Department of History and Political Science

Department Mission

The Department of History and Political Science supports the University mission of liberal arts education in providing scholarship, academic programs, and extracurricular activities to help students better understand the diverse world in which they live, how that world developed, and how to be effective and responsible citizens of that world.

Programs of Study

The Department of History and Political Science offers a range of programs and courses geared toward the needs of majors, general education students, and candidates for teacher certification. Most department courses satisfy University General Education requirements in history and/or social sciences. Some courses fulfill General Education requirements in foreign cultures, diversity or global studies. The department offers majors in history, history education, political science, social sciences education and international studies. It offers minors in history, political science, international studies and public administration.

Options for Secondary Education Students

The Department of History and Political Sciences has designed its programs to align with the Illinois Content Area Standards for Educators established by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and the Standards of the National Council for Social Sciences (NCSS). Students who wish to become high school history teachers must seek certification in the area of social sciences with a disciplinary specialization in history. They must pass content examinations that cover a wide range of concepts from history and the social science disciplines. The department offers two majors intended to prepare students for certification under these policies: History Education (HIST ED) and Social Sciences Education (SOCSC). These two programs are similar in that both satisfy the Illinois Content Area Standards and lead to certification in social sciences with a history specialization. They differ from one another in emphasis. The history education major is designed to provide the strongest possible preparation in history. The social sciences education major provides a strong grounding in history but also allows students to develop a background in an additional social science discipline, either political science or sociology/anthropology. Interested students should discuss their options with advisors in the department. Regardless of which major they choose, students seeking secondary certification must also be admitted to the School of Education's Secondary Education Program. Students in the SOCSC and HIST ED majors must achieve an overall SXU GPA of 2.5 and complete all major courses, all general education courses and all professional education courses with a minimum grade of C to be admitted to the School of Education and student teaching. In addition, students must have a minimum SXU GPA of 2.5 in their major area of specialization at the time they apply to student teach. The major area of specialization includes all history, political science, sociology, anthropology and social science courses used to fulfill major requirements. Students considering these majors should be aware that they will face a competitive job market as prospective secondary social science teachers. Success depends upon strong mastery of the content area as demonstrated by superior grades in coursework, and upon the development of professional attitudes, skills and demeanor appropriate to teachers.

Faculty

M. Clark, Chair; K. Alaimo (on reassignment as Dean of Arts and Sciences); K. Benjamin; M. Costello; P.N. Kirstein; A. Lopez; G. Peck;  R. Taylor

Admission to Department

For admission as a major in one of the department's programs, a student must have completed at least six (6) credit hours in the intended major with a GPA of 2.5. The student must also have an overall GPA of 2.5. Interested students should apply for admission to the department chairperson. Once admitted to the department, students will be assigned an advisor with whom they should consult each semester about their course of study. Department majors and minors must earn a grade of C or better in all major courses, all general education courses and all professional education courses. Courses in which a student earns a grade of D will not count toward the fulfillment of department program requirements except by written permission from the department chair.

History and History Education Majors

The immediate objective in studying history is to gain an understanding of what happened in the past. Such an understanding is essential for comprehending how society has evolved, and for critically reflecting upon both the accomplishments and limitations of today's world. The study of history involves acquisition of knowledge and understanding, cultivation of perspective, and development of communication and critical-thinking skills. Learning to assess the credibility of evidence and to formulate interpretations based on evidence are central concerns in the study of history. Historical skills are useful in preparing for many professions. Majoring in history can help students prepare themselves for careers in secondary teaching and for graduate study. The major provides excellent preparation for students planning careers in law, government service and journalism. History students also find career opportunities in museums, libraries, archives, tourism and travel, historical preservation, business research and marketing. Finally, the study of history is an essential part of liberal education, encouraging critical and responsible citizenship and lifelong learning.

The department offers two major programs in history. The history (HIST) major is a 36 credit hour program that provides a general grounding in the historical discipline for students seeking a liberal education. The history education (HIST ED) major is a 48 credit hour program designed for students who wish to become history and social science teachers in Illinois public high schools. As well as providing a strong foundation of historical knowledge, this major focuses on concepts from related social science disciplines required for certification under the Illinois Content Area Standards for Educators. Prospective high school history teachers may also wish to consider the social sciences education (SOCSC) major. Please read the important section entitled "Options for Secondary Education Students" above.

*All courses are 3 credit hours each unless otherwise noted.

Requirements for the History Major

Departmental Requirements (36 credit hours)

(Note: 9 credit hours count toward University General Education requirements in history and social sciences.)  

Required Courses (15 credit hours):

Elective Courses with the Following Distribution: (21 credit hours)

(Note: At least two electives must be taken at the 300 level.)                    

(See Item 1 under "Explanations and Recommendations" below)

Requirements for the History Education Major

Departmental Requirements (48 credit hours)

(Note: 12 credit hours count toward University General Education requirements in history and social sciences.)

History Core (21 credit hours):

Elective Courses with the Following Distribution (12 credit hours):

(Note: At least one elective must be taken at the 300 level.)

Social Sciences Concentration (15 credit hours):

Explanations and Recommendations

  1. Students who complete the requirements of the history education major in the Department of History and Political Science and who also complete the requirements of the secondary education program in the School of Education will qualify for the B.A. in History Education with eligibility for Illinois secondary certification. Students in the history education major who choose not to complete the requirements of the secondary education program may continue in the major and graduate without penalty. Such students will receive the B.A. in History rather than History Education and will not be eligible for Illinois secondary certification.
  2. Select HIST courses may count toward satisfying the 6 credit hour University General Education requirement in foreign cultures, diversity or global studies. Students should consult the course types information on Self-Service.
  3. Selection of history electives should be made in consultation with a department advisor. These electives should be distributed in a manner that achieves broad geographical, chronological, thematic, methodological and comparative coverage.
  4. The study of a foreign language is highly recommended for students planning to pursue graduate study in history at either the M.A. level or the Ph.D. level.

Political Science Major

The study of politics is, at base, the study of how social values are defined and distributed. Who can vote? Who makes policy decisions? Will we go to war? Have universal health coverage? Subsidize loans for college students? These are all distributional, and hence political, questions. As Harold Laswell put it, politics is about "Who gets what, when and how?" Political science focuses on both institutions and behaviors to explain how social power is distributed, and how that power is used to distribute other goods.

The study of political science is vital to a liberal arts education. Through a critical encounter with political structures and processes, we learn to think critically, to develop and evaluate arguments and to remain open to new ideas. Through reflection on significant events, ideas, movements and passions that have shaped the political world, we come to understand better our own values, to refine our beliefs.

Majoring in political science prepares students for careers in public administration, politics, journalism, education, non-governmental organizations, public relations and business. It is an excellent major for those considering law school.

The political science program offers students a well-rounded undergraduate education within the discipline. Courses are offered in all the major sub fields of the discipline: U.S. government, international relations, comparative politics and political philosophy. Students are also encouraged to consider internship opportunities sponsored by the department.

Requirements for the Political Science Major

Departmental Requirements (30 credit hours):

(Note: 3 credit-hours count toward University General Education requirements in Social Sciences.)         

Required Courses (12 credit hours):

Elective Courses with the Following Distribution (18 credit hours):

(Note: At least two electives must be taken at the 300 level.)    

Explanations and Recommendations

  1. Select POLSC courses may count towards satisfying the University General Education requirements in foreign cultures, diversity or global studies. Students should consult course type information on Self-Service.
  2. Students are encouraged to take their University elective courses in related fields such as economics, history or sociology. Students are encouraged to consider a minor program to enrich their major.
  3. Internship opportunities are also available to majors.

International Studies Major

This major is intended to foster a specifically international orientation. It is primarily designed to acquaint students with the history, culture, institutions and political process in countries and regions outside of the United States. The program is organized to provide a foundation for understanding global issues within an international context and to enable students to concentrate in a region of particular interest. The major includes three components: an international studies core of general requirements, an international studies context drawn from the humanities and social sciences, and a regional area focus. In addition, the major requires students to demonstrate competence in a foreign language. The major is particularly useful for students who plan to live abroad or who seek careers in business, government, teaching and journalism. Majors are encouraged to consider study abroad programs; department faculty will assist students in planning such experiences.

Requirements for the International Studies Major (36 credit hours):

International Studies Core (18 credit hours):

(Note: 12 credit hours count towards University General Education requirements in history and social sciences.)

International Context (9 credit hours):

(Choose three courses, at least one drawn from each of the two areas below)

Global Politics and Economics

Cultural Encounters

Area Specialization (9 credit hours):      

(Choose three courses from one regional area listed below)

(Additional courses may be offered as special topics courses; consult an advisor)

Africa   

Asia      

Europe

Latin America   

Middle East       

Explanations and Recommendations

  1. Proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to four semesters of college study is required. This can be fulfilled either through examination, or by taking 12 credit hours of a foreign language.
  2. Courses taken to fulfill various components of the major and the language requirement also fulfill the University General Education requirements wherever applicable, such has history, social sciences and global studies.
  3. Students are required to meet all prerequisites for the senior seminar in which they enroll and should consult their advisor early in their program to plan accordingly.
  4. Majors are strongly encouraged to spend at least a semester in a study abroad program. Every effort will be made to ensure that hours taken at a foreign university transfer back to Saint Xavier University.

Social Science and Social Science Education Major

The social sciences education (SOCSC) major is designed for students seeking Illinois secondary certification in the area of social sciences with a disciplinary specialization in history. It satisfies the same Illinois Content Area Standards and requirements as the history education (HIST ED) major (see above) but provides additional strong preparation in a particular social science discipline. As such, it is ideal for students who intend to teach history in Illinois public high schools but who would like to enhance their competitiveness for positions that emphasize teaching in the social sciences as well. Social Sciences Education majors take a social sciences core and a history concentration and choose a disciplinary specialty in either political science or sociology/anthropology. Prospective students should note that while this is a large major with 51 credit hours, 12 hours of major courses will double-count to fulfill University General Education requirements in history (6 credit hours) and social sciences (6 credit hours). Other courses in the major may fulfill University General Education requirements in foreign cultures, diversity or global studies. Students seeking Illinois certification through this major must also apply for admission to the School of Education program in secondary education. Please read the important section entitled "Options for Secondary Education Students" above.

Requirements for the Social Science and Social Science Education Major

(See Item 1 under "Explanations and Recommendations" below)

Departmental Requirements (51 credit hours):

(Note: 12 credit hours count toward University General Education requirements in history and social sciences.)

Social Science Core (15 credit hours):

History Concentration (21 credit hours):

(Note: See item 3 under "Explanations and Recommendations" below.)               

Social Sciences Disciplinary Specialty (9 credit hours):

(Note: See item 3 under "Explanations and Recommendations" below.)

At least 3 elective courses (9 semester-hours) in political science or sociology/anthropology.

Methods (6 credit hours):

(Note: See item 4 under "Explanations and Recommendations" below.)                

Explanations and Recommendations

  1. Students who complete the requirements of the social sciences education major in the Department of History and Political Science and who also complete the requirements of the secondary education program in the School of Education will qualify for the B.A. in Social Sciences Education with eligibility for Illinois secondary certification. Students in the social sciences education major who choose not to complete the requirements of the Secondary Education program may continue in the major and graduate without penalty. Such students will receive the B.A. in Social Sciences rather than Social Sciences Education and will not be eligible for Illinois secondary certification.
  2. General Education Program requirements in foreign cultures, diversity or global studies may be satisfied by courses taken in the major. Students should consult course type information in Self-Service.
  3. At least one of the five electives in the history concentration and social sciences disciplinary specialty must be 300-level HIST or POLSC courses. The prerequisite for all 300-level HIST or POLSC courses is either HIST 200 or POLSC 250.
  4. Students must choose a disciplinary concentration in either Anthropology/Sociology or Political Science. Those who choose Anthropology/Sociology will also take, in sequential order, HIST 200, a 300-level HIST course, and HIST 395 (History senior seminar). Students who choose a disciplinary concentration in Political Science have the additional option of taking POLSC 250 instead of HIST 200. Those who complete POLSC 250 may subsequently take HIST 395 or POLSC 350 (Political Science senior seminar). However, they must first complete one 300-level course in history in order to take HIST 395 or one 300-level course in political science in order to take POLSC 350. Students contemplating the disciplinary concentration in Political Science therefore should discuss their options with their advisor.

Requirements for Minor Programs

Students should consult with a department faculty member when considering a minor. All minor programs require 18 credit hours.

History Minor

Students must complete 18 credit hours in history including HIST 101 and HIST 102 (World History) and four additional history courses.

Political Science Minor

Students must complete 18 credit hours in political science including: POLSC 101, POLSC 102, one course in political theory and three additional political science courses.

International Studies Minor 

Students must complete 18 credit hours including:

Public Administration Minor

Students must complete 18 credit hours as follows:

Required Courses (12 credit hours):

Elective Courses: (6 credit hours): 

Choose two courses from the following:

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