Student Research

Every Alleghenian completes a Senior Project in his or her major field. This project represents a significant piece of original research, designed by the student under the guidance of a faculty advisor, that demonstrates to employers and graduate schools the ability to complete a major assignment, to work independently, to analyze and synthesize information, and to write and speak persuasively.

Political science projects take two semesters, with students first writing and defending a project proposal. The department’s majors, most of whom write major papers and do independent research before their senior year, traditionally seize the opportunity to investigate current world problems. Some recent examples of projects:

  • “Microtargeting the Masses: The Impact of Microtargeting on Mobilization and Participation in America”
  • “A Court in Confusion: The Supreme Court’s Inability to Establish the Establishment Clause”
  • “When Five Speak as One It Is the Voice of God: Contemporary Democratic Decentralization in Rural India and Thailand”
  • “Beyond the Steel Bars: A Critical Analysis of Criminal Disenfranchisement Laws in the U.S.”
  • “The Effects of the Collapse of the Tool and Die Industry in Northwestern Pennsylvania on Skilled Craftspeople”
  • “The Role of Public Virtue in the Founding of the American Regime”
  • “Supreme Court Justices and Presidents: The Interplay, the Motives, the Nominations, and the Outcomes”
  • “The Next Step in Ending Homelessness: Recommendations for Passing the Bringing America Home Act”

Selected Student Achievements

  • Winner, Eisenhower Internship with the Republican National Committee—the student helped run a winning campaign for a state house seat.
  • Winner, Lyndon Baines Johnson Congressional Internship.
  • The Allegheny Model NATO team won first place at the 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 National Model NATO Conference held at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Department faculty annually elect top students into Pi Sigma Alpha national student honor society.