Bethel College Launches New Applied Politics Major

new applied politics major at Bethel College

Bethel College announces the creation of the applied politics major, a unique program for students who want to pursue a career in politics. The program will offer students multiple opportunities to dialog with elected officials, work in election campaigns, serve with advocacy organizations and build lifelong professional networks.

Students will also participate in three internship experiences. Internships for Bethel students have included positions with the U.S. Department of State, advocacy groups in Washington, D.C., political consultants and local offices of elected officials.

“A typical political science program is heavy on philosophy and quantitative analysis, but it doesn’t offer a variety of practical opportunities for students,” says Dave Schmidt, associate professor of history. “We’ve designed the applied politics major to be more pragmatic – we want graduates to walk away with a resume full of real-world experiences. We want them to have demonstrated competence that will lead to valuable career opportunities.”

One factor that makes Bethel ideal for this innovative program is its location in Mishawaka, Ind. Because of the cycle of federal, state and local elections in northern Indiana, active election campaigns are in operation three out of every four years, providing continued opportunities for students to gain experience. Bethel also has strong alumni connections in Washington, D.C., and three full-time faculty who have held or currently hold office as an elected official.

Several local politicians have given input and support for the program, including Carlin Yoder, Indiana State Senator. “Public service is a calling for citizens desiring to make an impact,” says Yoder. “It’s a noble profession requiring commitment, the ability to listen and respond accordingly. Those are the types of individuals that Bethel will prepare with their new major in applied politics.”

To learn more about the applied politics major, visit