The main objective of Ave Maria University’s Politics major is to advance students’ critical understanding of the nature and purpose of political life. According to Aristotle, because man is by nature a political animal, politics is the architectonic art. The study of politics is therefore a comprehensive study of man. The study of politics is an investigation into the perennial questions of political life through careful analysis of the best that has been said and written by statesmen and philosophers from antiquity through the American founding to the present.
The program is guided by the four subfields of the study of politics: political philosophy, American politics, international relations, and comparative politics. These four fields complement each other and provide broad and principled knowledge of political life.
According to James Madison, education and the study of politics ought to be a support for free government. As Madison says in a letter to William Berry “The American people owe it to themselves, and to the cause of free Government, to prove by their establishments for the advancement and diffusion of Knowledge, that their political Institutions, …are as favorable to the intellectual and moral improvement of Man as they are conformable to his individual & social Rights. What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of Liberty & Learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual & surest support?”
Once majoring in Politics, you'll examine the ideas of freedom, democracy and human rights. You'll touch on ideologies, such as communism and fascism, as well as party politics, electoral behavior and protest and revolution. You will study the rise and fall of leaders and political parties and the power play between nations. Political philosophy, American politics, international relations, and comparative politics will leverage your understanding of past and current politic.
"I myself am most pleased by good friends, and if I possess something good I teach it, and I introduce them to others for whom, I believe, they will receive some benefit with a view to virtue. And reading in common with my friends, I go through the treasures of the wise men of old which they left behind in their books; and if we see something good, we pick it out; and we hold that it is a great gain if we become beneficial to one another."
Socrates to Antiphon in Xenophon's Memorabilia
Required Major Courses
Elective Major Courses (two required)
- POLT 204 Introduction to Political Research
- POLT 305 Public Policy
- POLT 307 The United States Presidency
- POLT 308 The United States Congress
- POLT 309 The Judiciary of the United States
- POLT 314 U.S. Foreign Policy
- POLT 415 Special Topics in Political Science and International Relations
- POLT 495 Internship in Politics
- HUMS 301 Humanities Seminar I
- HUMS 302 Humanities Seminar II
Minor in Politics
A Minor in Politics is available. The Minor requires POLT 201, 203, and 302. In addition, the student must complete three Politics courses. As in the requirements for the Major in Politics, HUMS 301, 302 Humanities Seminar I, II may count toward the Minor in Politics.
To view a complete 4 year plan please see the academic calendar