Student Research

The Political Science and International Relations 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.

Politics 250

In POL 250, political science 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 political science, 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

Political science 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 political science 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.

Thesis Projects

Political science 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)

Discover program

Students in political science have conducted and presented research outside of their formal coursework through grants and programs funded by Marymount’s Discover program. Political Science  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: