Top 10 Things To Do for VCU POLI Students
Political Science students at VCU have a wide range of opportunities to study outside of the normal classroom setting, in various places around the country and globe!
While many students take a more “traditional” approach to , by studying for an entire semester at another university, the Department of Political Science is also excited to offer new courses taught by our very own faculty that take students far from Richmond and thrust them into new environments during summer semester and winter intercession!
Recent courses include:
International travel to visit Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania for African Government & Politics (POLI 356) and a special topics course (POLI 391). On this trip students visited Kenya’s Parliament, the East Africa Community headquarters, the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda, areas of Kenya affected by post-election violence, and genocide memorial sites in Rwanda. Outside of the academic settings, students also had a chance to meet with locals, do an excursion and visit Lake Kivu, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the Indian Ocean.
Domestic travel to visit New Hampshire during the “First in the Nation Primary” for Political Campaigns & Communications (POLI 305). On this trip students spent 10 days following candidates along the campaign trail, snapping selfies with candidates and asking them questions. Students also met with high-ranking state party leaders, New Hampshire’s Secretary of State, the executive editor of the Union Leader newspaper and campaign workers from both sides of the aisle.
Ask your political science advisor about POLI’s upcoming course trips! And visit the VCU Global Education Office for more information about VCU’s study abroad programming.
The Department of Political Science hosts a student research conference each spring semester. The event draws more than 50 students every year, covering each political science subfield. Faculty members provide constructive feedback so that students can improve their research, and the opportunity provides students with a fantastic line for their graduate school application and résumé!
Political Science students at VCU are offered internships with a variety of organizations across a wide range of politically-relevant fields. Students regularly take advantage of our location in the state capital, working for the Governor’s Office and the General Assembly, and our close proximity to Washington, DC. Other students find internships with nonprofits, law offices, campaign teams, media organizations, etc.
Whether you want to be a part of the student editorial team or have one of your research papers published for all the world to see, the Department of Poltiical Science encourages all students to get involved with our student political science journal, The Ramerican Political Science Review. The journal is published once a year, and features the best scholarship from our political science students.
Pi Sigma Alpha is the national political science honor society. Interested students should visit the Pi Sigma Alpha website for requirements and instructions on how to apply. Interested students are also welcome to attend meetings for VCU’s chapter, Xi Pi, to get more information and establish a relationship with the honor society.
Follow Pi Sigma Alpha on social media!
Officers for the 2018-19 school year:
President: Ryan Kotrch
Vice-President: Lizz Stoke
Treasurer: Dante Rankin
Secretary: Kaylin Cecchini
At VCU, service learning refers to an intentional teaching strategy that engages students in organized service activities and guided reflection. The service activities benefit the community and, in combination with reflection and other classroom-based learning activities, enhance the academic curriculum of participating students.
Joining a student organization at VCU can help you meet other students who have similar interests and assist you in gaining skills that will be useful outside of college.
VCU political science students have founded a variety of student organizations including:
- Model United Nations
- Mock Trial Team
- Virginia 21 (a non-partisan organization dedicated to state issues that most young voters)
- College Republicans
- Young Democrats
The Division of Student Affairs holds a student organization fair at the start of each semester so students can find a club that matches their interests.
Students who are interested in finding a club that is a good fit for them, should also consider using the Division of Student Affairs “Find Your Fit” online search tool.
If you have a particular interest and a student organization does not yet currently exist at VCU, you should think about creating it!
Each semester the Department of Political Science hosts a number of events for our students.
Past events have included:
- movie nights
- debate watch parties
- town halls on domestic and international politics
- career panels with alumni
- and many more!
Check out our calendar of events to see what we’ve got coming up!
We know college is expensive; that’s why we want you to find some money to help pay for your books, tuition, experiential learning, etc.
VCU Political Science has established scholarships specifically for our majors, and the College of Humanities and Sciences has a number of scholarships that our majors may apply for, as well.
The Department of Political Science holds a variety of graduate school-related programming each year, including GRE and LSAT practice tests, and panels of faculty, alumni and community partners, addressing student questions concerning the decision to attend graduate school, the application processes, how to decide which school to attend, how to expect when you’re in grad school, etc.
Here in the Department of Political Science, we love our students! We enjoy seeing our students each day, but we also can’t wait to see them leave us (because that means they’ve graduated and have gone on to bigger and better things!).
We want to make sure you take the classes you need to graduate on time, and with the skills you need to be marketable to employers. We also want to make sure you’re aware of all the great classes we offer so you can enroll in those that best meet your interests!
Our advisers are excellent resources for our majors and minors. The best time to introduce yourself is freshman year, so don’t wait until you’re almost done with your degree to come see them! Schedule an appointment now and come say “hi!”