Staff Opinion: Why you should take a political science class (even if it's not your major)

By Morgan Wahler | December 13, 2017 12:35pm

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Morgan Wahler is a sophomore reporter on The Beacon this semester.
by Brennan Robinson / The Beacon

No, the Department of Political Science did not pay me to write this, and no, I’m not saying to drop everything and change your major to political science. 

I wasn’t always a political science major. I began my college career as a biology major, but soon after my first government class, I realized the importance of the subject and switched over to political science in no time. I knew very little about our country’s political process before my first collegiate political science class. 

Our country’s political atmosphere is tense, and the federal government’s every move is highly scrutinized and publicized. We are learning every day about new government powers and processes through Twitter, Facebook, the news and many other platforms. Oftentimes, we don’t learn about our country’s ability in the best learning environment: the classroom. 

With over 50 courses offered and nearly 20 courses available for the spring 2018 semester, the university provides ample opportunities to learn about our political system. A basic understanding of American politics is essential for becoming a functioning member of our society. 

It doesn’t matter whether you vote Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc., but one should have a knowledge of the fundamental aspects of our political system — locally in our cities and states, nationally with the federal government, and even internationally to understand foreign political atmospheres. 

At the very least, start by taking the Introduction to U.S. politics course (POL 200), where I learned about the evolution of our political system and the role of citizens (us) in the democratic process. I can say with full confidence that an understanding of the country’s democratic nature is paramount to becoming an informed voter and participating member of society.

To educate yourself further, a class in international politics (like POL 205 or 270) will inform you of modern foreign governmental processes. This is important if you intend to study abroad, travel or even have conversations about foreign news and elections. 

If you completely fall in love with political science, try adding it as a minor. This extra step opens more opportunities to learn about the political processes, history and development of our country and others. 

Political science classes aim at engaging students in the political sphere, and for non-political science majors to feel less out of place in these classes, I would recommend exactly that. By participating in local and federal elections and being active in class, it is easier to understand the political system. 

As political science professor Curtis always says, “this is the best time to be taking political science classes.” Most majors require students take out-of-major credits, why not take a few political science ones?

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