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History and Political Science

History and Political Science programs support the University mission of liberal arts education in providing scholarships, academic programs and extracurricular activities to help students better understand the diverse world in which they live, how that world developed, and how to be effective and responsible citizens of that world.

Programs of Study

History and Political Science offer a range of programs and courses geared toward the needs of majors, general education students and candidates for teacher licensure. Most courses satisfy University general education requirements in history and/or social sciences. Some courses fulfill general education requirements in foreign cultures, diversity or global studies. There are majors in history, political science, political communication and advocacy, social sciences education and international studies. There are minors in history, political science, international studies, digital humanities and public administration.


For admission as a major in one of the programs, a student must have completed at least six (6) credit hours in the intended major with a grade-point average of 2.5. The student must also have an overall grade-point average of 2.5. Interested students should apply for admission to the division director. Once admitted, students will be assigned an advisor with whom they should consult each semester about their course of study. Majors and minors must earn a grade of C or better in all major courses, all general education courses and all professional education courses. Courses in which a student earns a grade of D will not count toward the fulfillment of program requirements except by written permission from the division director.

History Majors

The immediate objective in studying history is to gain an understanding of what happened in the past. Such an understanding is essential for comprehending how society has evolved and critically reflecting upon both the accomplishments and limitations of today's world. The study of history involves acquisition of knowledge and understanding, cultivation of perspective, and development of communication and critical-thinking skills. Learning to assess the credibility of evidence and to formulate interpretations based on evidence are central concerns in the study of history. Historical skills are useful in preparing for many professions. Majoring in history can help students prepare themselves for careers in secondary teaching and graduate study. The major provides excellent preparation for students planning careers in law, government service and journalism. History students also find career opportunities in museums, libraries, archives, tourism and travel, historical preservation, business research and marketing. Finally, the study of history is an essential part of liberal education, encouraging critical and responsible citizenship and lifelong learning.

The history (HIST) major is a 36 credit hour program that provides a general grounding in the historical discipline for students seeking a liberal education.

*All courses are three (3) credit hours each unless otherwise noted.

Requirements for the History Major

Program Requirements (36 credit hours)

*NOTE: Nine (9) credit hours count toward University General Education requirements in history and social sciences.

Required Courses (18 credit hours)

  • HIST 101: World History to 1500
  • HIST 102: World History since 1500
  • SOCSC 101: World Geography
  • HIST 200: Introduction to the Discipline of History (pre-requisite: 6 credit hours in history)
  • HIST 201: Digital Humanities
  • HIST 395: Senior Seminar (pre-requisite: HIST 200 and one 300-level course in history)

Elective Courses with the Following Distribution (18 credit hours)

*NOTE: At least two (2) electives must be taken at the 300 level.

  • HIST American history course
  • HIST European history course
  • HIST Non-Western history course
  • HIST Three additional history courses (9)

(See Item 1 under "Explanations and Recommendations" below)

  1. Select HIST courses may count toward satisfying the six (6) credit hour University General Education requirement in foreign cultures, diversity or global studies. Students should consult the course types information on Self-Service.
  2. Selection of history electives should be made in consultation with a program advisor. These electives should be distributed in a manner that achieves broad geographical, chronological, thematic, methodological and comparative coverage.
  3. The study of a foreign language is highly recommended for students planning to pursue graduate study in history at either the M.A. level or the Ph.D. level.

Political Science Major

The study of politics is, at the base, the study of how social values are defined and distributed. Who can vote? Who makes policy decisions? Will we go to war? Have universal health coverage? Subsidize loans for college students? These are all distributional, and hence political, questions. As Harold Laswell put it, politics is about "Who gets what, when and how?" Political science focuses on both institutions and behaviors to explain how social power is distributed, and how that power is used to distribute other goods.

The study of political science is vital to a liberal arts education. Through a critical encounter with political structures and processes, we learn to think critically, develop and evaluate arguments and remain open to new ideas. Through reflection on significant events, ideas, movements and passions that have shaped the political world, we come to understand better our own values, to refine our beliefs.

Majoring in political science prepares students for careers in public administration, politics, journalism, education, non-governmental organizations, public relations and business. It is an excellent major for those considering law school.

The political science program offers students a well-rounded undergraduate education within the discipline. Courses are offered in all the major subfields of the discipline: U.S. government, international relations, comparative politics and political philosophy. Students gain practical experience and professional skills to complement their coursework through a required internship.

Requirements for the Political Science Major

Program Requirements (30 credit hours)

*NOTE: three (3) credit hours count toward University general education requirements in social sciences.

Required Courses (18 credit hours)

  • POLSC 101: Intro. to U.S. Government
  • POLSC 102: World Politics
  • POLSC 103: Comparative Politics
  • POLSC 250: Scope and Methods (Pre-requisite: 6 credit hours in political science)
  • POLSC 350: Senior Seminar (Pre-requisite: POLSC 250 and one 300-level political science)
  • POLSC 370: Field Experience

Elective Courses with the Following Distribution (15 credit hours)

*NOTE: At least two (2) electives must be taken at the 300 level.

  • One of POLSC 240, 241, 242
  • POLSC Four additional courses in political science

Explanations and Recommendations

  1. Select POLSC courses may count towards satisfying the University General Education requirements in foreign cultures, diversity or global studies. Students should consult course-type information on Self-Service.
  2. Students are encouraged to take their University elective courses in related fields such as economics, history or sociology. Students are encouraged to consider a minor program to enrich their major.
  3. Internship opportunities are also available to majors.

International Studies Major

This major is intended to foster a specifically international orientation. It is primarily designed to acquaint students with the history, culture, institutions and political process in countries and regions outside of the United States. The program is organized to provide a foundation for understanding global issues within an international context and to enable students to concentrate in a region of particular interest. The major includes three components: an international studies core of general requirements, an international studies context drawn from the humanities and social sciences, and a regional area focus. In addition, the major requires students to demonstrate competence in a foreign language. The major is particularly useful for students who plan to live abroad or who seek careers in business, government, teaching and journalism. Majors are encouraged to consider study abroad programs; program faculty will assist students in planning such experiences.

Requirements for the International Studies Major (36 credit hours)

International Studies Core (18 credit hours)

*NOTE: Nine (9) credit hours count towards University General Education requirements in history and social sciences.

  • ANTH 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • HIST 101: World History to 1500
  • HIST 102: World History Since 1500
  • POLSC 102: World Politics
  • SOCSC 101: World Geography
  • TBD Senior Seminar in relevant discipline

International Context (9 credit hours)

Choose three courses, at least one drawn from each of the two areas below:

Global Politics and Economics
  • ANTH 245: Third World in a Global Context
  • ANTH/SOC 309: Gender and Globalization
  • MGMT 340: International Business
  • FINC 330: International Finance
  • CJ 318: Globalization and Crime
  • POLSC 211: International Organization
  • POLSC 213: National Security Policy
  • POLSC 228: Politics of Developing Areas
  • POLSC 324: Contemporary Democracy
  • POLSC 334: War, Peace and Alliances
  • POLSC 336: Global Money and Power
  • SOC 275: Women, Change and Society
Cultural Encounters
  • ANTH 214: Language, Culture and Society
  • ANTH 235: Sex, Culture and Society
  • ENGL 155: Introduction to Literature: Global
  • ENGL 205: World Literature to 1500
  • ENGL 206: World Literature Since1500
  • ENGL 330: Folklore
  • ENGL 349: Studies in World Literature
  • HIST 364: Environmental History
  • MUS 150: Special Topics: World Music Cultures
  • MUS 217: Perspectives on non-Western Music
  • RELST 252: Third World Religious Views
  • RELST 240: The Religious Other
  • SPAN 312: Literary Response to Armed Conflict

Area Specialization (9 credit hours)

*Choose three courses from one regional area listed below

Additional courses may be offered as special topics courses; consult an advisor.

  • ENGL 333: Modern African Literature
  • HIST 242: History of Africa
  • HIST 351: Colonial Legacy in Africa
  • POLSC 227: African Politics
  • ENGL 236: Chinese Literature280
  • ENGL 239: Japanese Literature
  • HIST 244: History of East Asia
  • HIST 245: History of Modern Japan
  • PHIL 280: Chinese Philosophy
  • RELST 241: Hindu Tradition
  • RELST 242: Buddhist Tradition
  • RELST 244: East Asian Religious Traditions
  • ART 222: Art of the Renaissance through the Enlightenment
  • ART 223: Modern and Contemporary Art
  • HIST 208: Modern Europe, 1789-Present
  • HIST 211: Women in Modern European History
  • HIST 213: History of Modern Germany
  • HIST 215: History of Modern Russia
  • HIST 251: Topics in European History
  • HIST 321: Old Regime and French Revolution
  • FRNCH 231: Introduction to French Culture and Civilization
  • MUS 330: Music History 1: Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque
  • MUS 331: Music History 2: Classical, Romantic, Modern
  • POLSC 220: European Politics
  • POLSH 261: Introduction to Polish Culture and Civilization
  • POLSH 263: Introduction to Polish Literature
  • SPAN 307: Golden Age of Poetry
  • SPAN 314: Realism at the Turn of the Century
  • SPAN 319: Cervantes' Don Quijote
Latin America
  • ANTH 250: Modern Latin America
  • ART 244: Latin American Cinema
  • ART 245: Latin American Visual Culture
  • HIST 234: Colonial Latin American
  • HIST 240: Latin American History
  • HIST 247: History of Mexico
  • LS 101: Introduction to Latino Studies
  • POLSC 225: Latin American Politics
  • SPAN 217: Women in Mexican Culture
  • SPAN 231-232: Introduction to Hispanic Culture and Civilization
  • SPAN 312: Literary Responses to Armed Conflicts of the 20th Century
  • SPAN 315: Imaginary Caribbean: Literature of Cuba and Puerto Rico
  • SPAN 316: Latin American Responses to Colonization
  • SPAN 317: Narrative and Spectacle of the Mexican Revolution
  • SPAN 391-392: Selected Topics in Hispanic Cultures and Civilization
Middle East
  • ANTH 265: People and Cultures of the Middle East
  • ENGL 233: Middle Eastern Literature
  • HIST 243: History of the Middle East
  • MES 260: Topics in Middle Eastern Studies
  • MES 265: Middle East Cultures
  • MES 360: Topics in Middle Eastern Studies
  • POLSC 230: Regional Politics: Middle East Politics
  • RELST 247: The Jewish Tradition
  • RELST 249: The Islamic Tradition

Explanations and Recommendations

  1. Proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to four semesters of college study is required. This can be fulfilled either through examination, or by taking 12 credit hours of a foreign language.
  2. Courses taken to fulfill various components of the major and the language requirement also fulfill the University General Education requirements wherever applicable, such as history, social sciences and global studies.
  3. Students are required to meet all pre-requisites for the senior seminar in which they enroll and should consult their advisor early in their program to plan accordingly.
  4. Majors are strongly encouraged to spend at least a semester in a study abroad program. Every effort will be made to ensure that hours taken at a foreign university transfer back to Saint Xavier University.

Political Communication and Advocacy Major

Political Communication and Advocacy balances communication theory and skill relevant to the 21st century with an understanding of the politics and ethics of the public sphere. The program prepares you for such careers in the public affairs officer in the public or private sector, as well as making you a better critical consumer of political information.

As a Political Communication major, you will learn to use modern communication tools to produce and disseminate effective and persuasive messages, organize an advocacy campaign, and facilitate communication within and across organizations. You will learn about the political environments in which you will deploy these skills, analyze messages, and learn to communicate effectively through hands-on experiences both in and out of the classroom.

Program Requirements (36 credit hours)*

Core Courses (9 credit hours)

  • POLSC 101: Introduction to U.S. Government
  • POLSC 268: Media and Politics
  • COMM 227: Political Communication

Three courses on Producing Communication (9 credit hours)

  • COMM 206: Communicating with Social Media
  • COMM 220: Digital Video Production
  • COMM 221: Digital Audio Production
  • COMM 321: Electronic Journalism
  • COMM 298: Independent Research
  • COMM 365: Internship/Practicum
  • ENGL 352: Writing in Digital Environments
  • ENGL 353: Writing and Editing Process
  • ENGL 357: Special Topics in Writing (when relevant)
  • POLSC 370: Field Experience

One course on Political Communication Environments (3 credit hours)

  • POLSC 206: State and Local Politics
  • POLSC 207: Urban Politics
  • POLSC 215: Parties and Elections
  • POLSC 260: Special Topics in Political Science (when relevant)

Three courses from the following two areas, with at least one course from each area (9 credit hours)

Organizational Communication

  • COMM 244: Public Relations
  • COMM 313: Persuasion
  • COMM 337: Leadership Communication
  • COMM 301: Law of Mass Communication
  • COMM 298: Independent Research
  • COMM 335: Organizational Communication I
  • COMM 365: internship/Practicum
  • POLSC 370: Field Experience

Cultural Communication Analysis

  • ENGL 359: Rhetoric, Writing and Society
  • COMM 222: Critical Television Studies
  • POLSC 241: American Political Thought
  • POLSC 262: Politics and Film
  • POLSC 263: Politics and Superheroes
  • POLSC 260: Special Topics in Political Science (when relevant)
  • POLSC 360: Independent Study
  • POLSC 370: Field Experience

Capstone (6 credit hours)

The capstone project will be the senior project or thesis in either Communication (COMM 324 and 369) or Political Science (POLSC 250 and 350). The student will be required to take the methods course in the appropriate department and fulfill all other requirements that are pre-requisite for the senior project course.

*No more than six credit hours of research or internship credit can count toward the major.

Program Requirements (30 credit hours)

Transfer Policy

All transfer students must take ACSU 101: Transfer Student Orientation. It is a one-on-one orientation, for no cost and carries zero credit hours. This is a graduation requirement for transfer students.

Transfer Students with fewer than 30 hours

All requirements of the general education curriculum.

Transfer students with more than 30 hours

Students who have completed the Illinois Articulation Initiative General Education Core Curriculum (IAI/GECC) requirements (37-41 credit hours) must take the following additional mission-based courses at SXU in order to fulfill their general education requirements:

  • Philosophy 150: The Examined Life
  • One religious studies course

Students have the opportunity to qualify for SXU's IAI/GECC Articulation Agreement as long as the majority of the general education core has been met prior to transferring. Any remaining general education courses may be taken from Saint Xavier University.

Requirements for Minor Programs

Students should consult with a program faculty member when considering a minor. All minor programs require 18 credit hours.

History Minor

Students must complete 18 credit hours in history, including HIST 101 and HIST 102 (World History) and four additional history courses.

Political Science Minor

Students must complete 18 credit hours in political science, including POLSC 101, POLSC 102, one course in political theory and three additional political science courses.

International Studies Minor

Students must complete 18 credit hours, including:

  • ANTH 101: Cultural Anthropology
  • POLSC 102: World Politics
  • SOCSC 101: World Geography
  • One course from the major requirements section of the International Studies Major
  • Two courses from one of the area concentrations listed under the International Studies major

Public Administration Minor

The Public Administration minor helps you develop skills necessary to navigate the world of public and nonprofit service. From the start of the program, you will be learning about the political environment while analyzing public policy and communicating that analysis, using simulations and cases to learn to negotiate with different constituencies and build effective organizational cultures. All courses can be taken online.

To earn a Public Administration minor, students complete 18 credit hours as follows:

  • POLSC 101: Introduction to U.S. Government
  • POLSC 203: Introduction to Public Policy
  • POLSC 208: Public Administration
  • POLSC 301: Public Policy Analysis
  • POLSC 305: Bargaining and Conflict Resolution

Plus, one of the following:

  • POLSC 206: Urban Politics
  • POLSC 207: State and Local Politics

Students may substitute POLSC 370: Field Experience for either POLSC 301 or POLSC 305

Digital Humanities Minor

Students must complete 18 credit hours as follows:

Required Courses (9 credit hours)

  • HIST 201: Introduction to Digital Humanities
  • ART 116: Computer Graphics
  • COMM 220: Digital Audio Production

Elective Courses (9 hours)

Choose three of the following:

  • HIST 230: Illinois History
  • HIST 240: Latin American History
  • HIST 250: Historical Documentary Filmmaking
  • ART 119: Digital Imagery
  • ART 260: Creative Documentary Filmmaking
  • ART 315: Website Art and Design
  • ART 327: Multimedia
  • COMM 221: Digital Video Production
  • COMM 321: Electronic Journalism
  • COMM 325: Internet as Communication
  • CMPSC 200: Virtual Worlds
  • CMPSC 206: Web Applications I
  • ENGL 352: Writing in Digital Environment
  • ENGL 353: The Writing and Editing Process

*NOTE: A maximum of six credit hours in a major can be counted towards degree requirements for the minor.