The Department of Political Science and History offers degrees in Political Science, History, and History Education. This unique configuration combines two traditional social science disciplines within one administrative structure.
Political Science is the study of politics: government, law, political behavior, public policy, and political philosophy. The Department has a curriculum designed primarily to provide broad modern training in the study of political institutions and political behavior for students in the liberal arts and majors planning graduate work. It also affords pre-professional training for law, business, public relations, or work in the mass media, domestic and foreign government service, teaching, the military, and a variety of active roles in politics.
History serves the University community by providing general education and core curriculum courses in history, geography, philosophy, and religion. The aim of the Department is to give students an understanding and appreciation of the evolution and characteristics of world civilizations, cultures, and philosophies. The Department of Political Science and History prepares history majors for graduate work and for professional study, including law school, as well as for employment in both the private and public sectors. In addition to its major in history, the Department offers, in tandem with Hampton University's Department of Education, a program for those students who want to teach history at the secondary school level. The major follows the prescribed program for certification by the state of Virginia. The departmental curriculum introduces students to historical methods and gives them an opportunity to conduct primary research. Courses emphasize not only mastery of specific subjects, but also historiography and historical research.
The mission of the Department of Political Science and History is to provide general education courses in History to the entire student body, and to educate its majors to the central role politics and histroy play in all societies. Implicit in the department mission is the notion that the creation of well-informed, responsible, mature and critical thinking citizens who participate in the public arena is appropriate and necessary. The department encourges and emphasizes to its students the need to be "responsible to the social, economic and moral problems affecting our society."
The department's philosophy is demonstrated by: Structuring the curriculum to enable our majors to develop analytical research and writing skills by taking a broad array of courses in the disciplines of political science and history. The specific conditions of people of color are incorporated into every course. Our department also prepares students for graduate and professional schools.
Furthermore, the department emphasizes excellence in teaching and learning by encouraging the development of new courses and pedagogical approaches to knowledge, and by servicing and working constructively with several schools and divisions of the University.
Finally, we encourage and emphasize faculty development by placing grant writing and research high on the department agenda.