Patrick Henry College’s One-of-a-Kind Government Program

patrick henry college

By Rachel Cochran

Patrick Henry College was founded with one of the distinct purposes of preserving fidelity to the spirit of the American founding through its academic rigor and opportunities. The college has a firm desire to raise Christian men and women to become influential leaders in society who stand for Christ and for liberty.

While Patrick Henry College has a diverse amount of major and minor programs, one of the largest is the Government Major. It includes five different tracks, or students can choose to the general major and pick and choose their own classes. Patrick Henry College strives to offer students flexibility when choosing their course sequences.

Different Tracks

Within the Government major, students have a measure of flexibility to craft their course work to their specific academic interests. This flexibility is a part of Patrick Henry College’s classical, Christian, liberal arts education.

For students who like what they see in the different tracks but don’t want to be limited to just one, the general Government major is something that they should consider. It allows students to choose 12 credits in a variety of Government disciplines from whatever track they want.

The different tracks has specific upper-division courses tailored to provide the student with a sound understanding and appreciation of government, politics and policy, theory, or strategic intelligence. These five tracks are: American Politics & Policy, Strategic Intelligence, International Politics & Policy, Political Theory, and Political Philosophy.

These tracks offer a wide range of courses, including everything from classes no government and the international situation to the philosophical foundation of government and conservativism. Combining this with the apprenticeship opportunities, students are well prepared to enter public service, non-profit organizations, think tanks, or graduate and professional schools. 

Curriculum

For students who choose to pursue the general Government major, they have the option to take courses from all of the five tracks in addition to the Government major-specific courses. Patrick Henry College seeks to equip its students, especially in the Government major to have both deep knowledge of our country and the international situation so that they are better equipped to lead the nation.

Every student at Patrick Henry College majoring in Government has the opportunity to take 12 credits of primary content courses that provide an overview of the field of Government and introduce the student to key subfields: American Political Institutions, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Science Research Methods.

The Government major is built upon a 63-credit core. This is part of the classical, Christian, liberal arts education that Patrick Henry College offers. It is designed to give students a deep understanding of a broad range of subject areas.

In addition to the core, students in the general Government major will take 47 major course credits. They have 12 open elective credit hours to fill with courses of their choice, and they will graduate having completed 123 credit hours total.

Apprenticeships

A key distinctive of Patrick Henry College is its focus on apprenticeship training. Apprenticeships place an emphasis on helping students find their vocation or calling. They seek to give students a foot in the door while they are still in college to understand what field they are best suited for.

Government students are required to choose several apprenticeship opportunities comprising half of their major program (23 credit hours). These can include things like a Practicum in American Politics & Policy, a Practicum in International Politics & Policy, Topics in Politics & Policy, Moot Court, Forensics Activities like Civic Debate, Mock Trial, Applied Research in Political Theory, a Senior Thesis, Independent Readings/Directed Research, and Special Projects in Strategic Intelligence.

Patrick Henry College wants to apply its students to a standard of high academic rigor while also giving them the experience they need to do well. General Government majors at Patrick Henry College have the flexibility within their major to learn the skills they need to succeed.

Each type of apprenticeship experience at Patrick Henry College is unique. While apprenticeships are largely initiated by the students, Patrick Henry College Government faculty are engaged in the learning process and provide oversight and direction to the apprenticeship experience. They step in as mentors/advisors to the students to help them make the best decisions about their courses and apprenticeships.

Government majors have a unique opportunity to participate in their chosen fields within the greater Washington D.C. community, including the White House, Capitol Hill, government agencies, think tanks, non-profit and faith-based organizations, and a variety of county and local government agencies and organizations. 

The opportunities for general Government majors at Patrick Henry College are endless.

Significance

The general Government major at Patrick Henry College prepares students to be outstanding public servants, whether in foreign policy, domestic policy, the academic sphere, or the intelligence community. Because of the school’s high academic rigor, students are well prepared for whatever government-related field they desire to go into.

Each government track gives students a strong emphasis in classical learning and their core government classes, and hands-on training in their field of interest. General Government students who want to craft a unique experience have the ability to do so. Students at Patrick Henry College also develop a Biblical understanding of their field and how to work in it.

Patrick Henry College began because its founders recognized an unacceptable status quo in higher education—that colleges and universities left out the biblical worldview and education on the American founding. This produced a trend in education that left a void.

Patrick Henry College is the response to that void. It’s response is to preserve the desire to lead for Christ and for liberty, lifting high both faith and reason. The necessity of having an unwavering biblical worldview, fidelity to the spirit of the American founding, and high academic rigor it Patrick Henry College’s response.

The general Government major is just one program that Patrick Henry College offers students who share its devotion to the truth and have a desire to serve God. Students who want to participate and active and influential leaders in government should consider this major.

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