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PoliticsDo you want to be an informed national and global citizen? Do you want to debate with the great political thinkers of the Ages? Do you want to be a leader and the person whose views others respect?

Consider Converse’s Politics program, which combines hands-on competitive debate experience with fascinating classes, rare support for undergraduate research and publication, and unique study-travel options to help you prepare for career success.

Degrees Offered

  • BA in Politics
  • Minor in Politics

About Politics

Whether winning awards in political debate in international competition, conducting a class discussion with peers, or engaging in a joint research project, Converse students lead. On campus or in a national forum, Converse Politics majors stand out. The Converse curriculum prepares you in government institutions, political theory, and international affairs. Internships and study/travel enrich your experience. Many students in the program double major since the politics major is the perfect compliment to virtually every major on campus.

Interactive and exciting, the study of Politics at Converse provides a strong academic foundation and has a proven track record of launching careers in public service and foreign affairs. Beyond traditional classes, we offer special topics courses that you will find in few other places, such as The Politics of Harry Potter, International Terrorism and Political Violence and the Politics of Global Warming. In addition, Converse’s internationally-recognized Model Programs participates annually in four competitions in Washington, DC and other locations against the best universities in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Student Research & Publication

Brandy Blanton
Honors Politics Major Brandy Blanton ’15 Experiences the 2014 Scottish Independence Vote Firsthand

Converse College leads the State in the number of student/faculty research projects funded by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Consortium. Each student completes a research paper in her senior year with the assistance of a faculty member. Several students have completed major projects to receive honors in their discipline while others have won SCICU Summer Research grants.

Converse encourages students to present their research at scholarly conferences. In recent years, students have read papers at the:

  • South Carolina Political Science Association
  • South Carolina Undergraduate Social Science
  • Citadel New South conferences
  • Wofford Conference on Gender Research

Faculty members have assisted students in having their writings published while still undergraduates. Recent notable original research projects include:

  • The Arkwright Project on minority environmental justice
  • Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong, and Montagnard refugees in the Spartanburg community
  • Diversity of women’s lives in the Moroccan family
  • A new interpretation of the political thought of John Rawls
  • The Handling of Sexual Violence and Mental Health Issues in Qatar
  • Scottish University Students Views on the Scotland Independence Referendum
  • Challenges for the redefinition of NATO (which won the national Atlantic Council Essay Prize)

Students have published articles in the Converse Bulletin, Bard Politik, and Newslines: The Newsletter of the Carolinas Committee on U.S.-Arab Relations.

International Model NATO and Model Arab League

Politics NATOConverse is the nation’s top Model Programs diplomatic simulation team, winning the top-ranked distinction for more than 20 consecutive years.  Our teams have bested Harvard University, the US Military Academy, University of Cairo, and European universities in Britain, France, Italy, and Belgium. Our two programs, Model NATO and International Model Arab League, are competitive simulations in which students write, debate, and pass resolutions on issues of international concern. Annually for both Model Arab League and International Model NATO the Converse delegation is the guest at the Embassy of the country represented that year.  But our students aren’t just participants, they are internationally-recognized leaders:

  • Converse students form the permanent secretariat of International Model NATO, filling the positions of secretary-general, chief of staff and all committee chairs.
  • Converse hosts the Southeast University Model Arab States conference annually on campus.
  • More than 20 Converse delegates have been awarded full or partially funded study/travel trips to the Middle East and other areas of the globe.
  • Converse graduates, like Holly Jordan ‘06, go on to start Model delegations at other schools.

Learn more about Model NATO and Model Arab League.

Internships

Few things enhance the value of a college education like the real-world experience gained in an internship. Politics majors at Converse have enjoyed highly desirable internships at such national sites as:

  • Banyan Global, New York City
  • American-Muslim Family Council, Brooklyn, NY
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • NATO Officer’s Orientation Program at the National Defense University
  • The National Council on US-Arab Relations
  • Syrian Enterprise and Business Center, Damascus, Syria
  • U.S.-Kuwait Foundation
  • Global Poverty Center

    Politics Study Travel
    Dr. Dunn and students Hilary Berry and Sarah Warrick traveled to Jordan and Dubai, UAE to train high school students and faculty to participate in the Mudabara Model Arab League.

Study Travel

The department encourages study-travel opportunities and works to provide opportunities for students especially during our January Term and the summer. Students have done summer study in language and culture in Israel, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, and Yemen. Other students have participated in travel study in China, Africa, Western and Eastern Europe, Latin America, India and Iceland. In recent years, the department has assisted with travel to conferences in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Iceland, Serbia and Uganda.

We offer political science courses in American government, political theory, comparative politics and international relations. Some individuals connect a minor in politics with majors in music, interior design, science, various areas of education, accounting, business and many other fields of study.

Classrooms Alive

Politics CourseworkOne of the department’s primary goals is to prepare students for leadership. We put students in situations to develop their analytical, speaking, writing and administrative skills. Most classes are highly interactive seminars that demand student engagement. Just a few examples include courses in which student teams:

  • studied terrorist threats in various areas of the globe and developed policies to deal with these threats;
  • performed a political musical theatre production;
  • held formal debates on various contemporary foreign policy questions;
  • explored science fiction and politics;
  • analyzed movies that dealt with political violence and genocide; and
  • engaged in Socratic dialogue with the great thinkers of the past.

Sample Courses

  • The Politics of Global Warming
  • The Politics of Harry Potter
  • Batman and American Political Virtue
  • Islamic and Middle East Politics
  • International Terrorism
  • Women’s Lives in Asia and Africa

For full course requirements, see the academic catalog.

What are common careers in Politics?

  • Grant officers
  • International Market Researcher
  • Diplomat
  • Political consultant
  • Director of nonprofit centers
  • Policy analysts
  • Professors
  • Attorneys
  • National security analyst
  • Ministers
  • Human Rights Advocate
  • International development officers
  • Peace Corps volunteers

What are Politics alumnae doing?

Grad Schools

More than 70% of politics majors pursue graduate study in fields such as political science, historical preservation, religion, history, public administration, public relations, business, education, art history and library science.

Our graduates have gained admittance to colleges and universities including:

  • Princeton University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Boston University
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Georgetown University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Queens University (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
  • National University of Singapore
  • Sciences Po Paris

Jobs

Politics graduates forge successful careers in a variety of positions including:

  • Advisor for the development of the Iraqi government
  • Co-Director, International Humanities Foundation (Indonesia)
  • Development Officer, National Geographic
  • Financial and management analysts
  • University deans and vice presidents
  • Directors of nonprofit organizations
  • Foreign Service Officers, U.S. State Department
  • FBI and Department of Homeland Security
  • Served in the Peace Corps in Ghana and Losotho
  • Worked in AIDS prevention in Zambia and Tanzania
  • Served with the Center for Disease Control—International Division in South Africa
  • Staffers at African Development Bank and Asian Development Bank
  • Staffers at NGOs such as the Pacific Council on International Policy and the International Humanities Foundation
  • Researchers with RAND Corporation and the National Regulatory Research Institute

Rare Assistantship and Fellowship Opportunities

In the last ten years, four Politics graduates received Fulbright Teaching Assistantships. The Fulbright is one of the most prestigious awards in all of academia and only a select few college and university students receive this honor. In addition to producing four Fulbright Scholars, three graduates of our program earned Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) positions. Regarded as the most prestigious award in government and public affairs, the fellowship is a ticket to extraordinary career experience with the federal government. Each year, thousands of students from throughout the US apply for the few coveted slots.

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