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Academics

Political Science & Economics

The Department of Political Science and Economics seeks to restore all things in Christ by educating Catholic scholars, citizens, and leaders for participation in the public forum.  The College, therefore, requires two core courses—Introduction to Political Theory and Catholic Social Doctrine.  Introduction to Political Theory gives the student knowledge of classical and Catholic political philosophy, and demonstrates the deterioration of the natural law tradition in modernity.  Catholic Social Doctrine introduces the student to how the Church’s Magisterium has addressed political, social, and economic problems from the pontificate of Leo XIII to the present.

The political science courses required for the major seek to provide a grounding in the theory and practice of politics.  Natural Law Theory shows that human government is ultimately a manifestation of the rational creature’s participation in the eternal law.  American Government grounds students in the foundational principles of the American republic.  Rhetoric and Public Speaking instructs students in the principles of classical rhetoric and how to apply these principles in the public sphere.

Requirements for Political Science Major 

The requirements for the PSAE major are twenty-seven (27) credit hours from the upper level Political Science and Economics curriculum.  The following courses are required of all majors, totaling twelve (12) credit hours:

  • PSAE 311 American Government
  • PSAE 362 Rhetoric and Public Speaking
  • PSAE 401 Natural Law Theory
  • PSAE 512 Senior Seminar and Thesis

Students must take another fifteen (15) credit hours of electives, one of which must be an economics course.

Requirements for Political Science Minor

The Department of Political Science and Economics also offers two minors open to students of all majors:

A. The Political Science Minor

The Political Science minor requires eighteen (18) credit hours, including the following PSAE courses, totaling nine (9) credit hours:

  • PSAE 311 American Government Institutions
  • PSAE 362 Rhetoric and Public Speaking
  • PSAE 401 Natural Law Theory

Students must take another nine (9) credit hours in upper level Political Science and Economics electives.

B. The Economics Minor

The Economics minor requires eighteen credit hours (18), including the following courses, totaling nine (9) credit hours:

  • ECON 335 Macroeconomics
  • ECON 336 Microeconomics
  • MATH 332 Probability and Statistics

Students must take another nine (9) credit hours in upper level Economics or Math electives.

N.B.: A course grade of at least C-minus is required for a course to fulfill the department’s major or minor requirements.

Core Curriculum

PSAE 201 Introduction to Political Theory The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the fundamental principles of political theory through an historical survey of major thinkers in the Western political tradition.  Students will examine how each of the thinkers addressed the enduring problems of politics in his given historical context.  Particular attention will be paid to the development of classical and Christian political thought and to the transition from pre-modern thought to modernity. Required of all students.

PSAE 202 Catholic Social Doctrine
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the fundamental principles of the social teachings of the Church through a survey of the social encyclical tradition.  Students will study the natural and revealed sources of Catholic social doctrine.  They will also examine how the Magisterium formulated principles of Catholic social doctrine in the process of addressing social problems in the modern world. Required of all students.

Electives Courses

PSAE 311American Government  An in-depth examination of the origins and application of American political ideals in the formation of our government.  Students will consider the major intellectual traditions that informed the American Founding and the creation of the Constitution.Required of all majors.

PSAE 321 American Political Thought  The United States was founded on the Declaration of Independence’s universal claims of political equality and natural rights.  This course will examine the United States as a fundamentally modern, liberal regime and will emphasize various criticisms and challenges posed to such a regime—challenges arising from friendly critics, clashes between different conceptions of the nature of rights and the nature of the union, and attempts to revise or reconstruct the nation along fundamentally new theories of government.

PSAE 333-334  Constitutional Law I and II  A systematic study of the Constitution, the structures and institutions that it creates or recognizes, and the powers and rights that exist under it—with special emphasis on First Amendment rights, state-federal relationships, interstate commerce, criminal law, and civil rights, including treatment, specifically from a constitutional-law perspective, of topics of interest to Catholics, such as abortion, state aid to private schools, and freedom of religion. (2 semesters, 3 credit hours per semester)

PSAE 335 Principles of Economics I: Macroeconomics Introduces macroeconomics in the context of current problems. Includes the study of national income analysis, money and banking, economic growth and stability, unemployment, inflation, recessions, and the role of government. This course will additionally relate macroeconomic analysis to Catholic Social Traditions.

PSAE 336 Principles of Economics II: Microeconomics Introduces microeconomics in the context of current problems. Explores how market mechanisms allocate scarce resources among competing uses; uses supply, demand, production, and distribution theory to analyze problems.  Studies free market concepts in contrast to other economic systems, as well as profit, production and distribution. The course will also explore specific problems concerning labor unions, agriculture, foreign trade, urban economic problems, and anti-trust regulations while also situating microeconomic analysis in the tradition of Catholic Social Thought.

PSAE 362 Rhetoric and Public Speaking The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the fundamental principles of rhetoric and rhetorical analysis and to apply those principles by means of oral presentations.  The course will focus on the application of rhetorical principles and strategies in both written and spoken form.  We will also examine the application of rhetorical principles in political speech and persuasion as well as in visual and auditory media.  Students can expect to gain insight into the understanding, recognition, and application of the principles of rhetoric as well as learn how to apply these principles to their own writing and speaking. Required of all majors.

PSAE 379 On Justice What is justice?  This is one of the central questions of moral and political philosophy, if not the central question.  In this course we will examine how various classical, medieval, and modern thinkers have defined and answered this question.  Their answers pertain not just to matters of positive law but the way we conceive of natural, divine, and eternal law.  Their understanding of justice is also bound up with their understanding of practical reason.  Contemporary political problems stem in some way from rival conceptions of justice, so the resolution of those problems at the philosophical and practical level requires the correct conception of justice, both human and divine.

PSAE 382 Politics Practica The purpose of this course is to provide students with the opportunity to learn from people involved in all aspects of politics, including people who work in government, private consultants, shapers of public opinion, and entrepreneurs.  These practical exercises will give students an opportunity to gain a fuller understanding of the public policy process and the range of careers open to them, preparing them to obtain employment in their career of their choice.
Students who take Politics Practica are eligible for three (3) credit hours for an internship subsequent to the course. (See PSAE 521 below)

PSAE 401 Natural law Theory This course examines the principles of natural law and how they can be applied to contemporary public policy issues.  The survey of principles of the natural law will be Thomistic in its approach but also review alternative accounts of natural law.  Students will consider the relationship between human nature and natural law, positive law and natural law, and whether the natural law can change.  Students will then examine how the principles of natural law apply to contemporary controversies such as abortion, marriage, and religious liberty. Required of all majors.

PSAE 421 Classical Political TheoryThe purpose of this course is to more deeply study the fundamental principles of political theory through a historical survey of classical political thought.  We will examine how each of the thinkers studied addressed enduring problems of political theory and contributed to the Western tradition.  It is also hoped that this course will help students understand the maladies of contemporary politics, in order that they may apply themselves to remedying those maladies and contribute to the restoration of all things in Christ.

PSAE 422 Medieval Political Theory The purpose of this course is to more deeply study the fundamental principles of political theory through a historical survey of medieval political thought.  We will examine how each of the thinkers studied addressed enduring problems of political theory in his given historical context.  In particular, we will explore the relationship between revelation and political philosophy.  It is also hoped that this course will help students understand the maladies of modern politics, in order that they may apply themselves to remedying those maladies and contribute to the restoration of all things in Christ.

PSAE 428 Contemporary Political Theory The purpose of this course is to more deeply study the fundamental principles of political theory through an historical survey of contemporary political thought.  We will examine how each of the thinkers studied addressed enduring problems of political theory in his given historical context.  In particular, we will focus on the themes of liberty, democracy, totalitarianism, and the sexual revolution.  While the study of political theory is good in and of itself, it is also hoped that this course will help students understand the maladies of modern politics, in order that they may apply themselves to remedying those maladies and contribute to the restoration of all things in Christ.

PSAE 431 International Relations The major issues concerning international relations are presented in the context of realist, liberal, and constructivist theory.  Special attention is devoted to state power, sovereignty, non-state actors, transnational issues, human rights, international organizations, regime theory, international trade, development, the global commons, and collective goods in the WWII, Cold War, and post-Cold War environments.  We will discuss institutionalism and the obligations of America, the Church, and the individual..

PSAE 479 Jurisprudence and the Catholic Lawyer Such key areas as the meaning and source of law, basic themes in legal philosophy, individual rights, and interpretation of laws are examined through lecture and discussion of key contemporary legal issues. The course outlines the utilitarian character of modern jurisprudence and equips students with the understanding they need to inform an authentically Catholic legal perspective.

PSAE/THEO 482  Theology and the Public Order  The issues of Church and State, secularization, and the temporal common good are analyzed in light of the Kingship of Christ, the divine prerogatives of the Catholic Church, and a sound theological anthropology.  Special attention will be given to the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae of Vatican II.

PSAE 489 Honors SeminarA seminar on a special topic in political science to be determined by the department chairman in consultation with interested and qualified students.

PSAE 490-99 Special Topics or Directed Studies in Political Science & Economics Specially designed courses of readings in areas not sufficiently covered by another course already in the curriculum.

PSAE 491 Political Theory of St. Thomas AquinasSt. Thomas Aquinas was primarily a theologian, but he was also one of the most important political thinkers of the Middle Ages.  His political thought influenced early modern scholastics like Vitoria but fell into neglect in the eighteenth century.  Since the mid-nineteenth century, the thought of St. Thomas has influenced Catholic social doctrine, natural law theory, and, increasingly, contemporary political philosophy.  This course seeks to examine the theological and philosophical sources of Aquinas’s political thought and suggest ways in which it is relevant today.  It is hoped that students will gain a deeper knowledge of St. Thomas’s influence on the tradition of Catholic social and political thought and its relevance for the modern world.

PSAE 512 Senior Seminar and Thesis Direction of the student’s senior thesis, a major paper on a topic of interest. The student receives instruction and individual assistance in the development of a topic, research methods, outlining, organizing, and writing a paper.  Students are required to defend their theses in an oral presentation. Required of all majors.

PSAE 528 Practica Internship Students enrolled will participate in an internship (minimum of eight weeks at 30 – 40 hours per week). (See PSAE 382 above)

Pre-requisites: PSAE 382 and permission of the Director of the Politics Practica Program. Internship may not be repeated for credit. 

Christendom College admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.