PROGRAM OVERVIEW The Department of Politics and International Relations provides an exceptional learning environment that prepares students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments, and responsible global citizenship. With the liberal arts focus of the program, students will develop a foundation both for citizenship in a democratic society and for successful training in a career or in graduate or professional school. Majors will be prepared for entrance into state, local, and federal government service; business careers; social work; journalism; teaching; and politics; approximately half of Drake's politics and international relations majors go to law school or other graduate study.
FACULTY All nine full-time faculty are engaged in teaching classes from the introductory to advanced levels. Their areas of research interest include American foreign policy, judicial selection, money and politics, the meaning of the Constitution, human rights, welfare policy, and Japanese interest groups. Four members of the department have won University or college teaching awards.
ACADEMIC PREPARATION There are no prerequisite high school courses or requirements needed for enrollment in the introductory course in politics, but students should have a well-rounded academic high school curriculum, including history, government, economics, and mathematics.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJOR A total of 42 credit hours of politics courses are required. For graduation, majors must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA in each of two separate areas: all politics courses, including those beyond the 30 (or 33)-hour requirement; and those related-field courses applied to the major.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MINOR The minor in politics, requiring 18 credit hours, provides a broad overview of the breadth of topics examined in the field and the opportunity to delve more deeply into a specific area of political science.
DRAKE CURRICULUM The Drake Curriculum, required of all undergraduates, is designed to help students meet personal and professional goals as they acquire fundamental knowledge and abilities in ten Areas of Inquiry, including communication, critical thinking, artistic experience, historical consciousness, information and technology literacy, international and multicultural experiences, scientific and quantitative literacy, values and ethics, and engaged citizenship. As an alternative to the Areas of Inquiry, students may choose to follow the Honors track. Students work closely with their academic advisers to craft a program of study in general education that prepares students for civic and professional leadership.
The Drake Curriculum also requires a First Year Seminar, which fosters development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills through a topical focus, and a Senior Capstone in which students demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills, and ideas to bear on one project.
INTERNSHIPS & OPPORTUNITIES Drake’s location allows students to supplement classes with experiences in government and politics. Des Moines is both the state capital and the largest city in the state, making it a center of both government and politics. Students can find internship/volunteer experiences in both government (e.g., the state legislature, governor’s office, various state agencies, and nonprofit organizations that work with government) and politics (e.g., political parties, offices of U.S. senators, interest groups, and other political organizations). And once every four years, it is the center of the Iowa caucuses, providing unparalleled opportunities for political activity. Students may earn up to six credits for faculty-supervised internship experiences.
HONORS Each year an outstanding graduating senior politics major is presented with the C. Walter Clark Award.
CAREER OPTIONS Majors use their degrees for entrance into state, local, and federal government service; business careers; social work; journalism; teaching; and politics. Approximately half go to law or graduate school.
STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES Students with an overall GPA of at least 3.0 together with a GPA of at least 3.25 in a minimum of 15 credit hours in politics courses may be eligible for induction into Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honorary society.