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 Department of Political Science Learning Objectives

CSULB Department of Political Science B.A. Learning Objectives

Substantive knowledge: Students should have a basic knowledge of the political world, including the
ideas, institutions, processes, and policies of the United States and selected other societies, as well as the
history and organization of the international system.

Students with a B.A. in Political Science will be able to:

  • 1. discuss the most important political theorists in the western tradition and the ideas
    associated with them.
  • 2. describe basic political and governmental structures, processes, and policies in the U.S.and in several other western and non-western countries.
  • 3. describe the history, structure and operation of the international system.
  • 4. describe the role and impact of the U.S. in the international system.
  • 5. identify the principal arguments for and against alternative forms of government.

Analytical skills: Students should understand and be able to work with the approaches and theories
used by political scientists to understand political phenomena.

Students with a B.A. in Political Science will be able to:

  • 1. discriminate between normative and empirical theories.
  • 2. explain the role of political ideas, value conflicts, and ideology in human societies.
  • 3. evaluate alternative political ideas and ideologies.
  • 4. explain the structural context within which politics takes place, including the role of the
    economy, society, and culture, and conflicts over and within those domains.

Research skills: Students should have the research skills necessary to ask and answer basic political
questions.

Students with a B.A. in Political Science will be able to:

  • 1. conduct research into political questions using both traditional library, documentary, and
    interview sources and newer electronic modalities including the Internet and web sites.
  • 2. acquire information from class lectures, discussions, and readings.
  • 3. collect, describe and interpret qualitative data.
  • 4. collect, describe and interpret quantitative data.

Communication skills: Students should be able to present their ideas and the information that they’ve
acquired, and the analyses they’ve developed in an appropriate format.

Students with a B.A. in Political Science will be able to:

  • 1. write clearly and cogently about political questions, using appropriate language;
    developing a clear thesis, and supporting that thesis with evidence.
  • 2. take positions on, and argue (orally and in writing) for different political and issue
    positions.

CSULB Department of Political Science M.A. Learning Objectives

Substantive knowledge: Students will acquire advanced knowledge of national and international
politics. They will gain conceptual depth in the field of political science, learn methodological tools, and
further develop their critical thinking abilities.

Students with an M.A. in Political science will be able to:

  • 1. understand the research designs and methods important to the field.
  • 2. understand theoretical advances in the field.
  • 3. understand major trends in the field, and the relation between the subfields of political science.
  • 4. demonstrate command of the literature in at least one subfield.
  • 5. understand the issues that drive contemporary research in political science.
  • 6. analyze current political situations.

Analytical skills: Students will master advanced analytical skills, including the ability to evaluate
evidence, make arguments, determine bias, and pose original research questions.

Students with an M.A. in Political science will be able to:

  • 1. evaluate and analyze complex texts, reading material critically.
  • 2. analyze and critique political positions, applying critical thinking skills to identify
    limitations in theories and data.
  • 3. present opposing viewpoints and alternative hypotheses on various issues.
  • 4. effectively apply reading, writing, critical thinking, and analytical skills to address
    significant issues in the political world.
  • 5. effectively apply social scientific reasoning and theories to the analysis of a wide range of
    political issues.
  • 6. generate and test hypotheses about political processes.

Research skills: Students will develop the skills necessary to conduct research.
Students with an M.A. in Political science will be able to:

  • 1. conduct research into political questions.
  • 2. acquire information from class lectures, discussions, and readings.
  • 3. collect, describe, and interpret qualitative and quantitative data.
  • 4. review and synthesize relevant political science literature.

Communication skills: Students will be able to present their ideas effectively, both orally and in
writing.

Students with an M.A. in Political science will be able to:

  • 1. write clearly and cogently about political questions, using appropriate language in the discipline.
  • 2. construct organized and coherent verbal presentations directed to appropriate audience levels.