Bookmark and Share

Department of

Political Science and International Relations

Learning Outcomes

Political Science and International Relations Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

GOAL 1 - Substantive Knowledge:  Political Science and International Relations (PS/IR) students will graduate with substantive knowledge of basic political concepts and systems.  It is our goal that PS/IR students will understand the institutions, processes and values that shape politics within and among states and be able to apply that knowledge to the world.  It is also our goal that students understand the major theories, concepts, foundations, and methodologies used in the study of politics and international relations.

  • L1 – Knowledge of Political Systems. Students should be able to identify the structure and operation of the U.S. and other political systems.
  • L2 – Knowledge of concepts and theories of politics.  Students should be able to distinguish among the diversity of traditions in the field.

GOAL 2 – Critical Thinking, Writing, And Research Skills:  PS/IR students will graduate with the ability to think critically about political concepts and systems.  It is our goal that PS/IR students will demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge of politics by using the major analytic and theoretical frameworks in several subfields of political science.  It is also our goal that students be able to formulate questions and evaluate argument and hypotheses based on these frameworks.

  • L3 – Writing and Critical Thinking.  Students should be able to construct and evaluate analytical arguments and write clear logical prose.
  •  L4 – Research. Students should be able to identify and gather information from credible primary and secondary sources.
  • L5 – Methodology. Students should be able to recognize assumptions and to devise basic research designs, test questions, arguments, and hypotheses with qualitative and/or quantitative methods.

GOAL 3 – Engagement in Politics:  It is our goal that PS/IR students are prepared for active citizenship and begin to develop an ongoing interest in national and global politics.

  • L6 – Political efficacy.  Students will develop an understanding of the importance of engaging in politics and a realization of political competence. 
  • L7 – Active participation in politics and global citizenship. Students should be able to understand both theoretically and practically the values of citizenship and its beneficial consequences.

Assessment Goals for the M.A. International Relations Program

Graduate students who successfully complete the M.A. International Relations program will be able to:

  • Distinguish among and apply the distinct levels of analysis and the leading schools of thought in international relations to understand and explain international political phenomena
  • Distinguish among leading schools of thought in comparative politics and apply and discuss these approaches in understanding and explaining domestic political phenomena
  • Develop and execute empirically grounded and theoretically based research project.