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New Joint SPA/SOC Master’s Degree in Political Communication

The School of Communication and School of Public Affairs are offering a new joint master’s degree in political communication.

The program is designed to provide “an understanding of the theory and practice of political institutions as well as the interaction between those institutions, the media and the public.”

“So much of American politics today is built on two essential pillars: knowing how the political system works, and appreciating the subtleties and strategies of political communication,” said Leonard Steinhorn, the program’s director. “For anyone entering politics, this is a degree that will bestow knowledge, influence, and strategic inspiration.”

The inaugural class of 10 students are beginning the fall with a “Six Saturdays” seminar, during which they meet for two hours with SPA professors James Thurber, Candy Nelson, and Jennifer Lawless, and SOC professors Robert Lehrman, Dotty Lynch, and Steinhorn to discuss the news of the week.

A class blog already has hosted a discussion on the role of polling in diminishing political leadership and the question of whether to publish results of computer activated polls. In addition, several of the students are working on an analysis of polling data about young voters in conjunction with the October 6 American Forum on Young People and the 2010 Midterm Elections.