The Department of Political Science (formerly called Government and International Relations) offers courses that explore some of the most important questions of concern to citizens in countries all over the world. For example:
- Why are some governments stable and others unstable?
- How do individuals and groups gain and maintain power?
- What factors cause wars or contribute to a peaceful resolution of conflicts?
- How do public policies affect citizens' lives and how can citizens affect those policies?
- How do differences in social characteristics, such as race, religion, ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation, affect peoples' political attitudes and behavior?
Students who major in Political Science learn how to probe, analyze, and engage in critical thinking about such questions. Our majors take a research methods course and a normative political theory course that provide them with a broad foundation of concepts and methods for developing their own answers to these and other questions and for evaluating the validity of answers other people present. Our students get to sharpen their analytical and research skills in the other courses they take in each of our subfields:
- American Politics and Public Policy
- Comparative Politics
- International Relations
They also gain greater depth in one of these subfields—whichever one they find most interesting—by taking several courses in it, from the introductory level to intensive advanced seminars. Learn more about these areas of study at Clark.
Many of our students do internships during the academic year or over the summer and gain valuable perspectives on government and politics in the "real world." Our faculty have supervised student internships in the Office of Worcester's Mayor, with city councilors, at neighborhood community development organizations, in the Worcester Area Legal Assistance agency, at local law firms, and with non-profit organizations that offer services to homeless families and individuals, among others. Other students choose to complete an internship at the Washington Center.
Study Abroad or Away
Some of our students take advantage of opportunities to learn more about other countries first-hand by going on study-abroad programs. The Zenovia Sochor Memorial Fund ($500) is awarded annually to a declared political science major studying abroad during the spring semester. Other students enhance their understanding of U.S. politics by spending a semester studying in Washington, D.C.
Life After Clark
Our major prepares students for careers in the public, non-profit, and private sectors, including positions in local, state, and national government, in international and community organizations, and in business, journalism, and education. Some of our students go on to professional schools or graduate school programs and earn advanced degrees in fields such as law, management, urban planning, public administration, public policy, and political science. In fact, some of our alumni who went on to earn the Ph.D. in Political Science are now distinguished professors, deans, pollsters, and officers of prestigious professional associations. Some examples:
- Dr. John Coleman is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin
- Dr. David Lake is Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean of Social Sciences at the University of California-San Diego and President of the International Studies Association
- Dr. Virginia Sapiro is Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Boston University
- Dr. Lee Miringoff is Director of the Marist Poll in New York
Other alumni have become "movers and shakers" in government, business, and the media. For example:
- Jay Ash '83 is the City Manager of Chelsea, MA and President of the Metropolitan (Boston) Area Planning Council. Jay talks about his path from Clark to city government.
- Ron Shaich '76 is the president of Panera Bread. Learn more
- Alex Weprin '06 is the Co-Editor of TVNewser and editor of WebNewser
Listen to some of our alumni: