The major places considerable emphasis on the relation between politics in theory and politics in action. The subject matter is arranged into four basic fields: political theory, American politics and public policy, comparative politics, and international politics. Understanding Politics, PSC100, serves as the introduction to the major and minor. After completing the course, students will be required to take one introductory course based on each theme—PSC 221, 243, 250, and one of the Political Theory sequence—200, 201, 202.

In addition, all majors are required to complete PSC 211—Research Methods. We strongly suggest that majors complete this course before taking more advanced courses in the department. Majors (and minors) will need to bear in mind early on in their degree that some advanced courses may have prerequisites that are specific to each of the subfields. Courses are also offered in constitutional law, women in politics, urban and ethnic politics, and state and local politics. All majors are required to complete an internship, for at least three credits, in politics and public policy. The internship may be either domestic or international in focus and may be taken for a letter grade only.

Take the following required 7 courses:

  • PSC 200 (or 201 or 202)
  • PSC 211
  • PSC 221
  • PSC 243
  • PSC 250
  • PSC 290
  • PSC 316
  • Four additional elective courses (two at the 300 level)

Honors in the Major

Students wishing to pursue honors in political science or international relations must have a GPA of 3.5 in the major and an overall GPA of 3.25. By April 30 of their junior year, they must submit to the chair of the department a proposal outlining their thesis project and naming the proposed thesis director. Upon approval, the student must enroll in a two-semester (eight-credit) senior thesis course (PSC 450). One-semester projects are not eligible for honors. At the end of the fall semester, the thesis adviser will determine whether the project has sufficiently progressed to warrant continuation of the pursuit of honors. If not, the student may receive a grade of pass/no pass for those credits. No later than three weeks before the end of the spring semester of the senior year, the student will defend the thesis before a committee of at least three faculty members, a majority of whom are members of the department. The recommendation of the thesis committee will be brought to the department chair. The full department must approve all candidates for honors.