Resources for Political Science and International Relations Majors
The best place to seek guidance on political science resources at HPU is to see one of the department’s instructors. We also have experts on campus to help you with internships for university credit, post-college employment and graduate school preparation, and improving your research and writing skills. The materials below will provide you with some basic information that you may also find useful:
- Resources for internships
- Resources for applying to graduate school
- Resources for research and writing
- Major professional organizations in international relations and political science
Resources for Applying to Graduate School
Whether you are just starting your education at HPU or going into your senior year unsure about whether graduate school might be right for you, please see one of the faculty members in the department if you think that graduate or law school may be an option worth considering. While any faculty member will be happy to talk you through the plusses and minuses of heading directly into graduate school, the political science department’s coordinator for graduate school placement, Dr. Ali Yanus, can direct you to numerous resources to help you make informed decisions. If you have some basic questions about timelines, financing, and why students go to graduate school, you may want to take a look at Preparing to Apply to Graduate School, a guide published by the University of Tennessee at Martin.
If you are considering an MA or PhD program in political science, you will want to take a look at the website of the The American Political Science Association. You should also visit PhDs.org’s website that provides PhD graduate school rankings in Political Science. This interactive website allows students to generate lists of PhD political science programs by prestige, average GRE score, cost, support for PhD students, time to PhD, etc.
Political science and international relations graduates frequently choose to hone their practical and technical skills with a master’s degree in public policy or administration. While traditional graduate-level academic departments in the social sciences focus their efforts mostly on four-to-six year programs that train future professors, policy and administration programs typically have a two-year curriculum designed to provide students with advanced statistical, research, and analytical skills so that they can compete for highly specialized positions that are beyond the reach of most recent college graduates. The NASPAA is the national accrediting agency for high quality programs of this type. Their website provides information on applying as well as a search engine to assist students in locating a strong program in their area. US News and World Report has ranked these programs (including reputational scores by area by specialization).
While many public administration and policy graduate schools have some type of concentration in international issues, the strongest masters-level programs are full or associate members of The Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs. Foreign Policy these schools as well as the very useful Guide to Graduate Education. Although the guide is an advertising supplement (various programs paid to have promotional material prominently displayed), the guide does a good job of describing the various graduate program options available–including on-line and part-time programs that can be a good choice for students who plan on teaching abroad or being professionally employed while completing their graduate training.
If you think that graduate school is indeed for you, you will need to plan to take the The Graduate Record Examination by no later than the early fall of your senior year. Students applying to graduate school generally are required to take this test, which a standardized examination that assesses a student’s verbal, writing, analytical, and basic mathematical skills. While your GRE score is somewhat less critical than the SAT is for admission and scholarships at the undergraduate level, it is still an important factor for admission and especially scholarship support in many programs. Students who intend to apply to highly competitive graduate programs or who will need PhD program funding should plan on carefully studying for the exam and taking a commercial preparatory class if necessary. The GRE’s website provides an overview of the test as well as a sample examination. If you have already taken the GRE, the website provides charts that convert your raw test scores into percentiles.
If you are applying to law school, you will need to take the Law School Admissions Test (the LSAT) and to provide various materials to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which acts as an applications clearinghouse for law schools. In-depth information on the LSAT examination and the law school applications process is located on the LSAC homepage. To get a general sense about the the GPA and LSAT scores students typically need to enter law school, you may want to review US News and World Report’s annual law school ranking of institutions. Students thinking about law school should see HPU’s pre-law advisor early on in their time at HPU. The Political Science and International Relations program have a solid track-record in placing our stronger graduates into first-rate law programs, especially when students have taken a test preparation course with either Kaplan or Princeton Review. If law school is in your future, we can’t urge you enough to properly prepare for the LSAT.
Research and Writing Resources
“Citing Sources,” a chapter from a leading student writing manual. Covers how and when to cite as well as the formatting of bibliographies.
The American Political Science Association’s Style Guide (2006)
Political Science Resources on the Web (from the University of Michigan library).
The American Political Science Association (APSA) is the flagship professional organization in political science. The association publishes numerous journals, including PS, which is the main journal addressing the occupational concerns and activities of professional political scientists (full text articles from this journal are available through Smith Library’s Journal Finder)
The American Bar Association. The ABA is the nation’s largest and best known association of lawyers. Their website will link you to many resources for applying to law school.