Political Science

Photo of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Society Meta Major IconThe Political Science program at Lake Tahoe Community College helps students to improve their reading and writing skills, and educates them on how to analyze arguments and evidence to develop an understanding of governing institutions and the many policies that officials enact. College is a time when people can not only immerse themselves in study, but also evolve into more thoughtful human beings with informed opinions on a variety of issues. As we explore the Political Science course content, we explore our own lives, including our own values that are rooted in a worldview. Political science is a unique discipline because we learn about how government functions and the many ways that we might influence the actors who are directly part of the process.

Students interested in the discipline can earn an AA transfer degree in Political Science from LTCC, which requires coursework in History, Psychology, and/or Sociology as well as Political Science and Mathematics. Here you'll be exposed to a variety of subjects that will provide a solid foundation before you transfer to a university.

To assist our students with their college expenses, the Political Science department has adopted an open educational resource textbook for American Government (POL 101). This title has been authored by credentialed professionals in the field. We believe that the integrity of the instruction we offer is vital, and that includes the materials we use in the classroom. We adopt books and class materials that save our students money whenever possible. Sometimes that means an OER title, and other times an earlier, less expensive, edition of a textbook title is acceptable.

Political Science

Program Description

The discipline of political science involves the study of political behavior both within and outside of formal governing structures and systems.  It is composed of multiple sub-fields of specialization, including American government, political theory, law and jurisprudence, international relations, comparative politics, public policy, and public administration.  It also encompasses related issues such as race and ethnic politics and gender politics as well as civic participation.  Furthermore, scholars in the discipline utilize a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods to answer their research questions.  This program is designed for students to not only develop a foundational understanding of the discipline and prepare them for coursework at a university, but also teach them ways they can partake in the democratic process to shape policy in its many forms.

Students are strongly encouraged to see a counselor if considering this transfer option.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Examine the development of political science as an academic discipline.
  • Discuss the major sub-fields of study that compose the discipline, including classic and contemporary works from each.
  • Explain the different kinds of quantitative and qualitative methods that political scientists utilize to conduct research.
  • Differentiate between the field of political science and both political history and political journalism.
  • Identify the different types of work that political science majors secure upon graduation.
  • Explore the connections between political science and other disciplines, including, but not limited to, history, psychology, and sociology.

To obtain the Associate in Arts in Political Science for Transfer degree, students must complete the following requirements:

1. Sixty (60) semester units or ninety (90) quarter units that are eligible for transfer to the California State University, including both of the following:

    • The Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) or the California State University General Education-Breadth Requirements.
    • A minimum of 18 semester units or 27 quarter units in a major or area of emphasis, as determined by the community college district.

2. Obtainment of a minimum grade point average of 2.0.

 

A. General Education Requirement

     Please see the course catalog for details.

B. Required Courses

A total of 32-33 units distributed as follows:

1. All students must take the following course (4 units):

POL 101: Introduction to American Government (4)

2. Select four of the following courses (16-17 units):

POL 100: Introduction to Political Science (4)

POL 107: Introduction to Political Theory (4)

POL 204: Introduction to International Relations (4)

POL 206: Introduction to Comparative Politics (4)

MAT 201: Elementary Statistics (5)

3. Select either three of the following courses or two of the following courses and a course not taken from Section 2 immediately above (12 units):

HIS 113: U.S. History, Part III (4)

HIS 127C: World Civilizations, Part C (4)

PSY 101: General Psychology (4)

SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology (4)

SOC 103: Social Problems (4)

SOC 106: Crime and Society (4)

SOC 107: Race and Ethnic Relations (4)

SOC 114: Gender (4)

Elective units to bring the total to 90.

What might a student of political science do for a career? Teaching at the secondary or college level is always an option, but there are many others to choose from. For example, a person can work on a political campaign, as a staff member to an elected official, in a public opinion laboratory, or for a think tank.  Political science is also an excellent major if you would like to attend law school and then become a practicing attorney in a private firm, or even a government agency. In addition, you could work for local, state, or federal government. Lastly, there are thousands of advocacy groups working on issues such as homelessness, criminal justice reform, the environment, and human rights. Your everyday work could be a cause that you believe matters in the world. Here I recommend consulting the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook on political science, where you can learn more about the current and future job market for the field.

Greetings! My name is John A. Duerk, and I’m the full-time political science instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College. My passion for the discipline emerged when I taught American Government in a small, rural high school near the Illinois-Wisconsin border. After attending a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar at Amherst College in Massachusetts and accomplishing my goals in secondary education, I decided to return to graduate school to earn my doctorate. Teaching at a community college in a part of the country that is conducive to my lifestyle has long been my plan. Now, I’m finally here!

There are a number of student scholarships that you can apply for each spring. Scholarships make it possible to earn money for college that does not ever need to be repaid. While some of LTCC's scholarships are competitive, there is a wide variety available you can apply for for free that are awarded based on all kinds of qualities and interests.

 

Have a question?

Contact the instructor!


 
Political Science
Faculty
  • Photo of Political Science instructor Dr. John Duerk
    Dr. John Duerk
    Political Science/History Instructor