Academic Catalog


Political Science and Geography

Department website:

Jonathan Leib, Chair

The Department of Political Science and Geography offers undergraduate degrees in political science, geography and international studies.

In political science, the Department offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. The political science program is designed to give students an essential core of basic knowledge and analytical skills, while providing an opportunity to specialize in one of two emphasis areas: American politics and public law, or international relations and comparative politics. Optionally, students may major in one of the following areas: 1) International Affairs and Global Politics or 2) Analytics, Institutions, and Public Policy.

In geography, the Department offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. The geography program is designed to give students a broad base of geographical training and an understanding of human-environment interrelationships, while providing an opportunity to specialize in one of three majors: urban planning and emergency/hazards management, environment and resources, and geographic information systems (BS only). Undergraduate and graduate certificates in cyber risk management, geographic information science, hazards and emergency management, spatial analysis of coastal environments, and urban studies and planning are also offered.

The Department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in International Studies, which is an interdisciplinary program that offers students a chance to explore the interrelations among nations and peoples and to study world affairs from a variety of perspectives. The International Studies major centers on studies in world languages and cultures, geography, history, and political science. Students have considerable flexibility to structure their academic programs to meet their particular needs and interests or to focus in a variety of geographical or topical fields.

In addition to developing subject-area expertise, political science and geography courses are designed to build analytic and communication skills. Writing and critical thinking skills are emphasized throughout the curriculum. Undergraduates in most 400-level courses in political science and geography are required to make oral presentations in class. Instructors also strengthen students' verbal competency skills through in-class discussions. Students gain technical skills in lower and upper-level methods classes where computers are employed for data analysis and social science research.

Undergraduate students may earn honors in the major in political science, geography or international studies by fulfilling all the requirements for the specific degree (BA and BS) and meeting the honors requirements. The requirements for honors do not increase the credit hours necessary for the major.

Advanced Placement

Students interested in advanced placement credit should confer with the department chair.  Information on credit awarded for qualifying scores on AP and IB subject examinations can be found on the equivalency charts on the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website at