Political Science & Economics

Chairman of the Political Science and Economics Department Dr. William Luckey gives overview of Christendom's unique approach to this very important field of study. Check out his blog, Catholic Truths on Economics!

It is the purpose of the Department of Political Science and Economics of Christendom College to help restore all things in Christ by educating, through the regular courses, and training, through the Politics Program, Catholic leaders in the public forum. Knowledge of the principles of a just political, social, and economic order are essential to a renewal of the temporal sphere. In line with this purpose, the College through its two required core courses in the fields of Political Theory and the Social Teachings of the Church gives the student the knowledge of classical and Catholic political and legal philosophy up to St. Thomas Aquinas, and demonstrates the deterioration of the classical natural law understanding in the major modern thinkers. Since ideas have consequences, the destructive results of much of modern thought are explained and analyzed. The student is then introduced to how the Church, through its authoritative teachings, has dealt with problems in the political, social, and economic sphere from the early Church Fathers through Vatican II and the writings of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.

The upper division political science courses give the student a more in-depth comprehension of the great political thinkers, of the nature and actual function of the American governmental system, of constitutional law and jurisprudence, and of international relations and the governments and politics of other lands and regions.

The department also includes a minor and courses in various sub-fields in economics. The purpose of the science of economics, as famous British economist Alfred Marshall said, "is to raise up the poor." This is a Christian duty, but many well meaning Christians have either no idea or merely false ideas about how to do this. Good intentions are no substitute for sound economic theory. The economics minor gives the student the full range of economic knowledge, from economic philosophy, economic history, to advanced social teachings and technical courses.

Visit the Special Programs page for more information on our advanced Politics Program.

Requirements for all Political Science Major Concentrations

Christendom College offers its Political Science and Economics majors a choice between two B.A. sequences:

A. Regular Political Science sequence. Twenty-seven (27) credit hours from the advanced Political Science and Economics curriculum, including as required courses PSAE

  • 311-312 American Government and Politics I and II
  • 335-336 Principles of Economics: Macroeconomics and Microeconomics
  • completion of the two courses of one of the following two sequences, either 421-422 The
  • Classical Political Tradition and Medieval Political and Social Theory, or PSAE 427-428 Modern Political Theories and Contemporary Political Theory
  • PSAE 512 Senior Seminar and Thesis

B. The Politics Program. A more career-oriented sequence, the Politics Program offers a B.A. in Political Science with a Politics Program Certificate after completion of a total of thirty (30) credit hours of upper-division courses in Political Science and Economics, which must include

  • 9 credit hours of Practica, consisting of PSAE
  • 382 (3 credits): a special series of lectures, seminars, and workshops
  • 521 (6 credits): a summer internship position
  • 21 hours of the regular Political Science and Economics curriculum, including PSAE
  • 311-312 American Government and Politics I and II
  • 335-336 Principles of Economics: Macroeconomics and Microeconomics
  • 512 Senior Seminar and Thesis

The Politics Practica Program is open only to students in good standing; i.e., students on academic warning or probation are excluded from Practica (PSAE 382) and Internship (PSAE 521). The Internship program, for which a limited number of stipends and tuition scholarships is available, is selective and competitive; a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 is required for participation in the summer Internship (PSAE 521).

N.B. The Politics Program Certificate can be earned by anyone in any major by fulfilling the specific program requirements, namely, 3 credits of Practica (PSAE 382), 6 credits of American Government and Politics (PSAE 311-312), 6 credits in Economics (PSAE 335-336), and the six-credit Internship (PSAE 521).

The advanced curriculum thus offers the Political Science and Economics major a wide variety of courses which provide the preparation needed for advanced study in law school or graduate school, and for careers in government, business, and journalism.

Minor Concentrations

The Department of Political Science and Economics also offers two minors open to students of all majors:

A. The General Political Science and Economics Minor: Eighteen credit hours are required for this minor, including the following PSAE courses:

  • 311-312 American Government and Politics
  • 335-336 Principles of Economics: Macroeconomics and Microeconomics
  • completion of the two courses of one of the following two sequences, either 421-422 The Classical Political Tradition and Medieval Political and Social Theory, or 427-428 Modern Political Theories and Contemporary Political Theory

B. The Minor in Economics: Eighteen credit hours are required for this minor, including the following PSAE courses:

  • 335-336 Principles of Economics: Macroeconomics and Microeconomics
  • 451 Solidarism: A Modern Catholic Social Order
  • three other courses of the student's choice in Economics

A course grade of at least C-minus is required for a course to fulfill the department's major or minor requirements. N.B. Course credit hours cannot be counted toward both the PSAE major and the 18 credit hours required for either minor.

Foundational Curriculum

PSAE 201 Principles of Political Theory An introduction to Classical and Catholic ideas on the relationship between man and the state, the sources of power and authority, inter-relationship between natural law and the conduct of government, the common good and its application to social and economic problems. The course deals with these topics in light of classical, medieval, and modern thinkers. Required of all students.

PSAE 202 The Social Teachings of the Church
An introduction to the major social and political teachings of the Catholic Church from its beginnings to the present as found in Scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the authoritative documents of the Holy See. The major topics covered include: the duties of the individual to the state and society, the duties of the government to its citizens, wealth and poverty, property, the relationship of the state and the Church, socialism, capitalism, and the family in the life of society. Required of all students.

Advanced Courses

PSAE 201-202 are prerequisites for all advanced PSAE courses.

PSAE 311-312 American Government and Politics (2 semesters, 3 credits each semester)
First Semester: I. A thorough examination of the operation of the American Political system. Topics include the presidency, Congress, the Supreme Court, the media, political parties, interest groups, federal-state relations, the original intent of the Constitution, and the role of the Church in political affairs.
Second Semester: II. An analysis of the major political philosophies and relevant political movements in the American political system from the War for Independence to the present.
Both courses are required of all majors.

PSAE 321 French Revolutionary Political Thought Relevant works of Voltaire, Rousseau, the Encyclopedists, and the Jacobins are studied for their historical connections and theoretical content.

PSAE 322 Counter-Revolutionary Theory An in-depth study of the theories and writings of the counter-revolutionary thinkers whose alternatives to the philosophies of revolution provide the basis for a balanced and Christian alternative to the modern revolutionary state.

PSAE 333-334 American Constitutional Law (2 semesters, 3 credits each semester) A systematic study of the Constitution and the doctrine of judicial review with special emphasis upon First Amendment rights, state-federal relationships, interstate commerce, criminal law, and civil rights decisions. The course treats topics of interest to Catholics, such as abortion, state aid to private schools, and freedom of religion. Prerequisite for PSAE 334: PSAE 333.

PSAE 335 Principles of Economics I: Macroeconomics An introduction to the science of economics with emphasis on macroeconomics: how the economy functions in terms of the whole system, with reference to the interrelations among various sectors of the economy, government, private business, and the consumer. Includes the study of economic principles and theories, national economic growth, inflation, recession, money and banking, effects of taxation and governmental spending, and international trade. Required of all majors and minors.

PSAE 336 Principles of Economics II: Microeconomics A continuation of the study of the science of economics with emphasis on Microeconomics: how the economy functions in terms of individual areas of activity. Studies free market concepts in contrast to other economic systems, supply and demand, profit, and production and distribution. The course will also explore specific problems concerning labor unions, agriculture, foreign trade, urban economic problems, and anti-trust regulations. Required of all majors and minors.

PSAE 337 Macroeconomic Theory The study of the whole national economy using aggregate income accounts. Topics covered include the determination and measurement of national income and output and the causes and solutions from various theoretical perspectives of problems such as unemployment, inflation, and economic growth. Prerequisite: PSAE 335 or permission of the Chairman.

PSAE 338 Microeconomic Theory An in-depth analysis and critique of the neo-classical theory of the firm, including theories of consumer behavior, market demand, production decisions, and cost. The price mechanism and output decisions under various market conditions are also studied. Prerequisite: PSAE 336 or permission of the Chairman.

PSAE 342 Political Conflict in the Middle East A study of the historical development of the Middle East in politics, economics, and religious and political thought; political institutions in the Maghreb; Zionism; the Palestinian question; and the politics of oil.

PSAE 343 Government and Politics of Europe A study of the major countries of Europe, including their political traditions, histories, constitutional principles, political parties, and contemporary political changes and problems, and the European Union. Focus will also be on the basic features of the Communist system of the former Soviet Union, and changes in Russia and East Central Europe since the collapse of the former Soviet empire. Also studied will be the cantonal system of the Swiss Confederation.

PSAE 382 Politics Practica A series of lectures by guest practitioners of politics, in which students learn such practical political mechanisms as campaign management, political use of the communications media, legislative research, political lobbying, and public, economic and foreign policy formation. Pre- or co-requisites: PSAE 201-202, or permission of the Director of the Politics Practica Program. Second-semester freshmen must have a minimum 3.0 GPA to take Practica during the freshman year. Practica may not be repeated for credit.

PSAE 421 The Classical Political Tradition In-depth study of the rise of Greek political theory, the political dialogues of Plato, Xenophon, the ethics and politics of Aristotle, Polybius, and Cicero.

PSAE 422 Medieval Political and Social Theory A study of the major political philosophers of the medieval period, particularly Christian theorists, with a view to the relationship between these political theories and their basic philosophies, their religious beliefs, and the political reality of their time. Particular emphasis on the political and social theories of the unified Christian world which was Christendom.

PSAE 427 Modern Political Theories Classical liberalism, Marxism, nationalism, social democracy, Fascism, welfare liberalism, and related Third-World systems are studied.

PSAE 428 Contemporary Political Theory An examination of the major political thinkers and schools of political thought of the twentieth century, with emphasis on the rebirth of classical political philosophy since World War II.

PSAE 431 International Relations The major issues concerning international relations are presented in the context of realist theory and are contrasted against the backdrop of emerging globalist theory. Special attention is devoted to the development of the modern nation-state, war in the modern world, nationalism and internationalism, international economic development in the framework of the social teachings of the Church, balance of power politics in the 19th and 20th centuries, arms control and disarmament, and international organizations and law.

PSAE 432 Strategy and International Politics in the 20th Century The following major areas are analyzed: the history and development of U.S. and Soviet strategic doctrine, nuclear strategy and balance of power, major U.S.-Soviet confrontations, the British Empire, and the Franco-German contest in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. Also studied are the development of diplomatic and military strategies of the Great Powers of Europe and Japan, the contribution of strategic thinkers, the impact of the industrial revolution on warfare, the emergence of total war, and current efforts by the United states and the European Union to create a "new global order."

PSAE 433 Revolutionary Conflict The phenomenon of revolution is studied in the context of Western history. Revolution is seen as a disorder found in civil society throughout history; consequently, the greater part of the course is devoted to the study of the breakdown of the political order and the rise of radical ideologies which led to wholesale bloodshed in society. Particular attention will be focused on the American War for Independence, the French Revolution, the revolutions of 1830 and 1848, the Russian Revolution, and the Leninist model for revolution in the Third World.

PSAE 441 Money and Banking A detailed study of the role of money and credit, banks, the Federal Reserve System, and financial institutions in the operation of the domestic economy. Also covered are monetary policy and the relation of monetary policy to fiscal policy, as well as international economic relations and the balance of payments.

PSAE 451 Solidarism: A Modern Catholic Social Order Introduction to the socio-economic doctrines of Pesch, Messner, and other Catholic social and economic thinkers of the 20th century.

PSAE 452 The History of Economic Thought A study of the thought of the main economic thinkers from the School of Salamanca to the present.

PSAE 453 International Economics The theory of international trade; the flow of capital, goods and services across international boundaries; and the effects of various international organizations and agreements on the flow of trade. Prerequisites: PSAE 335-336.

PSAE 454 Economic Philosophy A presentation of the philosophical foundations of economic behavior and market structures. Topics include a critique of the neo-classical paradigm, the nature of the acting person and free economic choice, and the ethics of market activity.

PSAE 455 Seminar: Economic Growth and Development An empirical and analytical study of the causes of economic growth and development under various economic, legal, and cultural conditions in both developed and developing countries. The emphasis is on application of economic knowledge and student research. Prerequisite: PSAE 453.

PSAE 456 The Economics of Public Choice The application of economic theory and methodology to the study of nonmarket decision-making.

PSAE 473 The Economic History of the West The evolution of the Western economic system from the fall of the Roman Empire to the present: the agricultural revolution, the growth of towns and cities, the impact of technological change, the organization and diffusion of trade and commerce, and the role of governmental policies and demographic changes are included.

PSAE 479 Jurisprudence and the Catholic Lawyer Such key areas as individual rights and constitutional interpretation regarding religion are examined through lecture and discussion of key contemporary legal issues. The course outlines the utilitarian character of modern jurisprudence and equips students with the understanding they need to adopt a genuinely Catholic legal perspective. Prerequisite: PSAE 312.

PSAE/THEO 482 Theology and the Public Order The issues of Church and State, secularization, and the temporal common good are analyzed in light of the Kingship of Christ, the divine prerogatives of the Catholic Church, and a sound theological anthropology. Special attention will be given to the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae of Vatican II. (Cross-listed in Theology)

PSAE 483: Russia’s Diplomacy in Europe A course which examines the historical development of Russia’s diplomacy in Europe from the perspectives of geopolitics and ideology. By means of a historical survey of Russia’s history in Europe, this course presents Russian diplomatic and military activities in Europe from the period of Czar Peter the Great to the contemporary state of the Russian Republic.

PSAE 489 Honors Seminar A seminar on a special topic in political science to be determined by the department chairman in consultation with interested and qualified students. Prerequisites: Minimum 3.25 GPA and permission of the Department Chairman. (4 credits)

PSAE 490-99 Special Topics or Directed Studies in Political Science & Economics Specially designed courses of readings in areas not sufficiently covered by another course already in the curriculum.

PSAE 512 Senior Seminar and Thesis A course of directed research required for all senior majors culminating in a major scholarly paper which must be defended by oral examination.

PSAE 521 Internship Students enrolled will participate in an internship (minimum of eight weeks, 30-40 hours a week) on congressional staffs, in political action committees (PACs), pro-life and pro-family organizations, or selected political campaigns during the summer between their junior and senior years. Fall internship requests during a student's senior year require the permission of the Director of the Politics Program. Prerequisites: PSAE 311 or 312; 382; a minimum 2.5 GPA; and sixty percent of the general core requirements of the curriculum completed by the time the internship begins. Application deadline is February 1st. Applications are available from the Director of the Politics Program after November 1st. Internship may not be repeated for credit.