A Contingency Approach to the Undergraduate Political Science Major

06 February 2020, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


There is a variety of curricular models for organizing the undergraduate political science major. Among them are the traditional distribution model, which exposes students to various subfields in the discipline, and the sequenced learning framework recommended by the Wahlke Report. Other structures include the student learning outcomes approach and civic engagement education, the latter a recent area of emphasis in the discipline. Embedded in these and other course arrangements are underlying theories of how students learn, what a curriculum is, its purpose, and its pedagogy. This study applies curriculum theory to current and potential models of the political science curriculum, describing the strengths and limitations of each structure as a platform for promoting intended learning. The findings suggest that the future political science major should not be a one-size-fits-all framework, but rather a choice from curricula that best address different learning goals and objectives, kinds of students, and program needs.


curriculum reform
The Political Science Major


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.