Undergraduate Program


Political Science majors must take one course designated by the department as "methodologically focused" and pursue one of two "intellectual capstone" options.

American Politics (includes PS 10-19, PS 100-119 excluding PS 103, 190-195, and 197)
American Politics and Government courses cover governmental institutions, political parties, political processes and behavior, public policies, and the political history of the United States. They also are concerned with American social institutions, race and ethnicity, public opinion, political psychology, the mass media, and interest groups. Many courses introduce students to social science methods.

Comparative Politics (includes PS 21-39, PS 120-139, and PS 176)
Comparative Politics courses cover and compare the political institutions, actors, ideologies, and socioeconomic contexts of different countries and regions of the world. Specific subjects include political institutions such as political parties, public bureaucracies, and the military; regime types; civil society; political ideologies such as nationalism, populism, communism, socialism, and fascism; political violence and the politics of social movements; and the politics of identity including race, ethnicity, and gender. Many courses introduce students to social science methods.

International Relations (includes PS 60-69, PS 125, PS 142, and PS 160-189)
International Relations courses deal with study of politics outside and across the boundaries of sovereign states. This includes the causes and the prevention of interstate and intrastate war, international political economy, international law, the foreign and defense policies of the United States and other countries, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the linkages between domestic politics and foreign policy, international bargaining and negotiation, ethics and international politics. Many courses introduce students to social science methods.

Political Theory and Philosophy (includes PS 40-49 and PS 140-159)
Political Theory and Philosophy courses deal with the study of the history of ancient and modern political philosophy and its influence in shaping and understanding the Western political tradition; the analysis of seminal thinkers in that history, such as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Nietzsche; the examination of Islamic political thought; the analysis of the relationship between philosophy and politics; the assessment of the character of American political thought; and debate and discussion of concepts such as justice, liberty, sovereignty, citizenship, oppression, tyranny, revolution, war and empire, and the relationship between religion and politics.

Methodologically Focused Courses (all 4 subfields; includes PS 12, 14, 15, 23, 103, 104, 107, 109, 111, 115, 117, 124, 130, 135, 166, 174, 181, 184, 195, 198, and 199)
Methodologically focused courses are offered in the four subfields of political science: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. Methodologically focused courses impart an understanding of the range of approaches to conducting research within each of the four subfields, with special emphasis on basic principles of social science methodologies, including the ability to formulate appropriate research questions, derive testable hypotheses, collect and analyze data, and an ability to clearly communicate theoretical concepts and empirical research findings.

Intellectual Capstone Experiences (all 4 subfields; includes PS 100, 104, 109, 113, 114, 119, 120, 121, 123, 124, 130, 132, 139, 145, 147, 148, 151, 152, 153, 156, 157, 159, 166, 171, 178, 182, 184, 185, 189, 195, and 198)
Intellectual capstones are offered through two venues that cover all of the political science subfields: senior thesis; and advanced seminars. Students take these capstone offerings in an area where they have developed some background in previous courses and are ready to study a topic in depth. Capstones provide the opportunity for students to plan and execute a substantive research project. They enable students to draw substantive and theoretical connections within a particular subfield and (in some cases) across subfields.