What it Really Means to Be Free: A Closer Look at Patrick Henry College’s Political Theory Track

Patrick Henry College

By Rachel Cochran

Patrick Henry College believes in preserving the spirit of the American founding in its high academic rigor and unwavering biblical worldview. Committed to truth, it provides students with a classical Christian liberal arts education that asks important questions like what it means to be free.

Students at Patrick Henry College who choose to major in government have the option to specialize in a wide variety of disciplines. Some might choose the general government major, others might choose to specialize in American or international politics.

Patrick Henry College’s Political Theory Track is for those who would apply philosophy and theory to politics. Students who are passionate about the ideological implications of politics should consider the political theory track.

Patrick Henry College’s political theory track focuses on human nature, examining the communities, families, and governmental structures in which humans seek to live good lives. The Political Theory Track of the Government major equips Christian thinkers and leaders to engage in meaningful intellectual conversation with the greatest minds of the ages as well as to understand the more theoretical aspects of our current political and social institutions.

Program

Political Theory students at Patrick Henry College receive the benefits of an education that is committed to a high academic rigor, lifting high both faith and reason. Students can learn from professors who are devoted to understanding first principles and reinforcing the connection between questions of morality and politics.

The courses at Patrick Henry College include subjects that examine the theoretical implications of politics such as Conservative Political Thought, Ancient and Medieval Political Theory, Modern and Contemporary Political Theory.

Students at Patrick Henry College can learn about the influence their faith has on government in Christian Political Thought, Democracy’s Prospects and Challenges, American Political Thought, and Freedoms’ Foundations.

Students will also have the option to view occasional seminars on Family, Literature, Architecture, Libertarianism, and a wealth of other topics. Studying from the greatest minds in Western Civilizations, students are sure to get a thorough education in politics at Patrick Henry College.

Curriculum

Under the mentorship of a faculty political theorist, students in the Political Theory Track at Patrick Henry College are encouraged to engage with the great philosophers. They delve into Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Nietzsche, Hegel, and Heidegger, to name a couple.

But they don’t stop at philosophy. Students will also read from the timeless theologians Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin, among others.

Patrick Henry College challenges students to grapple with the difficult contemporary political philosophers like Strauss, Voeglin, de Jouvenel, and Rorty as well as leading conservative minds like Kirk, Nisbet, MacIntyre, and Ropke.

The Political Theory program thrives on having small and intimate classes. During each class, students are guided through the great texts of the ages and encouraged to connect theory with the concerns of modern families, churches, and governmental institutions.

Research is a big part of Patrick Henry College’s Political Theory Track. Students are required to write essays and longer projects before graduation. They also learn how to gather information and construct written expositions of political theory, including an option for a senior thesis on a topic of their choice.

Apprenticeships

Patrick Henry College has a unique apprenticeship methodology. It challenges students to search for their vocation and seeks to provide a way for them to not only find a job that works for them, but one that they truly love. This is a part of Patrick Henry College’s drive for excellence.

Students in the Political Theory Track have the same options for apprenticeships as the other tracks of the Government major. They can choose to intern for a senator, congressman, or local official. Other options include doing research projects.

Political Theory students at Patrick Henry College have the option of fulfilling their apprenticeship credits with Capitol Hill internships. These students have interned in locations ranging from Congresswoman Bachmann’s office to the Heritage Foundation.

In addition to internships on Capitol Hill, opportunities for students include various academic fellowships and honors programs, such as that offered by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Many students choose to focus on research and writing for their apprenticeship project in the form of a senior thesis.

Alumni Success

Where are Political Theory students now? They go into a wide variety of career paths. Some include working in politics, others include going to grad school. Political Theory students at Patrick Henry College have been accepted to high-profile graduate degree programs after completion of study at Patrick Henry College.

Alumni who graduate with a Political Theory Government degree are well prepared for graduate school and the workplace because of Patrick Henry College’s high academic rigor. Students learn the discipline of studying hard texts and deeply analyzing complicated subjects.

It is important to note that students at Patrick Henry College who study political theory do not have to go to law school. The program is designed to train student’s minds to think critically and to examine information well. Students can use the skills they learn in the major in any area they choose to pursue after graduation.

Patrick Henry College students who desire to go into law after graduation have found the Political Theory Track to be helpful to build their knowledge base as well as make them stand out.

Political Theory alumni at Patrick Henry College have gone into upper level institutions to further pursue their graduate degree. They have attended institutions like the Harvard School of Law, Georgetown School of Law, Catholic University Theory Ph.D. Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison Theory Ph.D. Program, University of Virginia School of Law, Notre Dame School of Law, and University of Dallas Theory Ph.D. Program.

Students who love to think deeply and are passionate about the ideological backings of politics should consider studying political theory at Patrick Henry College. Even for those who don’t necessarily want a career in law or policy can be benefited by what the track has to offer.

Patrick Henry College is preserving for posterity the ideals behind the “noble experiment in ordered liberty” in its philosophy of education. Students in the Political Theory Track don’t simply learn about politics—they learn what it means to live well.

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