International Politics and Policy Major at Patrick Henry College

By Rachel Cochran

Our world is becoming increasingly interconnected. Access to other parts of the world and cultures is more common today than it ever has been. As such, there is an ever-increasing need for globally aware Christian leaders, professionals, and policymakers grounded in the fundamentals of faith and freedom.

Patrick Henry College’s International Politics and Policy (IPP) major is a response to that need.

The purpose of the IPP track at Patrick Henry College is to prepare Christian leaders for success in international policy, law, business, and humanitarian work. The track educates students in the contending theories, prominent actors, pressing problems, varying approaches, and current opportunities in foreign policy and international affairs.


IPP students learn from professors at Patrick Henry College who are experts in international policy, theory, and research.

Patrick Henry College requires IPP students to complete classes in a wide variety of subjects beginning with International Relations, Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice, and Comparative Politics. However, it also forces students to think about the ethical conversation of international affairs in Theory and Ethics of International Relations, Ideologies and Revolutions, and International Law.

Students get a deeper insight into different cultures and countries through European Politics, Politics of Developing Nations, and Area Studies where students can spend a semester abroad through Patrick Henry College’s Global Studies Program.

Electives at Patrick Henry College may include International Economics, Comparative Economic Systems, Modern Chinese History, African History, and more.

Students in the IPP track can explore a specific global issue like globalization and global governance, religious conflict, human trafficking, economic development, family deterioration, resource scarcity, free trade, ethnic violence, genocide, environmental degradation, etc. through researching primary and secondary sources.

Students at PHC are then required to draft a policy report articulating a strategy for US involvement that would ultimately be forwarded to relevant government officials.

Apprenticeships at Patrick Henry College

Patrick Henry College holds to a unique apprenticeship methodology that focuses more on guiding students to their ideal vocation. Apprenticeships in the IPP track offers students practical experience, through internships and other apprenticeship opportunities, some in foreign settings.

The IPP Practicum at Patrick Henry College provides students with the opportunity to become involved in practical issues of current salience. This is a vital part of training them to be international leaders.

In recent years students have assisted in editing the International Journal for Religious Freedom and joined other projects involving religious freedom and persecution, and others have participated in conferences at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The Patrick Henry College IPP Practicum also allows students who participate in PHC’s award-winning National Model United Nations team to earn credit while they undertake role-playing as a foreign diplomat, learn how the UN operates, and connect with students from around the world at the culminating national conference in New York City.

Students may also earn credit by writing for the Patrick Henry College student peer-reviewed Journal of International Social Affairs, which affords them further opportunity to hone their analytical skills and knowledge in a field of international politics that is of direct interest to Christians but which seldom receives the attention it deserves.

Patrick Henry College students and graduates have worked at high-level internship positions in the White House, the US Department of State, the Department of Defense, Heritage Foundation, Sysco, The Atlantic Council, and the Project for National Security Reform, as well as at embassies and other venues abroad. This provides a great launching pad for students wanting to get real experience in their field.

Patrick Henry College also offers opportunities for students to study abroad with its Global Studies program. This program allows students to spend an entire semester in a foreign country, where they can learn about other cultures and gain an unforgettable experience.

Why Study International Politics and Policy?

Patrick Henry College encourages an effort on the part of Christians to actively participate and positively influence other nations. PHC seeks to equip its students to apply biblical principles to the study of politics and connected affairs globally, thereby furthering God’s Kingdom throughout the world.

This is not only to fulfill the Great Commission but to help students assume positions of biblical leaders at the forefront of international affairs and to shape global trends. This world is in need of Christian leaders who are instructed in the ethics of international politics and have a deep understanding of the international situation.

As a part of Patrick Henry College’s classical, Christian, liberal arts education, the IPP track offers a rounded curriculum in international affairs.  Considering the interests of many PHC students and families, we give special emphasis to the study of religious and social affairs internationally, where we aspire to exercise leadership.  The machinery of global governance, such as the United Nations, European Union, and other intergovernmental and transnational organizations are subjects of both interest and scrutiny.

Without neglecting the traditional issues and questions of global politics, we have found that issues such as family integrity, religious freedom, marriage and sexuality are either ignored in their increasingly important international dimensions or are addressed largely within narrow ideological limitations. Patrick Henry College is committed to an unwavering biblical worldview and desires to remedy this deficiency and offer balanced perspectives on these trends.

An IPP degree from Patrick Henry College is awarded within the context of the Government major, but it can equip students to enter a variety of globally important professions, including diplomacy, law, business, government, missionary and humanitarian work, and work with intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

Patrick Henry College is committed to excellence and providing a high-quality education, lifting high both faith and reason. Which is why the school seeks to offer a comprehensive liberal arts education that challenges students with high academic rigor.

Patrick Henry College’s faculty are active globally as well, participating in and leading international research efforts such as the Institute of World Politics, the Global Home Education Conference, the World Congress of Families, Fulbright Scholars, Christian Concern (London), the Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture (Warsaw), the European Parliament, the European Christian Political Movement, Russian Society of Political Scientists, and more.

Patrick Henry College wants to equip students to overcome the challenges and opportunities that are unfolding before Christians internationally. For those who love studying the world of international affairs and defending justice, PHC’s IPP Track is for you.


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American Politics and Policy and the White House Internship Through Patrick Henry College

American Politics and Policy and the White House Internship Through Patrick Henry College

By Carrie Durning

Unique Government Opportunities at Patrick Henry College

Patrick Henry College has the reputation of being one of the top Christian colleges in the country, located in rural Loudoun County, Virginia, in close proximity to Washington, D.C. As well as the academic rigor and excellence found in every major Patrick Henry College offers, students receive top internships located in and around Washington D.C., allowing them to build a resume and have connections in future careers.

What makes the academic and internship program at Patrick Henry College so unique from any other BA-level program in Government and American Politics and Policies? The answer is simple: the Liberal Arts program at Patrick Henry College is designed to be classical in its approach, American in its performance, and Christian in its worldview. The Internship program offered at Patrick Henry College does not fall short of those standards of excellence.

Excellence in the Government Major

Every academic program at Patrick Henry College is formed with a broad and rich classical core, which emphasizes great texts from Western Civilization, analytical skills, thinking and reasoning abilities, and creating quality connections. Patrick Henry College equips students with excellence for a successful future and career, and the Government Major does not fall short of that.

The Government Major at Patrick Henry College prepares students to be outstanding public servants, whether in a foreign policy, domestic policy, the academic sphere, or the intelligence community. Each Government track at Patrick Henry College equips students with a strong emphasis in classical learning in their core government classes, and hands-on training in their field of interest.

Patrick Henry College students in the government major also develop a Biblical understanding of their field and how to work in it. The Government Major at Patrick Henry College includes five specific tracks to specialize in, with the option to choose not to specialize in a track. Patrick Henry College students not wanting to pursue a specific track are able to take courses from all the five following disciplines: American Politics and Policy, Economics, International Politics and Policy, Political Theory, and Political Philosophy.

Government Tracks: Outstanding Public Servants

The Government Major at Patrick Henry College includes the option to follow five specific tracks of excellence: American Politics and Policy, Strategic Intelligence, International Politics and Policy, Political Theory, and Political Philosophy. Regardless of the track, each student 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.

One specific Government Major track which succeeds in excellence is American Politics and Policy. Patrick Henry College students majoring in Government with the American Politics and Policy track examine the key subfields of American Government, including American institutions and behavior, state and local government, public economics, public policy, and research methods. After completing 12 credits of required government courses, students choose from a variety of domestic policy or politics courses and apprenticeships. One internship received by many Patrick Henry College Students is the White House.

Unique Apprenticeship Experiences at Patrick Henry College

A unique distinctive of Patrick Henry College is the focus on apprenticeship training. Students majoring in Government are required to choose several apprenticeship opportunities comprising of half of their major program (23 credit hours). Apprenticeship opportunities include practicum in American Politics and Policy, practicum in International Politics and Policy, topics in Politics and Policy, moot court, forensics activities, mock trial, Applied Research in Political Theory, Senior Thesis, Independent Readings/Directed Research, and Special Projects in Strategic Intelligence.

Patrick Henry College junior Elle Reynolds is a current Government major with a track focus in American Politics and Policy, and received an internship with the White House in Washington, D.C., shortly after arriving at PHC. “I would never have gone out for the internship if it hadn’t been for the suggestion of Dr. Haynes, and I’m sure the recommendation of PHC contacts at the White House helped flag my application,” said Reynolds. “There were days that I would run into multiple PHC alumni working in the White House in the same day… it seemed like everywhere I went [in the White House] I knew a friend from PHC.”

Elle Reynolds is one of many Patrick Henry College students who receive the opportunity to intern or work in the White House. Dr. Haynes, the Chairman of the Government Department, first suggested she apply, and the rest was history. “I filled out the application online and talked to/emailed everyone I knew with a connection to the White House to ask them to recommend me,” said Reynolds. By March, I was contacted for a phone interview and official heard in April that I had been accepted.”

APP Internship Experience in the White House

“I interned in the White House Office of Political Affairs… specifically helping with policy research,” said Reynolds. “I would go through media coverage for the day and write up a daily news brief providing summaries of policy news.” Reynolds’ other responsibilities at the White House as an intern included researching policy topics such as healthcare, economic opportunity zones, the Administration’s efforts to combat human trafficking, childcare for working mothers, etc.

“I would compile research into briefs that were anywhere from one page to ten, for use by the office when meeting with everyone from local county delegations to cabinet secretaries,” said Reynolds. One of the most influential things Reynolds learned while interning at the White House was to be faithful in the small things. “Sometimes an assignment I would get seemed tedious or unimportant, but I never knew when one of my bosses would come back to the office and tell me that he’d referenced my work in a meeting with the President,” said Reynolds.

“You never know where your work will go, and something that seems like an everyday task may be the work product representing you to higher-ups. So the internship definitely taught me to do every assignment to the best of my ability and to do so with a joyful attitude because it really is an exciting time and place to be in,” said Reynolds.

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