Political Science

Assistant Professor Stephen Mergner (Chair)

Associate Professor Melissa Scheier;

Assistant Professors Guillerme Silva and Kali Wright-Smith

Contact the Department

Political Science Department
Georgetown College
400 East College Street
Georgetown, KY 40324

Department Site


The general aim of the department is to teach students a deeper understanding of government and politics both in the United States and overseas. Training in the department may serve as preparation for graduate school or law school, government jobs at both the federal and state levels, opportunities in business and teaching, or just being an informed citizen.

Political Science graduates will demonstrate in-depth knowledge of government and politics in the U.S. and the world; a balanced preparation in four subfields of political science: American politics, comparative government, international relations, and political theory; the capacity for success in law school, graduate school, and careers in government.



(B.A. degree) Thirty-three hours required. Thirty hours in Political Science, including: (1) POS 100: American Government; (2) POS 240: Political Thought (3) POS 300: World Politics; (4) POS 307: Comparative Politics; (5) POS 425: Political Science Research Methods; and (6) POS 450: Senior Seminar.


In addition, students must complete three semester hours in allied courses approved by the Department. The remaining fifteen semester hours must include twelve semester hours at the 300- or 400- level. Only six semester hours credit in the major will be given for courses taken off campus in the intern program.



Eighteen semester hours required, including: (1) POS 100: American Government; (2) POS 240 Political Thought; (3)POS 300: World Politics; and(4) POS 307: Comparative Politics. Only three semester hours credit in the minor will be given for courses taken off campus in the intern program.


Note: In order to enroll in any 400-level class in political science, the student must have successfully passed either POS 100: American Government, POS 300: World Politics, POS 307: Comparative Politics, or have received the permission of the instructor.


Master of Public Administration Accelerated Program

The University of Kentucky’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration offers particularly gifted and highly motivated students at Georgetown College the opportunity and the challenge of integrating their undergraduate and graduate courses of study in a single continuous program culminating in both a baccalaureate and a Master of Public Administration. The M.P.A. is designed for students with an interest in public and nonprofit service, allowing them to take graduate level courses during the 4th year of their undergraduate program. Application to the program should be submitted by the end of the student’s junior year. Applicants should have (1) completed at least 86 credit hours of work toward the bachelor’s degree or be eligible for senior standing in the semester they are admitted to the program and (2) earned an undergraduate grade point average of at least a 3.5 in the major field and 3.2 overall. Contact Dr. Stephen Mergner for further information.


Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Commerce / University Scholars Program

The University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce offers particularly gifted and highly motivated students at Georgetown College the opportunity and the challenge of integrating their undergraduate and graduate courses of study in a single continuous program culminating in both a baccalaureate degree and a Masters of Arts in Diplomacy and International Commerce. The M.A. program is designed for students with an interest in foreign service including diplomacy, national security, commerce or international organization and nonprofit organization work. The program offers the added benefit of allowing students to take graduate-level courses during the 4th year of their undergraduate program. An application to the program should be submitted during the second semester of the student’s junior year. Applicants should have (1) completed at least 86 credit hours of work toward the bachelor’s degree or be eligible for senior standing in the semester they are admitted to the program and (2) earned an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.5 in the major field and 3.2 cumulative. Contact Dr. Stephen Mergner for further information.


100. American Government. (3 hours) Introduction to the study of American political institutions and behavior, focusing on the federal (national) government. This course is an Area of Inquiry Course. Fall and Spring

201. Public Opinion. (3 hours) A survey of public opinion polls, polling methods, opinion-holding, group differences, and public opinion and linkages be-tween public opinion and public policies.                   Even Springs


210. Politics and Film. (3 hours) An introduction to basic principles of politics through the use of film. The course analyzes several films, placing them in con-text and discussing the specific events depicted in the films. This course will also examine the messages (if any) these films have for contemporary politics.

Odd Falls


240 Political Thought. (3 hours) This course is intended to provide a broad overview of Western political thought. The focus each class is on specific authors and their ideas, and one of the core learning objectives is to gain proficiency reading from a range of different cultural and political backgrounds. This course addresses important questions about the nature of individual rights, the roots of government authority, the circumstances of legitimate revolution, the justification of religious tolerance, and the meaning of political ideals such as liberty, equality, and justice. This course is an Area of Inquiry Course Fall and Spring


260, 261, 262. Trial Practice and Procedures. (1 hour each) Students study and practice trial procedures. Topics include opening statements, direct examination, closing statements, objections, and impeaching a witness. Emphasis is on developing critical thinking skills through analysis and preparation of cases developed for mock trial competition. May be repeated, but no more than two hours of practica credit may be applied toward a major or minor.                                                    Fall


280, 281, 282. Model United Nations. (1 hour each) A study of the structure, processes, and operations of the United Nations with special attention given to relevant contemporary issues in order to facilitate preparation for participation in college-level Model United Nations conferences in which students will role-play various U.N. member-states. This course may be repeated, but no more than two hours of practica credit may be applied toward a major or minor.                                    Fall


300. World Politics. (3 hours) This course is an introduction to world politics, designed to familiarize students with the ways in which states, international organizations, and non-state actors interact in the international system. It offers an analysis of the general approaches to world politics, emphasizing current issues and problems. This course is an Area of Inquiry Course              Fall and Spring


302. European Politics. (3 hours) Political behavior and institutions of Europe-an countries and the European Union.              Even Springs


305. Urban Government. (3 hours) An examination of current urban problems, city governments, metropolitan governmental reform, and future alternatives of urban public policy.                                              Even Springs


307. Comparative Politics. (3 hours) This course will provide an introduction to key theoretical frameworks, concepts and analytical methods commonly used in comparative politics, including: the state, political culture, democracy, authoritarianism, development, and national/ethnic identity to name a few. This course is intended to familiarize students with the most important concepts necessary for the comparison of different political systems and contexts. Students will learn how to apply this understanding in investigating different countries and regions in the contemporary world. This course is an Area of Inquiry Course.

Fall and Spring


309. State Government. (3 hours) A survey of the structure and function of the state governments in the U.S. federal system and current problems and issues in state polities.                                                              Odd Falls


311. Politics of the Pacific Rim. (3 hours) A background analysis of government and politics of Pacific Rim from a comparative perspective, including its foreign policy and future role in international relations. Even Falls


315. Public Administration. (3 hours) A detailed study of the theory and practice of administration in the public sector.         Even Falls


317. American Constitutional Politics. (3 hours) A study of the constitutional development of the U.S. federal court system, judicial behavior, and Supreme Court decisions.                                                      Even Falls

319. Constitutional Rights. (3 hours) A study of Supreme Court decisions on freedom of speech, press, religion, race relations and due process of law.

Odd Springs


321. International Human Rights. (3 hours) This course examines human rights and humanitarian intervention in world politics.         Even Falls


333. Women and Politics. (3 hours) Examination of the connection between gender and politics in America; topics include use and exercise of political pow-er, historical and current social movements, political campaigns and elections, and public policy debates.        Even Falls


335. United States Congress. (3 hours) An examination of the legislative process, with an emphasis on the structure, functions, and politics of U.S. Congress.

Even Springs


340. Classical Political Theory. (3 hours) An analysis of classical and medieval political theory, focusing on issues such as nature, law, and reason. Major theorists are covered: Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas.              Even Falls


341. Force and Security. (3 hours) In a world without higher authority than the sovereign state, war is always possible, and states must prepare to settle their disagreements through the use of force. This course will deal with the consequences of this dilemma, focusing not only on war itself, but also on the means that states use to insure their security short of war and the ethical issues involving the use of force.                                                                                                                          Odd Springs


342. Modern Political Theory. (3 hours) An analysis of political theory from the Renaissance to the present. Major theorists are covered: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Rawls, and others.                                                Odd Springs


346. Politics of Latin America. (3 hours) A study of the major political actors and issues in Latin America.                Odd Springs


355. The American Presidency. (3 hours) A study of the American Presidency and the various parts of the executive branch of the federal government.

Odd Falls


375. Tutorial Topics. (3 hours) The study of a special topic in Political Science using a one-on-one tutorial method of instruction adapted from humanities courses at Oxford University and Cambridge University. Please check with department for a list of current offerings. Prerequisites: one course in Political Science and permission of the instructor. As needed


403. American Foreign Policy. (3 hours) This course examines American foreign policy and the foreign policy process, placing special emphasis on current issues and problems.                                                   Even Falls



407. International Law and Organization. (3 hours) A study of laws among nation-states, with emphasis on rights and duties, territories, diplomacy, settlement of disputes, armed conflicts, and the United Nations system.           Even Springs


409. Kentucky Government. (3 hours) A study of political behavior and ins ti-tut ions of Kentucky at all levels.        Odd Falls


415. American Political Thought. (3 hours) A study of major American political thinkers, and the influence of their ideas on American politics and government, from colonial times to the present.                    Odd Falls


425. Political Science Research Methods. (3 hours) An introduction to the methods and procedures used in quantitative political science research, such as the specification of the research questions, measurement issues, research design, data collection, and analysis.

Required by Spring of Junior Year                                                        Fall and Spring


430. International Political Economy. (3 hours) An introduction to the basic principles of international political economy (I.P.E.), emphasizing the institutional structures and political processes governing global flows of money, goods, services, and labor. Also provides an examination of the American role in structuring the I.P.E. of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and provides future perspectives on the I.P.E.                                                                                                         Odd Falls


230, 330, 440. Independent Study. (1, 2 or 3 hours) Special research assignments by approval and appointment with the faculty.         Fall and Spring


450. Senior Seminar. (3 hours) Capstone course bringing together the several sub-fields of the discipline; students conduct research in areas of political theory, American politics, international relations, and comparative politics; present research; and participate in peer evaluation. Required in Fall of Senior Year



460. Internship. (1 Р6 hours) Supervised, practical experiences in the field of political science in appropriate agencies. Consent of instructor required for enrollment.                                                                           Fall and Spring


461. Kentucky Legislative Intern Program. (3 hours each) A one-term experience working with the Legislature in Frankfort along with evening seminars and a research paper submitted to the Georgetown College Political Science Department. Even Springs


270, 370, 470. Topics. (1, 2 or 3 hours) Selected topics in political science.

Fall and Spring

Click to See Career Options




  • Public Policy
  • Research
  • Regional Planning
  • City or Town Management
  • Intelligence
  • Foreign Service
  • Law Enforcement
  • Legislative, Executive, or Judicial Services
  • Program Administration
  • Federal, state, and local government
Complete a political science internship in government or related area. Serve in model United Nations. Become involved in student government. Participate in cross-cultural groups and organizations. Write for campus publications focused on national and international affairs. Develop skills in computers, statistics, and data analysis. Acquire foreign language competency and travel experience for international positions. Supplement curriculum with business courses. Earn a graduate degree in political science or public administration for advancement. Volunteer with the staff of a government official. Participate in local or national campaigns.


  • Law firms
  • Corporations
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Private practice
  • Special interest groups
  • Universities
Develop excellent research, writing, analysis, and communication skills. Plan to attend law school and earn a law degree. Obtain specialized certification for paralegal positions.


  • Elected or Appointed Leadership
  • Campaign Management
  • Staff Administration
  • Special Interest Advocacy
  • Legislative, executive, or judicial officials
  • National, state, or local government
  • Political action committees
  • Special interest groups
  • Political parties
  • Campaigns (national, state, or local)
Volunteer for national or local campaigns. Gain experience through internships in government. Obtain leadership roles in campus organizations. Seek leadership roles on the regional or national level. Become involved in campus political organizations, student government, campus publications, or community service projects. Take courses in statistics, computer science, environmental protection, or public policy. Develop a network of personal contacts. Be prepared to begin a political career as a volunteer before moving to full-time or paid positions.


  • Administration
  • Management
  • Public Relations
  • Fund Raising
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Foundations
  • Professional associations
  • Special interest groups
Gain experience through volunteering or completing an internship. Supplement curriculum with courses in business, psychology, sociology, or social work. Obtain leadership roles in campus organizations. Develop strong written and oral communication skills. Demonstrate knowledge and experience in a specialty area (e.g., public health, environment, urban issues).


  • Sales
  • Human Resources
  • Management
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Product and service organizations
  • Retail stores
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Manufacturers
  • Financial companies
  • Insurance companies
  • Print and electronic media
  • Other business corporations
Develop strong analytical, verbal, writing, and computer skills. Acquire a business minor or add business as a double major. Gain experience in an area of interest through internships or other employment. Obtain leadership roles in campus organizations. Demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills.


  • Editing
  • Reporting
  • Circulation
  • Sales
  • Newspapers (national, local, or trade)
  • Wire services
  • Magazines
  • Internet sites
  • Large corporations
  • Political parties
  • Political action committees
Obtain summer or part-time work experience with a newspaper or magazine. Complete an internship in journalism. Choose writing intensive coursework. Become proficient in desktop publishing and photography. Develop excellent verbal and written communication skills. Join the college newspaper, yearbook, or other publication staff. Become a student member of professional associations. Create a portfolio of published writing samples. Obtain experience in and knowledge of a specialty area of interest.


  • News Programming
  • Production
  • Television stations (network, cable, or public)
  • Radio stations (regional or national)
  • Independent syndications
Complete an internship in radio or television. Experience in government or political affairs is usually required for specialized reporting positions. Volunteer with public or campus media. Develop strong reporting, writing, and debating skills. Cultivate an attractive and appealing appearance. Volunteer to announce local or campus sporting events. Become involved in drama (i.e., direct, act, or work with technical crew).


  • Public schools
  • Private schools
  • Colleges and universities
Obtain appropriate state teacher certification for public school opportunities. Gain certification in more than one subject for greater marketability. Earn a Ph.D. for college teaching or research positions. Volunteer with community or church youth programs to gain experience working with children and adolescents. Become involved in student organizations, debate, publications, government, and athletics.

General Information about Political Science

  • An undergraduate degree in political science is good preparation for graduate or professional study in areas such as psychology, law, or business.
  • Research the pre-requisites of political science and tailor program of study to meet curricular and skill needs.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills are imperative for most careers related to politics or government.
  • Become familiar with the government application process for opportunities in federal, state, or local government.
  • For careers in politics, be prepared to volunteer extensively before being hired or elected as an employee or official. Begin by working with the campaign or official of choice while in college.
  • Many elected public officials begin careers in other fields (law, medicine, business) before campaigning for office.

Helpful Links

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
(2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA /ADEA Employer


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