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Bachelor’s Degree in History and Political Science

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Saint Rose is a Perfect Place to Earn Your Bachelor's Degree in History and Political Science

History and political science majors at Saint Rose join a community of scholars committed to seeking truth, producing knowledge, and advancing their education.

They’ll achieve the broad cultural and civic literacy and social awareness needed to communicate and thrive personally and professionally in today’s world. Advocates and activists are inspired here.

Our faculty enjoy challenging students’ assumptions, teaching them to rely on evidence to support their claims, and studying how power shapes political and historical forces. “Power” is quite broad, and we focus on class, race, and gender.

Students interested in history and political science can choose one of three majors – a combined degree of history and political science or a bachelor’s degree focusing on just political science or history. Our programs prepare students for a wide range of postgraduate paths, including advanced graduate study and/or a wide array of careers in the public and private sectors: education, law, business, administration, public and private service, government, and non-governmental organizations.

Why Go to College in Albany?

Because we’re the heart of New York State government, one of the most powerful states in the nation. Students have the opportunity to participate in the New York State Assembly Legislative Internship Program or explore the rich history of our city, dating back to 1686.

Program Highlights

  • Students in the Department of History and Political Science are exposed to a wide range of content in their chosen major. While many programs embark on a Eurocentric study of history, focusing on America, Europe, and then grouping together “the rest of the world,” our majors do not.
  • History majors at Saint Rose study every major region of the globe. This allows our students to adopt a culturally literate perspective and prepares them for the professional world. Some of our graduates have gone on to work for large multi-national corporations.
  • Political science majors study all of the discipline’s traditional subfields. Each of these courses is taught by a dedicated scholar of the field.
  • Instead of having to double major, students with an interest in both political science and history have the opportunity to earn our combined bachelor’s program and can focus on either US history/politics or international history/politics.
  • Students interested in minoring in another field have room in the curriculum to pick up one, sometimes two, minors while staying on track to graduation.
  • Diverse faculty bring their perspectives to the classroom – including professors of color, LGBTQ+ faculty, and women who are experts in political science, a field often dominated by male voices.
  • First-year students take a required one-credit course to help them acquire the tools they’ll need to be successful in the major and give them the chance to get to know their peers.
  • A faculty member in the Department of History and Political Science is dedicated to overseeing both the paid NYS Assembly Legislative Internship Program students and other student internships.
  • We have a 100% placement rate with the paid NYS Assembly Legislative Internship program, and one of our faculty members serves as a Professor-in-Residence at the Assembly.
  • The rigor of the major means our alumni find success in graduate school, law school, or their chosen professions. Our 4-credit classes in history and political science allow for this by providing room to focus on writing, research, and communication skills and methods in addition to content knowledge.

History and Political Science Classroom

Our Senior Capstone Approach

Political science and history majors end their undergraduate experience with a senior capstone, which is modeled after graduate seminars.

Students dive deep into their reading and complete a significant paper based on original research. Recent topics include “The Politics of Whiteness” and “Power, Politics, and Science.” This unique capstone approach provides students with the skills they need for either graduate school or their chosen career path.

Do you want to teach history or social studies?

We have multiple pathways – including a bachelor’s degree in social studies adolescence education – to explore for those who love history and political science and are inspired to share their knowledge with others.

Explore education options

Love This Class: Politics of Race and Ethnicity

Professor Ryane Straus

Professor Ryane Straus leads a deep discussion of race and ethnicity in her course.

Learn Like a Boss

EARN A BACHELOR’S AND MASTER’S IN FOUR YEARS.

In addition to our traditional bachelor’s degree Saint Rose now offers our 2-in-4 program, which allows students to save time, money, and get ahead by earning both their bachelor’s and master’s in four years.

EXPLORE 2-IN-4 PROGRAMS

Curriculum and Internships

The History and Political Science department is committed to leading students into becoming educated citizens, thinkers, and problem solvers by instilling rigorous habits of critical inquiry.

Students achieve the broad cultural and civic literacy and social awareness needed to communicate and thrive personally and professionally in today’s world. They will become proficient in research and analytical methods – developing skills of close, critical reading, reasoning, written and oral communication and argument. They will learn to attend to detail, and to separate the significant from the tangential; to model strategies and solutions for others as potential future leaders and problem solvers.

Three majors are available to fit students’ desired area of study:

  1. BA in History and political science: An interdisciplinary program that promotes analytical proficiency in global relations by exploring the historical and political emergence of democratic and non-democratic political structures.
  2.  BA in History: The study of why and how cultures and systems of exchange have changed over the centuries — and how that change has shaped the contours of today’s society.
  3. BA in Political Science: Provides students with a comprehensive knowledge of governmental structures, legislative and judicial processes, political theory, and international relations.
Goals
Our courses are designed to mold students into educated citizens, thinkers, and problem solvers by instilling in them rigorous habits of critical inquiry. Learning objectives are aimed at making students proficient in research and analytical methods –developing skills of close, critical reading, reasoning, written and oral communication and argument. Students taking our courses to meet both liberal education and major requirements refine these skills through various methods. We train them to attend to detail, and to separate the significant from the tangential; to follow instructions and model strategies and solutions for others as potential future leaders and problem solvers. In groups and individually, students learn to closely examine and evaluate different genres of source material and forms of evidence – quantitative and qualitative- and to discern valid knowledge from invalid in digital and physical formats, in order to imbibe a healthy critical outlook, and good judgment by learning to distinguish between fact, perspective, and opinion. They learn to elaborate knowledge, ideas, and claims in convincing ways by refining rhetorical skills.

In this way, our programs prepare students for a wide range of postgraduate paths, including advanced graduate study and a wide array of careers in the public and private sectors: education, law, business, administration, public and private service, government, and non-governmental organizations. Undergraduates can choose from four specialized major degree programs the department offers: History (BA), Political Science (BA), Interdisciplinary History/Political Science (BA), and Social Studies 7-12 Adolescence Education (BA).

Mission
The Department of History and Political Science supports the cause of human freedom, equality, and dignity. We are a community of scholars committed to seeking truth, producing knowledge, and advancing the education of students dedicated to those pursuits. Students achieve the broad cultural and civic literacy and social awareness needed to communicate and thrive personally and professionally in today’s world. Our mission is to teach departmental majors to critically examine the forces behind historical change, international engagement, and institutional development, to foster in them an understanding of the diverse historical actors, events, belief systems, material realities, different perspectives and cultural values that have shaped the world we live in. Our curriculum is designed to give students with a wide diversity of future career and vocational goals – the abilities and outlook of fully educated persons who can understand and navigate the complexities of modern social and economic life. To know the historical processes and events that have produced it and continue to inform its future course, always with a view toward the potential moral and human implications of the pursuit of knowledge and its many possible applications.

Learning Objectives

  1. Content knowledge of History and Political Science
    • contextual knowledge of historical and political conditions and major events
    • knowledge of local/regional/global change
    • Knowledge of individuals, groups, and societies
    • Ability to synthesize primary and secondary source material
  2. Analytic reading and use of evidence
    • Ability to interpret and integrate primary and secondary source material
    • Appropriate selection of source material
    • Sufficient evidence from appropriate documents
    • Ability to formulate questions or problems from critical consultation of related sources
  3. Thesis-driven argumentation/causation
    • Thesis statement – position clearly stated
    • Persuasive logical argument sustained
    • Overall cohesion and flow of argument
    • Introduction clearly stated
    • Conclusion – significance of the argument
  4. Rhetorical skills, citation, and form
    • Paragraph formation, sentence fluency academic language
    • Spelling, punctuation, usage, grammar
    • Pagination, margins, fonts, spacing
    • Proper citation method, length
    • Works Cited page properly formatted
  5. Social studies – integrated knowledge
    • Maps and human interaction with environment
    • Migration and global interconnections
    • National and global economy
    • Economic decisions, exchange, markets
    • Civic/Political institutions, Processes, Rules, Laws
    • Democratic Principles, Deliberation, Participation
  6. Advanced Interpretation of evidence
    • Inference
    • Strategic use of evidence
    • Ability to separate the significant from the tangential
  7. Research skills
    • Ability to independently locate sources
    • Ability to discern valid, scholarly sources
    • Ability to evaluate and distinguish between different genres of sources
  8. Evaluation of scholarly arguments
    • Ability to evaluate competing schools of thought
    • Ability to identify revisionist arguments
    • Ability to identify contributions to existing arguments

Meet Our History and Political Science Faculty

Our faculty are great scholars, but your success is their top priority. That’s why Saint Rose has been named a top 25 college for professors who excel at teaching undergraduates by U.S. News & World Report for the second year.
Benjamin Clansy Associate Professor of Political Science

The scope of my teaching involves courses in International Relations: International Theory, International Organizations, International Political Economy, Comparative Foreign Policy, the International Relations of the Pacific Rim and U.S. Foreign Policy; Comparative Politics: Sub-Saharan Political Systems, European Political Systems, Middle East Political Systems, and East Asian Political Systems; Political Philosophy/Theory: Ancient Greek and Roman Political Though, Early American Political Thought and African-American Political Thought.

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Jenise DePinto Associate Professor of History

I study class and empire from a Marxist perspective, and my teaching interests center on ancient, medieval, and modern European history, as well as women’s and social history and European empires.

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Risa Faussette Associate Professor of History/Political Science

I have done extensive research on urban labor movements, immigration, and race relations. Students appreciate the ways in which we are able to make connections between past issues that have shaped our nation’s policies and contemporary discussions of citizenship, identity, and inequality from multiple perspectives. One of my favorite courses is New York State history because students are able to relate the history of their own neighborhoods, towns, and cities to the central role that New York State played in shaping national culture and federal policy.

Angela Ledford Professor of Political Science

My research and teaching focuses on contemporary political theory (particularly gender theory and transnational social movements and collective violence). I teach courses that primarily center on race, class, and gender, including Modern Political Thought; Race and Mass Incarceration; Feminist Theory; Social Movements, Power, and the State; the Politics of Race and Representation; Political Ideologies; New York State Politics; and Marx and Marxism.

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Benjamin ClansyAssociate Professor of Political Science

The scope of my teaching involves courses in International Relations: International Theory, International Organizations, International Political Economy, Comparative Foreign Policy, the International Relations of the Pacific Rim and U.S. Foreign Policy; Comparative Politics: Sub-Saharan Political Systems, European Political Systems, Middle East Political Systems, and East Asian Political Systems; Political Philosophy/Theory: Ancient Greek and Roman Political Though, Early American Political Thought and African-American Political Thought.

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Jenise DePintoAssociate Professor of History

I study class and empire from a Marxist perspective, and my teaching interests center on ancient, medieval, and modern European history, as well as women’s and social history and European empires.

View Full Bio

Risa FaussetteAssociate Professor of History/Political Science

I have done extensive research on urban labor movements, immigration, and race relations. Students appreciate the ways in which we are able to make connections between past issues that have shaped our nation’s policies and contemporary discussions of citizenship, identity, and inequality from multiple perspectives. One of my favorite courses is New York State history because students are able to relate the history of their own neighborhoods, towns, and cities to the central role that New York State played in shaping national culture and federal policy.

Angela LedfordProfessor of Political Science

My research and teaching focuses on contemporary political theory (particularly gender theory and transnational social movements and collective violence). I teach courses that primarily center on race, class, and gender, including Modern Political Thought; Race and Mass Incarceration; Feminist Theory; Social Movements, Power, and the State; the Politics of Race and Representation; Political Ideologies; New York State Politics; and Marx and Marxism.

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Marda Mustapha Associate Professor of Comparative Politics

I teach courses in international relations and comparative politics, including African Politics, International Political Economy, Global Inequalities, Poverty, Development, Democracy, HIV/AIDS Policy, Research Methods, and Human Rights.

Ryane McAuliffe Straus Professor of American Politics

I am a professor of political science in American politics, with a focus on racial politics, urban politics, and public policy. My dissertation at the University of California, Irvine, “Reconstructing Magnet Schools: Social Construction and the Demise of Desegregation,” was a study of the changing policy images of magnet schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District over a 30-year period. I have published multiple peer-reviewed academic articles on public policy and school segregation in urban areas. My current research project, under contract with New York University Press, is a study of race, politics, segregation, and charter schools in Albany, New York. I teach courses in U.S. Politics; research methods; public policy; racial and ethnic politics; and political power. My favorite class project is taking students on voter registration drives to promote participation and democracy during election seasons.

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Marda MustaphaAssociate Professor of Comparative Politics

I teach courses in international relations and comparative politics, including African Politics, International Political Economy, Global Inequalities, Poverty, Development, Democracy, HIV/AIDS Policy, Research Methods, and Human Rights.

Ryane McAuliffe StrausProfessor of American Politics

I am a professor of political science in American politics, with a focus on racial politics, urban politics, and public policy. My dissertation at the University of California, Irvine, “Reconstructing Magnet Schools: Social Construction and the Demise of Desegregation,” was a study of the changing policy images of magnet schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District over a 30-year period. I have published multiple peer-reviewed academic articles on public policy and school segregation in urban areas. My current research project, under contract with New York University Press, is a study of race, politics, segregation, and charter schools in Albany, New York. I teach courses in U.S. Politics; research methods; public policy; racial and ethnic politics; and political power. My favorite class project is taking students on voter registration drives to promote participation and democracy during election seasons.

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What I like about my class is they’re teaching world politics and relationships between countries, how ideologies develop. So, it is applicable to anywhere you are in the world beyond the U.S. I love that I can just digest this information and try to apply it to my context and where I come from.”

In 2021, Edem received the prestigious New York State Assembly Legislative Internship Program Paper of the Year Award while he was an intern for New York State Assemblymember Demond Meeks. Edem wrote about raising taxes on New York’s highest earners in order to raise revenue for education, housing, and other public services while creating incentives for said high-earners to remain in New York.

Read his story

Mark Edem '22

International student from Lesotho

We read about unionizing, labor, capitalism, and that was what set me off on this progressive path. (My) teachers had a profound effect on how my politics ended up becoming rooted in progressivism. It’s about focusing on people who have been overlooked, marginalized – the working class, immigrants, refugees, Black and Brown people.”

Toporowski brought the first-ever conviction sealing clinic – a one-stop-shop to help people clear their records of minor violations and convictions – to Albany. The clinic helps people expunge convictions and seal their records for low-level misdemeanors and minor violations, so they can apply for jobs and residences.

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Matt Toporowski ’08

Senior assistant corporation counsel for the City of Albany, New York

Saint Rose gave me the flexibility to think critically about issues beyond the U.S. context, which really pushed me to think about other forms of migration, transit, and return.”

In 2018-2019, Chavez served as a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico City, researching what initiatives has the Mexican federal government implemented to support deportees and returnees and what kinds of organizations and social movements arise after deportation. Today, she is a researcher at ODA Otros Dreams en Acción, an “organization dedicated to mutual support and political action for and by those who grew up in the United States and now find themselves in Mexico due to deportation, the deportation of a family member, or the threat of deportation.”

Read her Story

Guadalupe Chavez '16

Guadalupe Chavez ’16

Contact Us Today

Of course, if you have any questions, please reach out. We’re here to help.

Ryane McAuliffe Straus, Ph.D.

Professor of American Politics and chair of the Department of History and Political Science

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