Things a Political Science Major Should Know About*

Spend a little time familiarizing yourself with the resources linked from this page.    Or, go back to olufs' home page. 

The Major, and Your Time as a Student

      You should read through the Political Science section of the PLU catalog.  Many students, for example, report they are not aware that an internship may fulfill the capstone requirement. 

      Not All Majors are Created Equal:  See the report, Hard Times, from the Georgetown Center on Education & the Workforce.  Implication:  Poli Sci majors should have internships that impart working experience. 

      What is Plagiarism?

      University policy on plagiarism, also printed in the Student Handbook

      Here are ten examples of abstracts. 

      A halfway humorous set of rules for writers.

      Thinking about Graduate School

      If you will need letters of recommendation, follow the advice offered here or here.   There is a legal requirement that professors follow FERPA Guidelines.  Go to the Student Life Documents page and get the Sample FERPA Release Form for Faculty. 

      The PLU Library has an online subject guide for Political Science, courtesy of Amy Stewart-Mailhiot and Gail Egbers


The Discipline of Political Science

      A quick way to view the range of the discipline of political science is to browse the organized sections of the American Political Science Association. 

      An aid to getting started in a topic in political science is to examine the chapters found in the Annual Review of Political Science.  The topics vary from year to year, so browse the contents of the last several years.  Many articles offer clear conceptual overviews of subfields and of emerging topics in the discipline.  The full text of articles is available through our library article databases. 

      The International Political Science Association maintains a gateway to the Top 300 Websites for Political Science   

      A vast collection of data on many political and social science topics is available at the ICPSR.  Familiarize yourself with what it offers. 

      The Congressional Research Service researches many topics, but does not publish its reports.  A network of groups tries to acquire and publish CRS reports.  Find them at the Federation of American Scientists, at the National Council for Science and the Environment, and at Open CRS. 

      The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) appears to be endless, check it.

      The National Bureau of Economic Research is like SSRN, only focusing on economics.  Many have policy & political relevance.


Major Fields in Political Science.   The pages linked here offer starting places for studying politics, organized by major fields in the discipline.

      US Government 

      Public Policy  (see also Law & Justice, below)

      International Relations, Security, war and peace

      Law, Justice  (see also Public Policy, above)

      Political Theory  

      Comparative Government & Area Studies 


Some political science faculty construct web pages on topics such as

      nuclear weapons  and related issues

      the Politics of Food Safety 

      The politics and science of human-induced climate change  


Other Poli Sci Related Links

      The Brookings Institution is often called center-left, meaning more Democrat than Republican but not progressive Democrat. 

      The Tax Policy Center (joint product of Urban and Brookings) is THE place to go for information about taxes and related policies. 

      If you want to see how Democrats see policy, go to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, or to the Progressive Policy Institute, or to the Economic Policy Institute.  Partisan does not equal untrustworthy. 

      If you want to see how Republicans see policy, go to the American Enterprise Institute, or to the Cato Institute, or to the Heritage Foundation.  Partisan does not equal untrustworthy.

      Highly recommended, LtGen James Mattis' Reading List. 

      Case studies from the Free Speech Debate website of Timothy Garton Ash. 


Randy Newman wrote a song entitled Political Science.  He still sings it, 40 years later. 


*This page was assembled from suggestions made by the faculty members of PLUs Political Science Department.