Applied Politics Concentration

Have you ever wondered what it is like to work on a political campaign? Does a career in Washington, D.C., sound exciting? Do you find Election Day exhilarating? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then the Political Science Department’s Concentration in Applied Politics is the program for you.

The concentration in applied politics combines the political science core curriculum, which includes classes from the major subfields of the discipline, with courses, internships and technical training necessary for a successful career in politics. As a result, the program provides a sound basis for graduate and career work in law, teaching, journalism and public policy; and campaign management, public opinion polling and government service. Students who successfully complete the requirements of the program have the achievement noted on their transcript.

The curriculum is comprised of two components: academic and experiential. Like the straight political science major, the concentration in applied politics is comprised of 45 credits, or 15 classes. Of these classes, eight (24 credits) introduce students to the discipline of political science, six (18 credits) focus on knowledge necessary for a career in applied politics, and one allows students to acquire real-world experience in government or political campaigns.

Topics of Study:

  • American Government
  • International Relations
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Contemporary Issues in Politics
  • Congress and the Presidency
  • State and Local Politics
  • American Political Thought
  • Political Theory
  • Public Administration
  • Research Methods in Social Sciences
Topics of Study specific to Applied Politics:
  • Political Behavior of the American Electorate
  • Campaign Management
  • Media and Politics
  • Political Parties and Interest Groups
  • Congress and the Presidency
  • State and Local Politics
  • Political Psychology
  • Political Rhetoric

Experiential Learning:

The concentration in applied politics’ curriculum also includes two experiential components. The first of these components is serving as a student research associate in the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics (MCAP). During this year-long experience, students learn how to gauge, analyze and interpret public opinion by conducting original research on local, regional and national populations with state of the art technology. In addition, students organize events, write press releases and help members of the media understand the results of the center’s research. Students do not receive credit for this experience.

Second, students are required to complete a political science internship. Although students are strongly encouraged to complete at least one internship each year (beginning their sophomore year), they receive academic credit only for only one internship experience. Most often, the internship for which they receive credit is completed during their junior or senior year; and, most often, the internship is located in Washington, D.C. Beginning the students' sophomore year, they will work closely with their advisor and the Director of Internships for Applied Politics to identify and secure internships.


Cummings Gallery
Art Faculty Show

Dates: Aug 21-Sep 28, 2014

Location: Cummings Gallery

William Close and The Earth Harp Collective
William Close and The Earth Harp Collective

Dates: Sep 5

Location: Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

Anais Mitchell
Anaïs Mitchell

Dates: Sep 30

Location: Erie Art Museum

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