May 19, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science, B.A.

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Political Science

   Member of the Division of Social Studies


Barb Trish


Leif Brottem
Barry Driscoll
Peter Hanson
Andreas Jozwiak
Wayne Moyer 
Gemma Sala
Barbara Trish
Sheahan Virgin

The aim of political science is to be able to simplify and systematize political processes in order to identify general patterns from the complexity of political life. Our courses address questions regarding: Who has power and how did they get it? What issues become politically mobilized? How are political decisions made? How do cultural beliefs, social structures and political institutions affect those decisions? What produces political stability and what facilitates change? What is political leadership and what forces shape the relationship between leaders and citizens? What interests, opportunities and constraints shape political outcomes? Political science courses expose students to the leading conversations and findings that answer these questions. It provides them with sophisticated reasoning and data analysis skills to assess the strength of the evidence that support those arguments and to choose among them.

Since a core of central concepts and theories is common to virtually all the department’s courses, students of political science are required to take  the introductory course, POL 101 , where they will explore not only the themes but also disciplinary approaches to political questions. This course provides the necessary background for further work in various subfields of the discipline: American politics, comparative politics, and international relations.  From there, students will develop their own research projects in two different seminars. Writing, oral and data analysis skills are scaffolded at each level of the curriculum.

Political science majors must take statistics and two other courses from across the curriculum to enhance their understanding of the political world from multidisciplinary perspectives. Appropriate internships, research projects and experiences off campus enrich the major.

Recent graduates in political science have undertaken careers in a number of different fields, including law, journalism, education, academics or  business, but also medicine, engineering or theater.  Work in politics and public policy - in government, policy and electoral campaigns, and NGOs - in both domestic and international realms is especially attractive to majors in political science.

Major Requirements: A minimum of 32 credits

Required are: POL 101  (4 credits) and one course in each of the following areas:

American Politics: 4 credits

International Politics: 4 credits

Additional requirements

  • 8 credits must be taken at the 300-level after having completed the appropriate 200-level prerequisite.
  • POL 320  or PST 320  will count toward the 300-level requirement if it is taught by a political scientist and if the formal 200-level prerequisite for the course is met. 
  • Preferably students will complete all of their 200-level work before undertaking 300-level courses. Third or fourth-year status is a prerequisite for the 300-level courses.
  • Students must apply different 200-level courses to access their seminars. That is, the same course cannot be used as pre-requisite for both seminars.
  • Courses in which students gain entrance without following specified pre-requisite sequence cannot be used to fulfill subfield distribution or seminar requirements.
  • In addition to the required 32 credits, students are required to take statistics (MAT 115 SST 115 , or STA 209 
  • With advisor’s approval, up to eight of the 32 credits may be taken in related studies, at the 200-level or above, outside the department. 

Schedule of Prerequisites:

A given 200-level course can be used as a prerequisite for only one of the two 300-level courses required for the major.


To be considered for honors in political science, graduating seniors, must achieve a G.P.A. of 3.75 in the major and a G.P.A. of 3.6 overall.