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Skidmore College
Political Science Department

Student Learning Goals

Below are the departmental learning goals mapped to College-wide goals for student learning.

Having completed the political science major, students will be able to:

  • Think analytically and critically about political issues. (Ia; IIa, b)
  • Develop competence in the four subfields of political science. (Ia, b; IIIb)
  • Read sophisticated texts carefully and understand them deeply. (Ia, b; IIIa, c, IVb, d)
  • Assess political situations and problems clearly and correctly from both empirical and normative perspectives. (Ic, IIa, IIIc, IVd)
  • Develop sufficient familiarity with the theories, concepts, and methodologies of political science to be able to read and understand mainstream scholarship in the field. (IIIc, IVa, d)
  • Conduct research in both primary and secondary sources. (IIb)
  • Craft cogent, persuasive arguments in lucid, grammatical prose as per the writing requirements in the Department of Political Science. (II b, c, IVc)


Information Literacy

  • Students will learn to identify the extent and type of information appropriate for a specific assignment or task. (Ia, b, c)
  • They will be able to distinguish various types of sources, including primary and secondary sources, historical and contemporary sources, and journalistic and opinion pieces. (Ic)
  • They will appreciate the importance and relevance of information gathered from qualitative and quantitative methods employed by social scientists. (Ic)
  • Students will be able to judge the veracity and the reliability of various forms of information. (IIe)

Oral Communication

  • Students will gain the ability to respectfully participate in political conversations and to engage difference of opinion in a civil manner. (IIc, d; IVb)
  • Students will learn to pose interesting, relevant, and probing questions that results in productive classroom discussions. (IIe)
  • Students will learn to present their arguments or research in a clear and coherent manner that will foster greater understanding of the course material. They will learn to engage questions or comments in a confident, articulate manner. (IIc)

Technological Literacy

  • Students will be able to locate and to access information through electronic sources. (IIa, b)
  • Students will learn to use software that best conveys their research. For example, students may find it necessary to generate tables and graphs to support their research.  Or, they may find that desktop publishing programs will be an effective means of presenting their work. (IIb, c)
  • In addition, students will learn how technology may support oral communication and will learn to present information using programs, such as PowerPoint. (IIc)

Visual Literacy

  • Students will learn about the range of visual materials relevant to the study of politics. Such material include, but are not limited to, maps, graphs, table, media images, and art. (Ia, c; IVa)
  • Students will be able to determine the veracity and reliability of visual material. (IIb)
  • Students will learn to interpret the meaning of these images and their effectiveness in reflecting political phenomenon. (IVa)