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The Political Science Distinction Program is aimed at students who excel in political science classes and who want more political science in their lives. Students and faculty hold weekly meetings during which professors or students lead discussions about political science issues, share research or engage in debates over current issues. The program also hosts social events, and when the department hosts speakers on campus, distinction program students have top priority in meeting scholars outside of speaking events.

The distinction program provides more individualized instruction in three areas:

  • Weekly meeting: Programming for these meetings varies, but includes roundtable discussions, faculty research presentations, directed readings and student senior thesis presentations. The meetings provide a small-group setting in which students engage with each other and faculty members to discuss and debate intellectually challenging questions of political import.
  • Capstone in Political Science: Capstone is a small class comprising only distinction students in which “big questions” in political science are pondered. The theme of the class is “Dilemmas of Democracy” and different faculty rotate teaching this course.
  • Senior thesis. The senior thesis is NOT a requirement for distinction students; however, those who decide to write a senior thesis work directly with a faculty mentor on this project. It is an outlet for students to conduct original research on a political question of personal interest, to explore the answer empirically and to produce a work of scholarship that embodies the analytical, research and writing skills they have developed over the course of four years.

How to apply

Distinction applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Email an unofficial transcript to Dr. Sam Arnold at s.arnold@tcu.edu.

Eligibility

You must meet the following requirements:

  • Willingness and ability to take on extra intellectual challenges
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.25
  • Minimum POSC GPA of 3.5
  • At least 30 total credit hours, with six hours in political science at TCU
  • No grades below B in any political science course

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TCU’s award-winning Model United Nations program is a joint program of Student Development Services and the Department of Political Science. It offers students the opportunity to simulate the workings of the United Nations as representatives of one of the member-states of the UN.

In their capacity as delegates to Model UN conferences, students research the policies of their designated country on a variety of topics, including international trade and development, terrorism, international conflict, weapons of mass destruction, human rights and the environment. Participation in conferences also helps students improve their negotiating, public speaking and writing skills.

TCU regularly attends the National Model United Nations–D.C.conference each fall and the NMUN –New York conference each spring. We also regularly attend international conferences. Previous locations include China, Ecuador, France, Japan, Italy and the Czech Republic. TCU delegations routinely win awards for their participation in MUN conferences.

How to apply

Students who wish to participate in the National Model United Nations conference held each spring are required to take six hours of coursework through the Department of Political Science, three in the fall before the conference (POSC 33013 —United Nations Institutions and Processes) and three in the spring (POSC 33023—International Organizations Research). The latter class counts as a writing emphasis.

Acceptance into the National Model UN team is by application; applications are solicited each March via campus email prior to class registration for the fall for the next year’s team.

Participation in the additional Model UN conferences is also by application, but is not for class credit. Students who serve as delegates to these conferences are expected to commit at least one hour a week to meetings designed to aid in preparation for the conference.

If you have any questions, please contact Eric Cox at 817-257-5219, e.cox@tcu.edu or Scharbauer 2007.

Pi Sigma Alpha, the national honor society of political science, was founded in 1920 to bring together students and faculty interested in the study of government and politics. The Greek letters of the organization signify a three-fold emphasis on the ideals of scholarship, leadership and service in public affairs. Membership in the organization comes with the expectation of scholarship and intelligent interest in political science as well as participation in curricular and extracurricular activities promoting the advancement of the discipline.

How to apply

Applications are accepted each spring for new membership. To qualify, you must have:

  • Completed 10 hours of political science courses by the end of the previous spring semester at application time
  • Completed at least six of those hours on campus at TCU (i.e., regular classroom courses)
  • Have at least three hours of advanced courses in political science (30000 level or above)
  • Have at least a 3.5 GPA in political science courses and at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA overall.

Moot Court is an undergraduate program in which our students argue a hypothetical set case before a mock appellate court. The set case that is used for an entire academic year is announced by the American Collegiate Moot Court Association each May.

Students gain analytic and oral advocacy skills by doing their own legal research to develop structure and content of an argument for the set case, and by arguing the case both in many practice sessions and in inter-collegiate competitions. TCU’s Moot Court team competes through the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association. In 2012 these competitions were held at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, at Texas Tech Law School in Lubbock and at Baylor Law School in Waco.

The top teams from regional competitions qualify for the national championship held each January.

TCU’s Moot Court team consists of eight to 12 members (four to six pairs), depending on tryouts, which are held each year in March.

For additional information please contact our coaches:  Sam Arnold (s.arnold@tcu.edu) or Don Jackson (d.w.jackson@tcu.edu).

The TCU Justice Journey is a U.S.-based immersion and community-engaged educational experience in which students travel to sites related to social justice struggles, past and present, and learn from community activists who changed the world.

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