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Government and International Studies

Government and International Studies majors page photo

The study of government and politics is a crucial element of a liberal arts education. At its most basic level, politics is the study of our shared notions of what is just or unjust, what is noble or base – in sum, what is good in life. At some point, every human being must confront these issues.

Why Berry? 

The Department of Government and International Studies provides the foundation for you to develop a sophisticated understanding of the ideas, events, institutions and behavior that shape domestic and international political life. A deeper knowledge of concepts such as order, justice, ethics, leadership, representation, organization, competition and cooperation will help shape your own life and your understanding of the world no matter what your ultimate career goal might be. Whether you plan to go into law, education, writing, theology, the military, international business or civil service, our department can be your launching pad to future success. Berry offers degrees in both government and international studies. As a government major, you have the option of pursuing either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. International studies is offered as a Bachelor of Arts program. Minors in each course of study also are available.  

What is the focus of Berry’s government major? 

As a government major, you can expect a curriculum of comprehensive, theoretically informed and historically sensitive courses in American politics. By studying America’s institutions and principles, you will find yourself confronting and challenging your own political opinions, allowing you to become a better citizen and a better human being. The upper-level curriculum emphasizes such important topics as political philosophy, American political institutions, constitutional law, public administration and public policy, international relations, and comparative government. Each of these approaches to the study of politics will challenge you intellectually, while at the same time preparing you for life as a mature adult and citizen. 

What about International Studies? 

The goal of the International Studies program is to make you knowledgeable of significant contemporary and historical global issues while equipping you with the analytical tools necessary to succeed in the modern workplace. The major emphasizes critical written and verbal analyses of current global politics through a core curriculum that counts Contemporary World Issues, Comparative Politics, International Relations and Foreign Policy Analysis among its course offerings. The core curriculum is followed by courses that principally focus on area studies and advanced courses in international relations. 

Learning doesn’t end at the classroom door 

If you want to complement your education in enjoyable and provocative ways, get involved in the Berry chapter of the Model United Nations. This group has enjoyed success both regionally and nationally while providing students just like you with the opportunity to be part of one of the largest competitive collegiate academic organizations in the world. There’s also the Politics and Law Society, which hosts speakers and issue forums. In addition, the department regularly sponsors conferences on politics, philosophy and culture with other colleges and universities. If the challenge and enrichment that come with off-campus internships and study-abroad programs appeal to you, opportunities abound. Students have successfully secured placements working for state and local government, members of Congress, various interest groups and political parties. They’ve also gained valuable experience working with district attorneys and in law offices. They’ve received honors fellowships from several “think tanks” for summer study, as well as from private donors for study in Korea. Many of our students have spent a semester studying abroad.  

Fantastic Faculty 

The Department of Government and International Studies is stocked with talented faculty members who are widely published and recognized experts in their particular fields of study, including one who served as a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, is executive editor of the scholarly quarterly Perspectives on Political Science, and has authored or edited 14 books. Others have studied abroad in and written often about Latin America, Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, and other parts of the world. Professors in the government department have been elected Faculty Member of the Year by our students five times in the last decade.  

What can a Berry degree do for you? 

With a degree in hand from the Department of Government and International Studies, your opportunities are limited only by your vision of your own future. If you wish to continue your education after earning your Berry degree, prepare to follow in the footsteps of past graduates who have won the prestigious Carl Albert Fellowship for congressional studies at the University of Oklahoma and who now teach at Washington and Lee University and the University of West Florida. Others have won fellowships to study political philosophy at Fordham University, Georgetown University, Baylor University, the University of Virginia and Claremont Graduate School; public policy at Michigan State University; American politics at the University of Virginia, the University of Georgia, Virginia Polytechnic  Institute and Emory University; and international studies at Georgetown, the University of Iowa, Syracuse University and Tulane University.  Many of our graduates have gone on to excel in a wide variety of law schools, sometimes with prestigious scholarships from schools such as Vanderbilt and Emory. They also manage political campaigns, get elected to office, serve as district attorneys and judges, work at “Inside the Beltway” think tanks and as policy analysts for government agencies such as the President’s Council on Bioethics, hold high-level management positions in multinational corporations, and flourish in various other fields such as foreign service and journalism. Some also serve as city managers and regional planners and work with the federal government after receiving advanced degrees from leading schools of public administration.

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