Law
  • POL 352 International Law & Organizations
  • POL 371 Constitutional Law
  • POL 372 Civil Liberties
  • POL 412 Law and Public Policy

Take any TWO of the following:

  • BUS 250 or BUS 351 Business Law I or II
  • PHI 150 Critical Thinking/Legal Reasoning (It is highly recommended that this course be taken by Sophomore year for anyone considering taking the LSAT, whether or not the Legal Studies Minor is completed.)
  • PHI 203 Ethics
  • PHI 204 Public Morality
  • PHI 230 Philosophy and Law
  • MUS 345 Music Law
  • POL 282/399 Internship

Secondary Social Studies Education

Students in History or Political Science preparing for a career in social sciences education take History and Political Science courses and a series of Education and other courses specified by the Education Department to meet Pennsylvania Department of Education regulations. As early as possible in their college experience, candidates for teacher certification in social studies should consult the Requirements section of the Education website and the chair of Education regarding specific course requirements. The Social Studies Education certification is a grades 7-12 program.


POL 101
American Government
This introductory course presents the dynamics of American politics and government. Such factors as public opinion, interest groups, political parties, mass media, Congress, the Presidency, the bureaucracy and the courts are analyzed. The national level of American government is emphasized in this course. GENERAL STUDIES FOUNDATIONS-SOCIAL SCIENCE

POL 202
International Relations
This course provides an introduction to international relations by analyzing the foreign policy of states, the international system, and the role of non-state actors. The goal is to teach students how to understand the multifold activities that take place in the international arena. GENERAL STUDIES FOUNDATIONS-SOCIAL SCIENCE

POL 205
Comparative Politics
The concepts of systems analysis are used in the study of structures and processes of foreign political systems. Both theoretical and case study materials are used to show the similarities as well as the differences in the ways people govern themselves. GENERAL STUDIES FOUNDATIONS-SOCIAL SCIENCE

POL 206
Political Inquiry
Political Inquiry will introduce students to the world of social science research. By the end of the course, pupils will learn to formulate research questions, craft hypotheses, identify dependent and independent variables, fashion thesis statements, and realize different levels of analysis. Students will also be introduced to different qualitative and quantitative methodologies that political scientists employ to conduct research.

POL 207
Research Methods in Political Science
The social scientific study of politics and public policy is introduced in this course, which includes skill development in hypothesis formulation, measurement, research design, survey research and statistics through multivariate analysis. Prerequisite: POL 206  GENERAL STUDIES FOUNDATIONS-QUANTITATIVE

POL 210
The U.S. Congress
This course introduces students to the history of the Congress, the characteristics and behavior of its members, the impact of Congressional elections, institutional powers and operations, Congressional relationships with other branches of government, the impact of public opinion on policy making, and methods to assess the democratic performance of the institution.

POL 212
U.S. Presidency
The powers of presidents and the different roles they play in our polity will be studied in this course. We will examine how the office changed historically, what policymaking tools presidents utilize, and how chief executives interact with other government officials.  The course will also explore the path to winning the presidency.

POL 214
Public Policy
Students in this course study how policies are made by governments. Half of the course is devoted to a comparative analysis of three major policy perspectives or ideologies, along with a description of popular models of the policymaking process. The other half of the course uses this theoretical background to focus on policy case studies from fields including economics, health care, education and the environment.

POL 216
Law and Society
This is an introduction to the social scientific study of law and legal systems. The course addresses such issues as the nature of law and its functions in society, including social control, dispute settlement and policymaking. It examines the attributes and organization of legal systems and particularly, although not exclusively, the American system. It also offers an overview of the roles and functions of lawyers and judges and a more focused examination of Supreme Court decision-making. Some familiarity with American politics and institutions is assumed.

POL 218
Public Administration
This course will focus on two component parts of the study of public entities: the bureaucracy and nonprofit organizations. Students will learn foundational components of the study of public administration, appreciate the intricacies of different types of public organizations, understand governance and leadership of public and nonprofit agencies, identify the functions and tools of the bureaucracy and nonprofit sector, and recognize how these institutions finance their activities.

POL 220
Urban Politics
This course will focus on two important aspects of urban places: people and power. The class will teach students about the nation’s federalist structure, various forms of local government, theories of local power, the roles of social capital and civic engagement in municipal administrative and policy processes, and the ways structures can include and exclude subsets of a population. GENERAL STUDIES CONNECTIONS COURSE

POL 231
Criminal Law
This course is an introduction to the study of criminal law. The principles of American criminal law are examined using the case method. Among the topics covered are the general principles of criminal liability, the elements of various crimes, and defenses. The structure and operation of the criminal justice system are also reviewed.
Prerequisite: POL 101 or 216 or permission of the instructor

POL 240
Special Topics in Political Science
This course offers special topics of current interest in political science.

POL 242
Human Rights
Human rights represent one of the greatest challenges facing our world today. This course explores the politics of the many theoretical, historical and cultural issues surrounding the contemporary human rights debate. GENERAL STUDIES CONNECTIONS-GLOBAL

POL 250
Political Geography
This course is designed to teach the basic principles of geography in political context so that geography can be used meaningfully to solve political problems. The course relies on a series of applications that require printed and on-line maps. Students will learn how to create original maps as well as how to interpret maps in a variety of formats including satellite photography. A significant course for International Relations and Comparative Politics students, it also fulfills national and Pennsylvania geography requirements for secondary school social science teacher certification students.

POL 260
The Politics of Russia and Neighboring States
This course is designed to familiarize students with the major issues in the maelstrom of early 21st century Russian economic and political transformation. Russia contends with its own contradictions: major military and diplomatic status; Third World economic status; peace program and internal wars; democratic structure; and Czarist function. The course considers the fall of the Soviet empire, the failures of democratization and market bolshevism, the burglary of the state economy and the legacies of Czarism, wars and political terror, et al.

POL 273
Globalization represents one of the most important forces shaping our world today. While some argue that it brings people closer together, others view it as a source of fragmentations and destruction. This course explores the economic, political and social impacts of globalization on our world. Students analyze globalization in historical, economic, political and cultural contexts. Topics in this course are examined from a range of perspectives, and students are encouraged to draw their own conclusions on the positive and negative impacts of globalization. GENERAL STUDIES CONNECTIONS-GLOBAL

POL 295
Wheeling and Dealing: The Theory and Practice of Negotiation
The purpose of this course is to examine a number of theoretical perspectives on negotiating and to develop in students those skills necessary for successful negotiation. In addition to readings on the topic, students use a variety of social science learning methods including role playing, computer simulation, video instruction, and written and filmed case studies. General studies social science.

POL 314
Classical Political Theory
This course examines the origins of political society and the evolution of political concepts such as legitimate authority, liberty, justice, divine right, civil society and the rule of law. We will trace the development of these ideas from antiquity through the early modern era, seeking to examine how they inform contemporary political ideals. GENERAL STUDIES CONNECTIONS-GLOBAL

POL 315
Political Theory
This course examines the modern political concepts that have molded our contemporary political climate, including our ideas of justice, equality, individual rights and liberties, economic entitlements, and the foundations of civil society. GENERAL STUDIES CONNECTIONS-HUMANITIES

POL 321
Environmental Policy
After a brief history and discussion of the theory behind environmental policy, this class will devote its time to an extended description and critical discussion of specific environmental policies. This discussion is broken into two main categories: policies dealing with pollution and public health (including waste and air and water pollution), and policies dealing with land management and the public realm (including agriculture, public lands and sprawl).
Prerequisite: POL 101 or 214 or permission of the instructor

POL 322
Political Parties, Elections and Interest Groups
This is an analysis of the political organizations, including the political parties and pressure groups operating in the American political system. Students are expected to participate in supervised field work.
Prerequisite: POL 101

Global Health
This course is designed to offer an introduction to major issues in public health by analyzing these issues from national and global perspectives. A review of case studies and theoretical approaches will help illustrate the challenges – and solutions – involved in addressing diseases and illnesses in the 21st century. This course gives special attention to the relationship of health to globalization, poverty, identity and conflict. Cross-listed as SYN330 for General Studies Synthesis credit.

POL 331
Criminal Law
This course is an introduction to the study of criminal law. The principles of American criminal law are examined using the case method. Among the topics covered are the general principles of criminal liability, the elements of various crimes, and defenses. The structure and operation of the criminal justice system are also reviewed.
Prerequisite: POL 101 or 216 or permission of the instructor

POL 340
Topics for Political Analysis
This is a seminar on a selected topic of interest to students and faculty in political science. The focus is on materials and method as well as the content of the topic. Recent topics covered were political leadership, women in politics, and the theory and practice of democracy.

POL 345
Latin American Politics
Many world problems emerge in Latin America — high infant mortality, drugs, hunger, population growth without jobs, economic stagnation, the debt crisis, foreign aid, trade and outside intervention. This course is about the origins of traditional and contemporary political problems and potential remedies for these problems. Students are encouraged to do the assigned reading with a view to offering their own analyses and possible solutions.

POL 352
International Law and Organizations
This course introduces students to the theories and practices of international law and international organizations. The course analyzes contemporary international laws in several areas, including human rights, security and the environment. Organizations covered during the semester include the United Nations, international financial institutions, regional organizations, nongovernmental organizations and other non-state groups.
Prerequisite: POL 202

POL 371
Constitutional Law
This course is a study of the United States Constitution as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court, concentrating on fundamental constitutional doctrines of judicial review, federalism and separation of powers. Emphasis also is placed on understanding the role of the judiciary in the American constitutional system, as well as the importance of considering the political and historical context in which any given constitutional doctrine is developed. This course is taught using the case method.
Prerequisite: POL 101 or 216 or permission of the instructor

POL 372
Civil Liberties
This course is an intensive analysis of constitutional provisions and United States Supreme Court decisions regarding protections for individuals against excessive governmental interference (civil liberties) and provisions by which individuals may use government power to protect themselves against certain forms of discrimination (civil rights). Emphasis is placed upon the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, including the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment as well as various Congressional enactments intended to further the purposes of those amendments. Such topics as the right to privacy, abortion, the rights of the criminally accused and other controversial and contemporary issues are covered. This course is taught using the case method.
Prerequisite: POL 101 or 216 or permission of instructor

POL 399
Students are involved in a local or off-campus public bureaucracy, nonprofit organization or other political activity under the supervision of an Albright instructor and a mentor at the internship location.

POL 401
Seminar on American Politics and Government
This is a reading seminar on institutions, processes, personalities and outcomes of domestic politics and public policy. Readings are selected to provide students with an understanding of the scope of the approaches used by political scientists when studying institutions, behavior and culture. Designed for juniors and seniors in political science.
Prerequisite: POL 101

POL 403
Seminar on US Foreign Policy
A seminar examining the processes and functioning of the United States political system in the area of foreign policy determination. The decisions the U.S. has made and their effects are analyzed and evaluated. Designed for juniors and seniors.

POL 412
Seminar in Law and Public Policy
This research seminar examines the role of the Supreme Court in the formulation, administration, consequences and evaluation of public policy. In order to facilitate understanding of the complex interplay between private and public actors characteristic of this subject, the seminar involves intensive examination of one or more policy areas. Examples of such policy areas include the limitations of the judiciary as a public policy actor, the continuing controversy over the establishment and free exercise of religion clauses, and the controversy over the death penalty.
Prerequisite: POL 216, 371 or 372, or permission of the instructor

POL 420
Seminar on Global Poverty
Global poverty and its consequences are among the greatest challenges of our time.  This course introduces students to the theories, research methods and practices of international development, a subfield of political science in which poverty in the countries of the global south is the central concern. In this course students will analyze measures of development, the history of the field, competing paradigms, and the roles of aid, trade and debt relief. This course is open to juniors and seniors in the Political Science and International Relations programs. Other students may join with instructor permission.

POL 440
A seminar on a selected topic of interest to students and faculty in political science. The focus is on materials and method as well as the content of the topic. Designed for juniors and seniors in political science.
Prerequisite: POL 101

POL 450
Power and Seminal Readings in the American Polity
This course will introduce students to seminal readings in different subfields of American politics. In the first part of the seminar, students will become acquainted with how power is perceived and studied. In the second part of the course, students will read major works by various scholars of the American polity. Thus, by the end of the class, students will realize different personifications of power and recognize influential literature across the field of American politics. Prerequisites: POL101, POL 214, POL218 or Permission of the Instructor.


PUH 101
Introduction to Public Health
This is an introductory survey course to public health. The course will discuss the historical development of public health as a field, provide students with a methodology for understanding populations and introduce students to the basic tenets and applications of public health. The course will utilize guest speakers and case studies to present the framework of public health.

PUH 250
Health Issues Around the World
Human health and disease is the result of a complex interaction of physiological, environmental, geographic, cultural, socio-economic and political factors.  Even the perception of illness and health varies significantly throughout the world, and therefore this course will examine the overall context of these issues.  Most undergraduates have a very limited exposure to other parts of the world, and so the course will include a discussion of unique problems encountered in different regions, with particular emphasis on developing countries and the plight of indigenous populations. Student engagement is a key element, and students will become more directly involved through research reports, presentations of case studies, group projects and a term paper. GENERAL STUDIES CONNECTIONS-GLOBAL

PUH 310
This course will introduce students to basic principles and methods used in epidemiology. The course will include basic research design, estimating outcome measures, and establishing cause and effect and effectiveness of interventions to prevent and cure disease. General Studies Connections-Global

PUH 330
Global Health
This course is designed to offer an introduction to major issues in public health by analyzing these issues from national and global perspectives. A review of case studies and theoretical approaches will help illustrate the challenges – and solutions – involved in addressing diseases and illnesses in the 21st century. This course gives special attention to the relationship of health to globalization, poverty, identity and conflict. Cross-listed as SYN330 for General Studies Synthesis credit.

PUH 440
A seminar on a selected topic in public health. The focus is on materials and method as well as the content of the topic.

What Can I Do With a Major in Political Science?


The Department of Political Science is housed in John K. Roessner III ’61 Hall: The Center for Business and Civic Leadership. Albright’s newest academic facility, Roessner Hall features 30,000 square feet of state-of-the-art classrooms, offices and meeting spaces. Political Science shares the building with the Department of Business, Accounting & Economics, the Center for Excellence in Local Government, and the Center for Community Engagement. Among the goals of the building are to enhance synergy and collaboration among these related departments and to showcase the interdisciplinary, collaborative approach that is at the heart of the Albright educational experience.

Faculty offices in Roessner Hall provide truly active and collaborative learning opportunities, and are equipped with technology that allows for collaborative, investigative learning. To promote increased interaction between students and faculty, break-out spaces are located near faculty offices and incorporate transparency and natural light that permeates both areas. The building also includes break-out spaces around classrooms, allowing for more intimate interaction and work spaces for classroom learning to spill out into the public realm, and a global media lounge and current periodical reading room, providing resources for students to stay current in their fields, encouraging discourse and debate, and giving rise to a community of learning.

Student Scholarship & Experiential Learning

Independent Scholarship

The department’s faculty members have been active in supporting Honors work and Albright Creative Research Experience (ACRE) projects at the College. Department members have been readers on many theses since the inception of the programs. Listed below are examples of the Honors and ACRE research conducted by Political Science faculty members with their respective students:

  • Michelle Reinhart, “Citizens United v. FEC: Corporate Personhood and the Distortion of Legal History,” ACRE project
  • Katherine Donaldson, “Redistricting, an Incumbent’s Best Friend? The Results of Redrawing District Lines in Massachusetts and Michigan”
  • Soe Jean Joh, “The Environment and Human Rights”
  • Christin Walter, “Roma Authoritative Structures”
  • Jennifer Conway, “French Nuclear Weapons Policy”
  • Catherine A. Buckius, “Religious Values in the Media: A Study of Family Guy,” ACRE project
  • Jessica A. Winski, “Why Become a Politician? A Study of Personality and Political Motivation in Philadelphia Political Elites,” ACRE projectMs. Winski and Ms. Reinhart presented their research at academic conferences. Ms. Winski continued onto graduate school in political science at the University of Oklahoma, and Ms. Reinhart is currently applying to law school. Ms. Reinhart’s paper, which she co-authored with Dr. Bruce Auerbach, was published in 2012 in the Intergenerational Justice Review. Ms. Walter returned to Romania for a period after graduation. Ms. Joh was awarded a paid internship at the Think Tanks and Civil Society Program in the International Relations Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Donaldson joined Teach for America and is attending Fordham University. Ms. Conway joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Ms. Buckius is employed in the Philadelphia area.

In addition, the faculty members support students who are interested in a reading or research topic, but are not participants in the college’s Honors programs.  About three students each academic year are supported in in these independent study efforts.

Study Abroad

Students with interests in comparative politics and international relations are encouraged to study and travel in another country or culture for at least a semester. Over the last decade, students have attended academic institutions in Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Israel, France, Australia and Scotland. And within the last five years, students have studied in academic programs in Spain, Italy, England, Thailand, Russia and Bhutan.

Experiential Learning

Internship and service learning have a long and distinguished history in the Political Science Department. The department was one of the original supporters of the Washington Center in the 1970s and has used it successfully over the past decades as its placement agency in the national capital. Placements have included Congressional House and Senate offices, federal agencies, the federal and district court systems, NGOs and private lobbying groups, mass media organizations, and think tanks. Many past interns have returned to the District to work on the Hill, in the federal bureaucracy, and with lobbying groups.

Each student prepares a portfolio of work completed during the placement for evaluation by a member of the department. Included in the portfolio are work products, memos from lectures and interviews, and assessments by both a Washington Center agent and the instructor of a course selected by the student. The student receives Albright college credit for the internship. Recent Washington Center placements include:

  • North American Association for Environmental Education
  • Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University
  • Office of the Federal Environmental Executive
  • International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)

Local internships are also available to students in the department. Such internships, especially in Reading, are established by departmental faculty. Often students will intern in a home area placement, but must adhere to the same academic requirements as other placements. These requirements include four written assignments, a time log and a written evaluation by the site supervisor. Recent examples of such internships are presented below:

  • City Council Office, City of Reading, Reading, Pa.
  • Juvenile Justice Department, Schuylkill County Courthouse
  • Law Department, City of Reading, Reading, Pa.
  • Office of the Prosecutor, Camden County, Camden, N.J.
  • City Clerk’s Office, City of Reading, Reading, Pa.
  • Richmond County Supreme Court, Staten Island, N.Y.
  • Bucks County Clerk of the Courts, Doylestown, Pa.
  • City Solicitor Office, City of Reading, Reading, Pa.
  • Stevens and Lee/Griffin Financial Group