The major in political science consists of nine courses plus two course of Independent Study (PSCI 451-452). The requirements for the major include:
- At least two introductory level courses (PSCI 110, 120, 130, or 140) which should be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
- A three-course concentration within one of the four sub-fields of the discipline: Government and Politics in the United States, International Relations, Political Theory, and Comparative Politics. The concentration must include the introductory course in the selected sub-field. Students will be asked to declare their concentrations when they declare their major, and they may design their own concentrations with the approval of the chair of the department.
- At least one full credit course in each of the four sub-fields of the discipline. Students should consult their advisor or the chair of the department concerning which courses might best complement their chosen concentrations and interests.
- Research Methods and Design (PSCI 350) or Tutorial on Research in Political Theory (PSCI 330) for Political Theory concentrations, to be completed within the area of concentration.
- Senior Independent Study (PSCI 451-452), to be completed within the area of concentration.
The foregoing describes the minimum major in political science; students may count toward graduation additional courses in political science. Indeed, students are strongly encouraged to take additional upper-division political science courses in order to acquire depth of understanding in preparation for Junior and Senior Independent Study. The minor in Political Science consists of six courses, including at least one 100-level course and at least one course in not fewer than three fields.
Declaring the Major
Students are required to declare a major by February of their sophomore year. It is to your advantage to declare Political Science as early as possible in order to get the best advising and guidance from the department. You are required to determine a concentration at the time that you declare the major. The concentration defines your particular thematic focus, determines the advanced courses you will take in the major, helps you to select an appropriate academic advisor, and provides valuable training for Junior and Senior Independent Study. Students may concentrate in one of the following four fields:
- U.S. politics examines the interactions among political parties, interest groups, social movements, and government institutions in the United States .
- Comparative politics provides students with a broader view of their own society by putting their experience into the context of how other societies have attempted to solve problems of governance, justice, economic development and political stability.
- International relations is concerned with patterns of conflict and cooperation among nation-states, international organizations, and non-governmental actors such as environmental groups and multinational corporations.
- Political theory questions the philosophical foundation of our understanding of the political world and its implications for justice and the common good.