The Politics program places a special emphasis on independent research. Through coursework and through campus-wide opportunities such as the Discover program students develop projects that they often refine throughout their Marymount careers and beyond.
In POL 250, politics majors in their sophomore year (and transfer students typically in their first year on campus) research and write a complete paper on a topic of their choosing within the field of politics, broadly defined. Recent examples of research topics include the effects of negative campaign advertisments in U.S. Senate elections, the causes of civil wars around the world, the origins of election law changes in Italy and Japan, the social consequences of welfare payments, the effects of campaign contributions on transit programs in a U.S. city, and the foreign policy effects of U.S. international arms sales. See here for more examples of selected student projects.
Advanced work in writing-intensive courses
Politics majors continue their research throughout their junior and senior years, working on in-depth projects in the program’s offerings of “writing intensive” (WI) courses. These courses cover a variety of specialized topics but allow students to explore particular issues. Recent research projects students have completed in WI courses include the politics of military conscription, stem cell research, international cooperation to confront North Korea’s nuclear program, and the program of political assassinations carried out by South American dictatorships in the 1970s.
Politics majors complete a thesis project their senior year, often tying together research completed in a variety of courses. Recent thesis projects include:
- The causes of genocidal campaigns in multiethnic states (Honors)
- The effects of political action through the Catholic Church on the quality of local democracy in Peru (Honors)
- The political strategy of South Korea’s overseas development assistance (Honors)
- China’s pollution and the role of environmental non-governmental organizations (Honors)
- Public diplomacy in Iraq (Honors)
Students in politics have conducted and presented research outside of their formal coursework through grants and programs funded by Marymount’s Discover program. Politics students at Marymount who have been awarded grants to fund independent research over the summer have researched topics including the Iraq weapons inspections regime of the 1990s, the consequences of military mobilization, regional cooperation in the Caribbean, German reunification, and negotiations between the United States and India concerning India’s nuclear energy program. Many students have also presented their work formally at Marymount’s Student Research conference, on many of the topics of their theses or other research work.
Research outside of the classroom
Students have a number of opportunities to present their research formally, gaining exposure and experience. Recent examples of student research disseminated outside the classroom include:
- Elizabeth Jahr. Democratic commitments are not always credible: Abortion and German reunification. With Chad Rector. Published in Comparative European Politics, a professional political science journal.
- Christopher Macomber. Getting There is Half the Battle: Military Mobilization and the Escalation of Demands. With Chad Rector. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, April 2014.
- Brandan McCammitt. Negative Political Campaigns Might Not Be Killing Politics Like Everyone Says. Published in Magnificat, Marymount’s undergraduate journal, April 2015.
- Bryan Tubbs-Herring. The Battle for the Rule of Law: The Case of the Western Balkans and the EU. Paper presented at the Annual Graduate Research Conference, Old Dominion University, February 2015. Winner, Best Paper Award.