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2014-15 Political Science Department Announcements: Honors, Graduate Programs, Department Seminars, and More

Posted on June 6, 2014

We are very glad to welcome back Visiting Assistant Professor Paul Schroeder, who will teach courses on Chinese politics and other topics. Welcome also to the new students coming to CWRU, welcome back to those who are returning, and a fond farewell to our highly accomplished graduates. We also have news about undergraduate honors, the masters program and the integrated graduate studies program.

1) Honors

The department has simplified the requirements to earn honors in the major. The rules now will be that a student who earns a 3.3 GPA overall; a 3.7 GPA in political science courses; and an “A” on POSC 396, is awarded honors. Because this standard is less stringent than either of the two previous standards, it supersedes them and applies to everyone.

2) Department Seminars

Students are required to take a department seminar as part of SAGES and the undergraduate general education requirement. This department seminar does not have to be in the student’s major or majors but, to meet the need, we have normally tried to have two department seminars each semester.

This Fall, we are offering three departmental seminars: Professor Beckwith’s POSC 346, Women and Politics; Professor McMann’s POSC 349, Political Science Research Methods; and Professor Lavelle’s POSC 378, International Relations Theory.

The course roster for the Spring of 2015 will not be finalized until October. But the departmental seminars will probably include Professor Buchler’s POSC 358, Political Strategy, and Professor Lavelle’s POSC 370M, Theories of Political Economy.

3) Changes to the Masters Program – and so to the Integrated Graduate Studies Program.

The M.A. in political science has been changed in two ways.

a) Until now we have only had what the Graduate School calls a “Plan B” option. It required that students show their overall knowledge by taking a six-hour essay exam. The exam covered all three subfields – U.S. Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations – allowing two hours for each field. We believe this was too broad, and that expecting students to prepare for three fields in the one year normally expected for an M.A. program was not realistic for many students. So the Plan B exam option will now require that a student pick two out of the three fields. The student will have five hours to answer essay questions about those two fields – so 2.5 hours each.

b) We are also adding a thesis option, what the Graduate School calls “Plan A.” The M.A. Thesis should be a major research paper equivalent to at least six hours of registration. Students will register for a new thesis preparation course, POSC 651. Each thesis will have an instructor and two other readers. Students who do a thesis will defend it orally to the committee and any others who choose to attend.

More detailed explanations of the new Masters Program provisions are posted on this website here.

4) People

Last but by no means least, this Spring was Professor Vincent E. McHale’s last on campus. He has decided to retire after 39 years on faculty, 27 of them as department chair. Vince wants no fuss and doesn’t call it retirement – he has lots of work he will continue doing. But he will be deeply missed by all.

Page last modified: August 26, 2016