Outcomes Assessment

Political Science majors will…

  • Understand the nature of politics, public values, and the institutions and processes of politics in their various forms.
  • Understand and be able to interrelate the leading theories, literature, and approaches in the subfields of American Government, political theory and methods, international relations, and comparative politics.
  • Be able to analyze and formulate effective argumentation in written and oral forms, including
    • The ability to appreciate and accommodate diverse political ideas
    • The ability to collect and critique information in ideas of others in support of original arguments
  • Appreciate the knowledge and civic responsibilities required for effective participation in political life.


  • Degree Program profiles
  • “Imbedded Skills” curriculum analysis
  • Alumni Surveys
  • Senior Survey
  • Senior Focus Group
  • External reviews
  • Placement data
  • LSAT scores
  • Advanced Writing Assessment (Pol S 395)


  • Orientation course added, introducing students to discipline, career applications, and degree program opportunities.
  • Pol S 495 was changed from a “Senior Seminar” to “Capstone Project in Political Science” to provide additional opportunities for students to participate in service learning and research experiences.
  • Added Pol S 491x “Senior Thesis” introduced to provide opportunities for advanced research for students intending to pursue graduate study. Course is proposed as permanent offering for 2005-07 catalog.
  • Added Pol S 395, “Advanced Writing in Political Science” as a major requirement to evaluate students’ research and/or argumentative writing skills within the major.
  • Degree requirements changed from two courses to three credits per subfield, allowing more flexibility for students, in hiring, and in scheduling.
  • Participation in internships increased from 21% to 35% in cohorts studied.
  • Participation in study abroad programs increased from 7% to 20% in cohorts studied.
  • Four year graduation rate among Pol S graduates entering ISU as freshmen (regardless of major at entry) increased from 36% to 59% in cohorts studied.
  • Placement of Political Science graduates significantly broadened in scope in cohorts studied, with a significant decrease in private sector employment and gains in public and non-profit sector employment.

Matrix PDF

Master of Arts Students in Political Science will…

  • Develop in-depth understanding of one or more subfields in political science
  • Develop qualitative and quantitative skills for conducting and executing research on the political process
  • Be able to analyze complex political questions
  • Integrate theoretical and substantive materials
  • Learn to integrate and present research findings
  • Undertake and defend an original piece of political research at the culmination of their degree program.


  • Course grades
  • Writing samples
  • Research design courses
  • Student evaluations of all courses
  • Faculty written assessments of graduate students
  • Educational and professional career paths pursued by graduate student
  • Oral examinations
  • Written theses

Changes Based on Assessments in the Last Decade

  • Restructured research design/research methods course (Pol S 502)
  • Created proseminars in each of the major fields of the discipline (Pol S 504, Pol S 505, and Pol S 506)
  • Consolidated Pol S 560 and Pol S 561 into Pol S 560, American Political Institutions, to afford graduate students a better opportunity to take advanced courses in this subfield.
  • Expanded the courses qualifying in major subfields to broaden MA student background
  • Created a reading list for new graduate students to assist their preparation for the proseminar and advanced courses
  • Recruited high quality students from Iowa quality four-year colleges