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  Sep 24, 2017
 
 
    
Undergraduate Record 2017-2018

Politics


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Requirements for Majors


Before declaring their major in either Government or Foreign Affairs, students must fulfill the prerequisite requirement by completing at least six credits (two courses) of work in the Politics Department with no grade below C and a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.50 in these Politics courses. When they are ready to declare their major, students should meet with the assistant to the undergraduate director, Sharon Marsh, in Gibson S162, for assignment to a faculty advisor. Once a faculty advisor has been assigned, prospective majors should take major declaration paperwork (filled out as completely as possible) to their advisor for approval.

Government


The Government major requires 30 credits of course work, as specified below, including the six prerequisite hours. No more than nine credits taken at the 1000-level may be counted toward the major. At least fifteen credits of course work in the department must be earned at the 3000-level and above. At least three of these must be earned at the 4000 or 5000-level.

In addition, the Government major has the following requirements:

The Distribution Requirement: Three credits in each of the following:

  1. American Politics
  2. Comparative Politics
  3. International Relations
  4. Political Theory

(Majors should complete this requirement by the end of their third year)

The Track Requirement:

  1. Students choosing the PLAP track must take nine additional credits in PLAP
  2. Students choosing the PLPT track must take nine additional credits in PLPT

Electives:

  • The remaining nine credits required for the Government major may come from departmental offerings in any of the four fields, depending on student interests and objectives.

Related Course Requirement:

  • In addition to the 30 credits required in the Department of Politics, 12 credits of courses are required in closely related disciplines, such as history, philosophy, the social sciences, and, in appropriate cases, in other related subjects. No more than six of these credits should be taken at the 1000 and 2000-levels. Students should seek to construct their related course “package” in consultation with their major advisor in such a way that it contributes to their major subject field in as direct a fashion as possible.

Foreign Affairs


The Foreign Affairs major requires 30 credits of course work, as specified below, including the six prerequisite credits. No more than nine credits taken at the 1000-level may be counted toward the major. At least fifteen credits of course work in the department must be earned at the 3000-level and above. At least three of these must be earned at the 4000 and 5000-levels.

In addition, the Foreign Affairs concentration has the following requirements:

The Distribution Requirement: Three credits in each of the following:

  1. American Politics
  2. Comparative Politics
  3. International Relations
  4. Political Theory

(Majors should complete this requirement by the end of their third year)

The Track Requirement:

  • Students must take nine additional credits in PLCP and/or PLIR.

Electives:

  • The remaining nine credits required for the government major may come from departmental offerings in any of the four fields, depending on student interests and objectives.

Related Course Requirement:

  • In addition to the 30 credits required in the Department of Politics, 12 credits are required in closely related disciplines, such as history, philosophy, the social sciences, and, in appropriate cases, in other related subjects. No more than six of these credits should be taken at the 1000 and 2000-levels. Students should seek to construct their related course “package” in consultation with their major advisor in such a way that it contributes to their major subject field in as direct a fashion as possible.

Requirements for Minor


A minor program in politics consists of at least 15 credits of course work taken at the University in at least two of the four fields of the department, with a grade of C or better. At least nine credits must be in one field. Of the 15 credits, no more than six may be taken at the introductory (1000) level. At least three credits must be taken at the 4000 or 5000 level. No advanced placement or transfer credit is allowed for a minor.

Students taking the minor in government or foreign affairs should fill out a minor application found on the Department of Politics webpage and take it to the Undergraduate Assistant for approval. The department’s rules for satisfactory standing apply.

Honors Program


The Department of Politics Honors Program is designed for students with an outstanding record of academic achievement. Its curriculum emphasizes the development of reading, writing, and analytical skills through close interaction with faculty in the Department of Politics. The program offers students unusual flexibility and autonomy to pursue their intellectual goals in creative goals. After being admitted into the program students may elect to take any or all of their courses on an ungraded basis. Students who successfully complete the program receive degrees with Highest Honors, High Honors, Honors, and Pass.

Application Requirements: Second-year students with strong academic records, enthusiasm for independent research, and an aptitude for critical thought are encouraged to apply during the second semester of their second year. Most students admitted into the program have at least a 3.7 GPA before they enter the program at the beginning of their third year.

Application materials include: 1) A two-page personal statement discussing at least two in the study of politics that the student would like to investigate while in the honors program; 2) An official transcript; 3) Two graded papers preferably from the courses in the Politics Department that demonstrate the student’s analytical capabilities; 4) Two letters of recommendation from faculty at the University; 5) A resume listing the students’ academic, extra-curricular and employment credentials. The application deadline is March 1.

Honors Program Curriculum: Beginning in the fall semester of their third year, approximately six students are admitted to the program. Each semester, they take an intensive seminar in one of four subfields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. Each seminar includes regular assignments to write critical reviews. Faculty tutors provide students with regular construction evaluation of their work. At the end of each semester, faculty tutors submit a detailed, written evaluation of each student’s performance. Each seminar is worth nine credit hours.

Students take a “Proseminar on Thesis Writing and Research Design.” During their third year, students meet regularly and discuss readings concerning different approaches to social science research. They also meet with fourth-year students who present their on-going thesis projects to seminar. The third-year students develop research proposals for their honors thesis which they complete in their fourth year. Students receive three credit hours for completing the Proseminar.

During their fourth year, students select a faculty advisor for their Honors thesis. They present their ongoing work to the Proseminar on Thesis Writing and Research Design. At the end of the year, students present their thesis at the annual Honors Thesis Colloquium, an event that is open to the public. Students receive six credit hours for completing their thesis by the April 1 deadline. Each year, a faculty committee selects the best thesis for the John White Stevenson Prize which includes a cash award.

In addition to the above requirements, honors students are required to take six elective courses. These may be taken on a Pass-Fail basis or for a grade at the student’s discretion.

Student Evaluations: an outside examining committee is convened by the Honors Program Director. The committee administers written examinations in each of the four subfields and conducts oral exams for all fourth-year students. The committee assesses the results of these exams together with written evaluations for the core seminars and honors theses in deciding the level of honors each student should receive. The committee may award Highest Honors, High Honors, Honors, or pass the student without honors.

For more information on the Politics Honors Program see the program website http://www.virginia.edu/politics/people/ Gerard_Alexander.

The Distinguished Majors Program


Students of high academic achievement are eligible for the department’s Distinguished Majors Program (DMP). Students completing the program graduate with distinction, high distinction, or highest distinction. A prerequisite of three credits of course work in the department and departmental and University GPA’s of 3.400 or above are required for admission. Students wishing to apply should submit an application form, a statement of interest in the DMP, a copy of their current transcript, and two sealed letters of recommendation from faculty members. Students may apply in the second semester of their third year. The application deadline is April 1.

GPA Requirements


Students in the DMP must maintain grade point averages of 3.400 or better, both cumulatively and in the department.

Requirements of the DMP


Students in the DMP are required to take 3 credits in the Department as a prerequisite plus 30 credits in the major. These 30 credits must include: (1) At least l5 credits at the 4000 and 5000 levels including six credits of PLAD 4960. (2) Courses to satisfy general departmental distribution rules for Government or Foreign Affairs majors.

The DMP Seminar


In the fall semester, members of the DMP will meet regularly (but not weekly) to discuss issues related to conceptualizing, researching, and writing social-science theses. A small amount of readings will be assigned to inform that discussion. In the spring semester, members of the DMP will present their preliminary hypotheses and findings to the seminar.

The DMP Thesis


Students in the DMP are required to write a thesis of high quality, earning six credits, during the fourth year. The thesis courses, PLAD 4960 and 4961 are a linked set that make up a year-long course, carrying a total of six credits, and graded at the end of the second semester. Students are responsible for obtaining a faculty member to serve as their thesis advisor for both semesters of the PLAD 4960-4961 sequence. Complete first drafts of theses must be submitted by April 1; the final deadline for completed theses, reflecting all revisions, is the third week of April, on a date set each year by the director.

Program Evaluations


Students who successfully complete the requirements of the DMP will be evaluated according to the following rankings: Distinction, High Distinction, or Highest Distinction. Evaluations will be based on the following: (l) quality of the thesis, (2) overall work in major field of study, (3) overall College record.

Faculty thesis readers will forward evaluations to the Department’s DMP faculty director, will review the evaluations and students’ records, and forward recommendations to the College Committee on Special Programs.

Superior thesis will be nominated by faculty advisors for the Emmerich-Wright Prize, which is given annually to the outstanding thesis, as determined by a faculty committee. The prize carries a cash award.

For more information on the Department’s DMP, contact Pete Furia, paf4n@virginia.edu.

Conferences and Special Activities


Students and faculty of the department meet frequently in informal and off-the-record conferences throughout the session at which discussions are led by visiting authorities from government, business, and educational institutions. Speakers of distinction are also brought to the Grounds by student organizations, including those consisting primarily of students in the department. When appropriate, field trips are organized to study the operation of government and international relations firsthand in nearby Richmond, Washington, and the United Nations.

Additional Information


For more information, contact Sharon Marsh, Assistant to the Undergraduate Director, Department of Politics, S162 Gibson Hall, P.O. Box 400787, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4787; (434) 924-3604; www.virginia.edu/politics.

Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service


The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service was created in 1987 by the merger of the former Institute of Government and portions of the former Tayloe Murphy Institute. With research programs in government, public policy, business and economics, and demographics, the center brings multiple perspectives to the study of Virginia. It assists both state and local governments in the Commonwealth with research into specific issues, management expertise, planning, and social and economic data. The center also sponsors professional education programs for government managers and elected officials, through the Virginia Institute of Government, and it hosts the Virginia Institute of Political Leadership. In all its work, the center aims to apply the University’s resources to improving the public life of Virginia.

The center employs both work-study students, who serve as office staff, and graduate research assistants, who gain firsthand experience in research and government by participating in center projects. The center’s publications program provides a wealth of data on Virginia to supplement course work in political science, economics, history, and sociology. Besides its central offices in Charlottesville, the center maintains a Southwest Virginia office in Wise County and a Richmond office.

Center for Politics


The Center for Politics, founded in 1998 by government professor Larry J. Sabato, maintains a close tie with the department. The center is dedicated to the non-partisan study and development of practical solutions to the problems facing our political system. The center is currently sponsoring a dozen projects and seminars, including the annual National Post Election Conference, the Youth Leadership Initiative, the Governors Project, and studies of the referendum process and non-voting. For more information, contact Larry Sabato or Ken Stroupe at (434) 243-8474.

Course Descriptions


American Politics


International Relations


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