Political Science

Get a liberal education while also preparing for a career.

Examine the great questions of justice and empire, freedom and tyranny, war and peace.

In our courses, you will read and discuss original texts and personal speeches by the world’s great political philosophers and statesmen. 

When you major in Political Science at Ashland, you learn to think clearly, analyze thoroughly and communicate your thoughts well both orally and in writing. You won’t work from a textbook and be asked to memorize endless dates. Instead, we will delve into original texts and personal speeches by the world’s great political philosophers and statesmen. Then, in a conversational, seminar-style environment, we’ll discuss key ideas together and come to well-reasoned conclusions. It’s a powerful way to learn, and somehow fitting for a campus that is also home to the renowned Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs that is dedicated to the scholarly defense of individual liberty, limited constitutional government and civic morality.

What You’ll Love About the Political Science Major:

  • You will get to know your professors well and they will serve as advisors on your research projects.
  • You will study original texts and dig out the truth yourself, rather than having it served up to you in a textbook that is someone else’s opinion.
  • Instead of lectures, you’ll learn through a conversational, seminar discussion format that invites sharing among students and professors.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to attend events sponsored by the Ashbrook Center that brings foremost political minds of our day to campus. Among the notable public figures who have participated in the Center’s programs are Ronald Reagan, Colin Powell, Margaret Thatcher, Henry Kissinger, William Bennett and many others.
  • Every other year, our department makes an overseas trip to study a political subject. We have visited Florence, Italy, to study “Machiavelli in His Hometown” and England France, and Germany to study the Second World War.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to write a senior thesis under the guidance of a faculty member. Writing a thesis is excellent preparation for graduate school and for future career positions you may hold. Recent topics have included such areas as: Mexico’s Move Toward Democracy in the 2000 Presidential Elections, Marriage and the Family in the Founding Era and Power and Pretext: The Status of Justice in Thucydides.

Reach Your Career Goals, Enhance Your Career Possibilities

A degree in Political Science allows you to enter a wide range of careers and is excellent preparation for graduate school. Among the positions Political Science graduates pursue are:

  • Legislative aide
  • Agency specialist for governmental offices such as Environmental Protection, Social Security, Federal Emergency Management and others
  • Lobbyist
  • Researcher
  • Political journalist
  • State executive office staff
  • City/county official
  • Reporter

Expand your career possibilities by adding:

  • Minor in Journalism – Gain skills that lead to a career as a political news reporter or journalist

Professors Who Are Gifted Teachers

  • Professors enjoy mentoring students and will work with you closely on your senior thesis and other research.
  • Professors use the conversational seminar teaching style to encourage students to think and share their ideas in class.
  • All professors are engaged in professional research such as exploring the political thought of Mark Twain, American foreign policy and the American Civil Rights Movement among other topics.
  • Professors will teach all of your classes, never graduate students or teaching assistants.

Interesting Classes You May Take

  • Ancient Political Thought – Study ancient political thought, whose central concern is the search for the best regime – the one that most cultivates human excellence. Political philosophy is an important part of almost all of our classes and our emphasis on it is one of the things that most distinguishes us from other programs.
  • The Presidency and Congress — Examine the nation’s Chief Executive and law-making body. Topics include the constitutional sources and framework for executive and legislative action, including conflict and cooperation of the President with Congress, the historical development of these branches of government and contemporary issues in the legislative-executive process.
  • International Relations — Study how and why countries fight wars and make and maintain peace. The course draws on both historical and contemporary examples, examines the writings of theorists and the speeches and deeds of leading statesmen.
  • Constitutional Powers — Explore the American constitutional framework for the exercise of governmental power, with particular emphasis on the role of the Supreme Court in articulating that framework. 

Gain Real-World Experience

Students are encouraged to fulfill an internship during their college years. Over the years, a number of our students have received internships through the Ashbrook Center to work in the White House and elsewhere in Washington, D.C. Other students have worked on presidential campaigns for both parties and as legislative interns in Columbus, Ohio.

Organization for Political Science Majors

The Social Science Component

The Core Curriculum is a set of courses that all students at Ashland take in addition to and as a foundation for their particular major. Its purpose is to give you the broad background that a person needs to live well in our complex world, so that you can reason clearly, appreciate art and music, think about religion, and understand the past and the basic principles of and science. One part of this “common major,” the “Social Science” component, helps you to understand and evaluate how human beings live, both as individuals and in society. Political science makes a special contribution to this study by giving you the concepts and modes of thought needed to understand the fundamental role of government and politics in our lives.

Career Outlook for Political Science Majors

A Political Science major opens up a broad range of opportunities, including many within the various agencies of the federal government. Areas of greatest opportunity within the government in the decade between 2006 and 2016 will be in homeland security, transportation security, public health and information analysis. With 58 percent of supervisory and 42 percent of nonsupervisory employees of the federal workforce scheduled to retire by the end of 2010, employment opportunities look encouraging, despite a system-wide commitment to trim the budget.

Another popular career avenue for Political Science majors is law school. Experts predict an 11 percent increase in job openings for lawyers between 2006 and 2016. Competitions for these positions will be strong, but for those with strong abilities, opportunities are always available.