AARON SKUBBY, News Editor—The class of 2024 and beyond will not have the option of majoring in political science. Instead, it will be replaced with Politics and Public Affairs (PPA).

The change was planned by Dr. Andy Katz, Dr. Katy Crossley-Frolick, and Dr. Heather Pool. “Everyone who is currently a political science major at Denison will be able to finish the political science major. Students who will be entering Denison next year will not be able to major in political science. They will be majoring in politics and public affairs,” Katz explained.

Katz explained how they first came to feel the need for a new program. “I attended a workshop by the Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts at Amherst College,” he said. “The way political science had been moving, it didn’t fit with our conception of the liberal arts. It was much more narrowly focused. The three of us were very interested in creating a program that was geared towards both the interests of our students as well as the ethos of a liberal arts college.”

The proposal was first submitted in February of 2019, and was only finally approved by faculty on March 5, 2020.

The major will have three tracks laid out: International Affairs, Policy Analysis, and Government and Legal Affairs. Students could also propose their own track.

Sophomores will need to take a sophomore seminar course, where they will learn more about each of the tracks and the policy process. “Sophomore seminar would be designed both to help our students build community, but also present the opportunity for our students to understand what these three areas of politics and public affairs are about,” Katz said. Students will also write a major proposal and plan for their curriculum over the next two years as part of the class.

Students will need to take three “cognate” classes, which will be classes outside of the PPA major. For students pursuing the International Affairs track, two of those classes must be a foreign language beyond the Denison requirement.

Students will be required to pursue an off campus experience, as well. It does not need to be an official study abroad program.

Katz listed examples of off campus experiences. “It could be Model UN, it could be an Internship at the Columbus Council of World Affairs. Plus, if you go on an off campus program you can use one course from your off campus program towards the three cognates,” he said.

The remaining requirements will be two 300-level PPA electives, a senior seminar course, and a statistics course.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will current students be political science or PPA majors?

Current students will remain political science majors

Can current students major in PPA instead?

According to Dr. Katz, in rare cases students in the class of 2023 may be PPA majors, but the assumption is they will remain political science majors.

What are the course requirements?

  • Three Introductory Courses
  • Sophomore Seminar
  • Three “Cognate” Classes (Courses outside of Politics and Public Affairs)
  • Two 300-Level Politics and Public Affairs Electives
  • Senior Seminar
  • One Statistics Course

Do off-campus experiences need to be a full semester abroad?

No, students do not need to participate in a formal study abroad program. There will be a variety of Off-Campus experiences available to students with a diverse range of interests and needs.