The study of political science at Macalester emphasizes making connections between the theory and practice of politics. Concerns range from perennial philosophical or normative issues regarding power, justice, freedom, human dignity and social responsibility to practical political matters such as policy making and public problem solving. While the Political Science Department seeks to cultivate in its students a wide range of practical and scholarly competencies, several are considered centrally important.
First, the Department seeks to help its majors develop a mature political imagination. By this we mean a capacity to approach important social problems and issues as a political scientist.
Second, the Department seeks to cultivate in its majors a well-developed theoretical sensibility premised on a sound understanding of the major theoretical trends, perspectives, concerns and debates that have shaped the evolution of the discipline and/or its constituent sub-disciplines over the past several centuries.
Third, the Department seeks to cultivate in its majors a well-developed ability to think critically, synthetically, analytically and rigorously about the world of politics.
Fourth, the Department seeks to help Political Science majors develop a number of practical competencies.