“So, what is Political Science anyways?”
“You study, like, the government?”
“…What are you going to do with a degree like that?”
The last question is always the one that makes us PoliSci majors cringe. To be honest, we don’t all know what we’re going to do with our degrees. What we do know, however, is that we love what we’re doing.
Okay Drew, then tell us what it is.
Political Science… is, er… the study of politics.
That’s a terribly vague answer. However, it’s not easy to clarify on this one. Much like many other majors, the definition of Political Science as a study in general is vague. This is because you can specialize it in many ways.
However, in general, PoliSci is a way of studying the state (or country), government, and politics (which are defined as the activities associated with the governance of an area). It includes the various relationships and interactions between groups of people, institutions, and states from a political view. The discipline combines the theories, the practices, and the analyses of behaviour in the world of politics.
Now, as I mentioned above, PoliSci can be studied in different ways of specializations as well. For example, some students will chose to focus exclusively on the Canadian political system, while others may want to think on a more international level. Some students will take interests in regional political structures (perhaps the European Union) as well.
And you find this… interesting?
No doubt about it. To some, the mere mention of politics makes their eyes glaze over. However to my peers in the program at Glendon and I, the topic couldn’t be more interesting.
The study of politics reaches back thousands of years. In fact, I can guarantee that you won’t make it through one year in the program without reading Thucydides, Plato, or Aristotle. In The Birth of Politics, one of the courses I’m currently in, we have gone back even further to the writings of Homer (You know, The Odyssey, for example).
In modern times, we can look at how transnational crime affects states and politics. We can study the effects of international non-governmental organizations on policy-making and shifts in political structure. We debate on the actions of governments to intrude on another government’s sovereign territory to stop bloodshed (Uh, current events, anyone?).
The discussion material will literally never end. We can go from the beginning of human society and back, and take everything we know, and still not come up with the answers. Which, I will tell you, is my favourite part about it.
… Wait, what’s your favourite part?
I love the discussion, the debate, the exchange of ideas. The classroom is often a ticking time-bomb, just waiting for the professor to ask a question. Because once you get past the theories, and understand the concepts, there’s a plethora of answers to every question in Policial Science. I’ve always believed that the best way to learn about a topic is to debate the issues surrounding it, and politics is definitely one area where you learn fast and enjoy doing it simply through exchanging ideas and opinions.
But why do it at Glendon?
With classes like International Relations through Film and Literature, or Transnational Crime and Corruption, or the bilingual course on Québec politics, PoliSci studies at Glendon are clearly something in which we pride ourselves. And this is definitely not just limited to undergraduate degrees! Glendon also has an awesome Masters in Public and International Affairs (a friend of mine is in it, and is blown away by it), which is the where the international affairs magazine, Global Brief, is housed (the same friend is one of the junior editors!), and is also affiliated with the Centre for Global Challenges, self-described as “a bilingual policy forum focusing on justice, democracy and sustainability.”
Not to mention the bilingualism! Regardless of what focus and political science major decides to pursue, learning the French language, and possibly picking up a third, can only help you in the future.
Many PoliSci students will go into government, journalism, diplomacy (possibly the choice for me!), and a lot of us end up in law school or other graduate studies… Meaning the possibilities are endless. Being able to converse in a second or third language is probably one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself when choosing to take what you’ve learned beyond your degree.
Like I’ve said, political science is varied and flexible, and can take you in a myriad of different directions after your degree.
I strongly encourage you to:
1. Check into the program here.
2. Check out the classes at Glendon here.
3. Look into doing the Shadow Program and sit in on a class to see if it’s for you!
4. Check out the Blogs of all the other eAmbassadors and ask them about their majors as well!
5. ASK ME ABOUT THE PROGRAM! I know I couldn’t possibly have provided all the information you may want in this post, so feel free to get in contact with me regarding my classes, professors, my related extra-curricular activities, or anything else student life! Hit me up on Twitter, ask me a question on FormSpring in the side panel on the right, or simply leave a question in the Comments below!