Jul 14, 2024  
2021-2022 Rivier University Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 Rivier University Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (Day)

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Courses in this major cover political theory from ancient civilizations to modern times, familiarizing students with ways in which people in various cultures have governed themselves and conducted their relations with other nations. Questions of war and peace and public morality are considered. Courses  in national, state, and local government help students understand how their own governments operate  and how voter participation influences governmental policy. A sound understanding of different cultures, political systems, and international or regional organizations enables students to function effectively in the “global village” that today’s world represents.

This major provides the academic knowledge, analytical ability, research skills, and writing ability appropriate for positions in government agencies, teaching, business, and special interest groups, as well as for law school candidacy and graduate programs in government.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who complete bachelor degree requirements should be able to:

  • Explain the dynamic interaction between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government and the potential for creative use of these relationships;
  • Demonstrate the dynamics of how federal and state governments interact and evaluate the effectiveness of these governmental relationships in the context of different public goals;
  • Evaluate the role played by special interest groups at the state and national level;
  • Describe the range of policy options available to lawmakers and public decision makers;
  • Explain how individuals, groups, and institution including government affect the political  process, either by engaging in political activity or by leaving it to others, and that all are therefore  responsible for how well, or how poorly, we are governed;
  • Describe the place of the United States in the world today and consider its appropriate place in the future;
  • Evaluate the role of regional and international organizations;
  • Demonstrate an  understanding of the relations between and among states;
  • Explain the causes of war and the conditions of peace;
  • Demonstrate an  understanding of  global transformation.


The competencies described above are assessed in the following ways:

  • Written exams;
  • Research papers and memoranda (legal and socio-political, theoretical and factual);
  • Oral reports;
  • Classroom discussions;
  • On-site, government-related work performed under professional supervision.

General Education Requirements (42-45 credits)

Associated with General Core

Who is My Neighbor?  Students explore this question in their second and third years.(6 credits)

  • HUM200 Literature, Art, and the Human Credits: 3
    Students take one -200 level interdisciplinary course that addresses a basic human question from the perspectives of the literary, visual, and musical arts.
  • HIS203 Interactions: The West in the World I Credits: 3 or
  • HIS204 Interactions: The West in the World II Credits: 3

How Shall We Live? Students explore this question in their junior and senior years. (6 credits)

  • Religion: Faith, Religion, and Social Justice Credits: 3
    Students take one Religion course developed with this theme at its center.
  • Philosophy: Ethics, Values, and Moral Choices Credits: 3
    Students take one Philosophy course developed with this theme at its center.

What, then, Shall We Do?  Students explore this question in their junior or senior year. (3 credits)

  • Capstone: Justice and Global Responsibility Credits: 3
    Students take one of a number of offerings under Justice and Global Responsibility. This seminar serves as the culmination of the Common Core. Informed by problem-solving pedagogy, this seminar enhances the student’s connection with the Catholic vision of the University by focusing on justice and global responsibility.

Area Distribution Courses: The Core Complement
Humanities and Social Sciences (6 credits)

  • One course from: English, History, Modern Language, Philosophy, Religious Studies Credits: 3
  • One course from: Economics, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology Credits: 3

Mathematics and Natural Sciences (6 credits)

  • One course in Mathematics:  MA112 College Algebra or above Credits: 3
  • One course from: Computer Science, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, or Physical Science Credits: 3-4

Culture through Language (6 credits)
Students must demonstrate university-level introductory competency in a language other than English.

General Electives (36 credits)

Degree Requirements (120 credits)

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