Political Communication

Political Communication

Interested in politics and communication?

As a political communication major at FSC, you’ll study political processes both in the US and internationally while also learning how to effectively communicate within the world of politics.

Top Reasons to Choose FSC for Political Communication

  • Interdisciplinary curriculum combining history, communications, and philosophy.
  • Home to one of Florida’s finest pre-law programs.
  • High standards for collaborative and original research.
  • Plenty of opportunities to intern.
    Intern with members of Congress, judges, public defenders, and political candidates--even in Washington, D.C.
  • Student have say in curriculum, projects, conferences, and use of departmental resources.

Engaged Learning in the Classroom

In FSC’s Political Communication program you won’t find the usual lecture approach. Instead, most classes incorporate project work, in-class discussion and debate, guest speakers, video, and interactive strategies. Field trips to courtrooms and other off-campus venues are also common.

Course Information

Political Communication is the study of information flow through political processes and institutions. Majors gain the practical and theoretical knowledge necessary to compete in a multitude of industries connected to the political arena. With exposure to social science research methods, journalism practices, speech writing, and debate experience, majors develop a strong set of marketable skills. Students will graduate prepared for careers in industries including business and political consulting, public affairs, political journalism, and public diplomacy.


From internships in Washington, DC to the Polk County Public Defender’s Office, to the Republican National Convention, our majors not only observe, but also take part in the processes that shape our society. Additionally, we have three students working on Obama campaign and a group of students will be interning with the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

In a single year, our students interned at sites such as:

  • The Washington, DC offices of Representative Connie Mack and Representative Dennis Ross
  • Peterson and Myers, PA
  • Clements Elder Law
  • Miller, Crosby and Miller, PA
  • The Dennis Ross for Congress Campaign
  • The Lori Edwards for Congress Campaign
  • The Polk County Elected Public Defender’s Office
  • 10th Circuit Judge Catherine Green’s Office
  • Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
  • Lilly, O’Toole and Brown
  • Auto-Owner’s Insurance
  • Smith, Feddeler, Smith and Miles, PA

Start the Conversation
and Contact…

Dr. Alex Ortiz
Associate Professor of Advertising
Chair, Department of Communication

Clubs & Organizations

Political Science sponsors Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honorary. We also have a Student Advisory Board, which provides student feedback regarding the major. Many of our majors are involved with the Young Republicans and the College Democrats.

Career Opportunities

Our graduates often pursue careers in law, government and public policy, business, journalism, foreign service, the military and intelligence services such as the CIA and the NSA. With a political science degree from FSC, almost any field is open to you.

Special Features

Project courses provide numerous opportunities for in-depth research. Our majors present their work at professional conferences across the country.

A generous grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and career grants from FSC make long-distance internships more affordable.

Intern for policymakers and study political science in action in Washington, DC, through our partnership with the Washington Center.

We offer first-year colloquia on such popular topics as “Hitler and Nazi Germany”, “Spies and the Intelligence community”, and “Immigration and Organized Crime.”


Program Requirements

The Department of Political Science offers the B.A. and B.S. degree in Political Science. Courses focus on American and International studies. You are encouraged to take a variety of courses in both areas and not become too specialized at the undergraduate level. The Department offers Honors in the major and internship opportunities for those who qualify.

Political Science Major Requirements

A. General Education Requirements 20 hours
B. Major Requirements 44 hours

SPC 1500 Fundamentals of Speech
MAT 2002 Elementary Statistics
ENG 3200 Writing for Business or ENG 3217 Creative Nonfiction Writing or ENG 3219 Persuasive Writing
COM 4550 Communication Research
POS 4960/4961 Internship (4 to 8 hours)
POS/COM 4905 Politics & The Media

Majors must select two courses from one of the concentrations and an additional course from the other concentration. (12 hours)

American Politics Concentration

POS 1125 The American Political System
POS 2500 Law and the Courts
POS 3315

US Campaigns and Elections

POS 3320 The Presidency & Congress
POS 3400 Political Parties and Interest Groups/Model Senate
POS/PHI 4429 Great Political Thinkers

International Relations Concentration

POS 2400 National and International Political Economy
POS 2900 Introduction to International Politics
POS/HIS 3175 United States Foreign Policy
POS 3323 International Politics & Organizations
POS 3345 Conflict and War
POS 3500 The International Relations of the Developing World
POS 3998 Topics in International Relations
Leslie Rath, Political Science student, with House Representative Dennis Ross

Students must complete a 12-hour series of Communication courses from one of the three concentrations listed below:

Media Concentration

COM 3300 Current Issues in American Politics
COM 3330 Feature & Opinion Writing OR COM 3900: Special Topics in Mass Communication
COM 4500 Communication Law & Ethics

Public Affairs Concentration

SPC 3400 Principles of Advertising & Public Relations
SPC 3450 Public Relations Writing
SPC 4350 Public Relations Strategies OR COM 3900: Special Topics in Mass Communication

Organizational Communication Concentration

SPC 2270 Intercultural Communication
SPC 2260 Small Group Communication OR SPC 3200: Persuasion
SPC 3210 Organizational Communication
C. Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 20 hours
D. Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements 12 hours
E. Electives 32-40 hours
E. Total 128 hours


Course Descriptions

Four hours. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Effective Communication SLO A. Writing and researching news for delivery through print, broadcast and online outlets.

Four hours. Prerequisite: COM 3300 or SPC 3450. The process and style of writing profiles, narrative non-fiction, travel features and opinion articles.

Four hours. Prerequisites: Either COM/SPC 3400 or COM 3300 and successful completion of Four hours of the Systematic and Creative Thinking: Quantitative SLO. Students are introduced to quantitative and qualitative research methodologies used by communication professionals and researchers. The course focuses on proper application of methodologies and interpretation of data.
Gen Ed: Ql

COM 3900 Special Topics in Mass Communication
Four hours.Same as SPC 3900. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Effective Communication SLOs A and B. Concentrated study of a special topic in communication, including health communication, rhetoric of the 1960s, rhetoric of the women’s movement, narrative inquiry, communication as performance, communicating addiction, or ethnography.

Four hours. Prerequisites: COM 3300 or COM/SPC 3400 or permission of the instructor, and successful completion of coursework that satisfies Effective Communication SLOs A and B. An examination of major legal issues facing participants in the mass media, including First Amendment rights, libel and defamation, privacy and open access to government information. In addition, the course will explore ethical principles as they relate to media ethics.
Gen Ed: EC-C

Four hours. With an emphasis on national government, this course also examines the role of state and local government in the American political process. Topics include the Constitution, the relationship between the national, state and local governments; the Bill of Rights; interest groups, political parties and participation in the electoral process; the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. Gen Ed: SW (Aw, An)

POS 2400 National and International Political Economy
Four hours. This course will introduce students to major political debates in domestic and global economics. The first part of the course will offer students an overview of basic economic principles, and the second part of the course takes a comparative approach to domestic political economy. In the final section, we consider the dynamics of the global economy; this includes addressing issues such as labor conditions in the developing world, protectionist trade policies, and the spread of consumer culture.

POS 2500 Law and the Courts
Four hours. This course is a systematic description and analysis of the role,structure, and behavior of the American legal system, with an eye to the interests and concerns of pre-law students. The course reviews and integrates the topics of the law and legal system into the US, discusses procedures and patterns of behavior within that system, and examines the impact of our legal system within the larger arena of American policy and politics. Some previous coursework in Political Science is desirable, but not required.

POS 2900 Introduction to International Politics
Four hours. A systematic examination of the international political landscape. Topics may include the connections between and among sovereign states, the influences of non-­state actors on national states’ behaviors with each other, the roles that such things as economics (e.g. globalization) plays in international relations, war-­making and nation-­building objectives; religious and other cultural factors influences on international relations, and the effects of scarce resources (e.g. oil, water, and food) on state behaviors.

Four hours. Same as HIS 3175. Prerequisite: One year of college-level coursework and successful completion of coursework that satisfies Effective Communication SLOs A and B. This course examines the development of United States foreign policies, with an emphasis on the twentieth century. The course’s focus is on the principles, aims, applications, and decision-making processes that shaped American’s policies with other states. Gen Ed: SW (Glb, Aw, An), Ql, EC-C

POS 3315 U.S. Campaigns and Elections
Four hours. This course examines and analyzes the history, organization and role of political parties in the American electoral system. It also examines and analyzes political behavior of individuals and the role of elections in the American political process. Gen Ed: SW (Glb, Aw, An)

POS 3320 The Presidency and Congress
Four hours. The focus of the course is the executive and legislative branches of government. After examining the constitutional foundation for the executive branch along with the roles and corresponding powers of the president, each presidential administration throughout history will be analyzed. The course also examines and analyzes the structure, organization, leadership positions and processes of Congress. Gen Ed: SW (Glb, Aw, An)

Four hours. Prerequisite: Some previous work in Political Science or permission of the instructor. Fundamentals of international politics and organizations, including theoretical analysis, international actors, nationalism, economic factors, and conflict resolution.

Four hours. The causes, methods, and goals of political violence, terrorism, and insurgency in various parts of the world. Emphasis is placed on how to contain and eliminate the situations that create the various types of political violence. Gen Ed: SW (Glb, Aw, An)

POS 3400 Political Parties and Interest Groups
Four hours. Prerequisite: One year of college-level course work or permission of the instructor. This course will explain the organization, maintenance, functions, behavior and influence of both political parties and interest groups – the aggregators of policy opinion and preference in the US. The focus, if not the entire bulk, of our readings will be on these institutions, as they exist within the United States (at the state and federal levels). We will focus our attention on three aspects of the party: party as organization; party in the electorate; and party in the government. The interest group material is centered on the changing interest group environment, as well as basic theories of interest aggregation and representation. This is an expressly “experiential learning” course. Students will work with the materials in two ways: through the existing literature on the subjects of interest aggregation, and through examining the organizations themselves through your own interviewing, personal investigation and research.

POS 3500 The International Relations of the Developing World
Four Hours. Prerequisite: One year of college-level course work or instructor’s permission and successful completion of coursework that satisfies Effective Communications SLOs A and B. This course will introduce students to major debates in international relations, with a focus on the politics of the developing world. Possible issues addressed in the course include, but are not limited to: ethnic conflict, civil wars, democratization, failed states, economic development in a globalized world, the policy of non-­alignment, and foreign imposed-regime change. A significant portion of class time will be devoted to UN simulations, where students research and represent individual countries in the in-class simulations.

POS 3600 Topics in International Relations
Four Hours. Prerequisite: One year of college-level course work or instructor’s permission and successful completion of coursework that satisfies Effective Communication SLOs A and B. This course takes an in-depth examination of an issue in global politics that is not covered in the core curriculum; each semester that the course is offered, the course topic will be determined by student interest. In the first section of the course, students will review theoretical literature on the chosen issue. In the second part, students will examine historical case studies, with a focus on testing and applying these theories. In the final section, students will complete a major research project. Students may repeat the course when topics vary. This course is intended for upper-college students and political science majors.

Four hours. Same as PHI 4429. From Plato to the present, the course explores the writings of the world’s greatest political theorists on such topics as the state, the ideal state, the individual in the state, natural law, institutional religion and the state, revolution, the state of nature, sovereignty, the social contract, moral law, separation of power, the universal state, the dialectic, capitalism, class conflict, anarchism, liberty, libertarianism, and justice. Emphasis is placed on the question of how relevant are these concepts for our times. Gen Ed: MV

POS 4905 Politics & The Media
Four hours. Same as COM 4905. Prerequisite: COM/SPC 3550 or at least junior status. A systematic description and analysis of the media’s role and impact within the American political arena. Attention will be paid to the impact of the changing processes and modes of the media on citizen involvement, political campaigns, and governing.

One to eighteen hours. Pass/fail. Students may earn up to a maximum of 18 credit hours in POS 4960 and 4961 combined, but of the total number of credit hours earned, only five may be applied to the 41 hours required to complete the political science major, the remainder will count as elective credit hours. Internships are out of classroom experiences designed to enable learning that cannot be gained in a traditional classroom setting, to set in practical environments skills or other content gained in a traditional classroom setting, or to gain work experience that is specifically tied to a student’s pre-professional training and connected to discipline/field-specific content. An internship requires and assumes an active learning component on the part of the student: “shadowing”, per se, is not an internship under this definition.

Four hours. Theory and practice of public address; preparation and delivery of short speeches; development of critical thinking and listening. Gen Ed: EC-B

Four hours. The study of small group communication theory and practice in various situations. Course focus is on how small groups are used to solve problems, reach decisions, and make recommendations. Groups will work with campus and community groups to identify solutions and make recommendations to solve presented issues. Gen Ed: SW (Aw, Ap)

Four hours. This course explores the unique relationship between communication and culture. Students examine their own cultural view as they are exposed to a variety of cultural dynamics and more in this increasingly global society. This course balances concepts and theories of intercultural communication with practical application. The goal of this course is to enhance the student’s effectiveness as a communicator. Gen Ed: SW (Glb, Aw, An), EC-B

Four hours. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Effective Communication SLO A. An examination of the major theoretical perspectives and concepts related to persuasion. The course will familiarize students with major theories, areas of research, and ethical issues in the social scientific study and application of persuasion. Gen Ed: SW (Aw, An), EC-B

Four hours. Successful completion of Effective Communication SLO A. This course focuses on the principles of communication within a variety of organizational structures. Students will explore and discuss research on communication networks, how information is processed within systems, and the relationship between communication and organizational culture and climate. Gen Ed: SW (Aw, Ap), EC-B

Four hours. Prerequisites: SPC 1500 and COM 2500 and completion of Effective Communication SLO A for majors; all non-majors require completion of Effective Communication SLOs A & B. Survey of advertising and public relations methods. Emphasis on preparation of advertisements, professional communication strategies and tactics, use of relevant research methodologies, and communication campaigns.

Four hours. Prerequisites: SPC 1500 and COM 2500. Students develop industry-appropriate writing skills and techniques including creation of press releases, backgrounders, pitch letters, and other relevant media products. This course focuses on using audience analysis, demographics, and pyschographics to tailor messages to specific audiences. Creation of a portfolio is required.

Four hours. Prerequisites: COM/SPC 3400 and SPC 3450. The Public Relations Strategy course is a special topics course focusing on discussion of strategies and tactics within a variety of public relations fields such as crisis management, political communication, international communication, grass-roots / advocacy public relations, and/or non-profit public relations. Students will conduct original campaign research, analyze the results, and devise a research-driven public relations campaign appropriate to the class focus.