The goal of the political science department is to transmit the knowledge of the discipline by providing courses and instruction that are characterized by excellence. Courses are designed for students who desire a basic, general knowledge of American government; students who major in the discipline, but do not plan to go to graduate school; students who plan to go to graduate or professional schools; and students who plan to teach in the social sciences in the public schools of Georgia.
Catching the Political Science Spark
Tinaz Pavri, Ph.D., professor in the Spelman College political science department, says faculty members can’t predict when one of their students will catch and display the spark. But she says they know they will.
“It could be from a lecture, a class, or a faculty member. They get an idea and go from there,” in defining and focusing their pursuit of career opportunities through the political science department.
Set Your Sights on Law School
“We have a very versatile program, and there are so many things a student can do through political science,” Dr. Pavri said. “Many set their sights on law school, and we have had students go on to some of the most prestigious law schools – Yale and Harvard law.”
But, according to Dr. Pavri, political science opens a greater world of career opportunities at the state government level, or in international/global affairs, or the Foreign Service. “This is a department where a student can explore so many different areas,” she said.
One of the largest departments at Spelman, there are about 200 students who either major or minor in one of the department’s two primary tracks: American Institutions and Processes, and International Relations.
“We are a comprehensive department and have faculty experts who can support those diverse interests,” Dr. Pavri said.
Join Affinity Groups
In addition to the challenging and diverse course offerings, the department offers many activities to complement the traditional classroom work. There is an active political science society and honor societies. A variety of guest speakers and seminars are offered.
“We’ve had students come to class to see that the Rev. Jesse Jackson, an unannounced guest lecturer,” Pavri said. “There’s a lot of activity.”
Do a Governmental Internship
Political science students also participate in a range of internships, including with the Congressional Black Caucus and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center, as well as international opportunities.
Spelman political science students also garner prestigious fellowships such as Fulbright and Marshall scholarships for postgraduate study abroad.
“They are competitive, but so are our students, who are consistently recipients of these awards,” Dr. Pavri said. “Once they catch the spark, the world is their platform.”