Delve into one of the oldest academic disciplines.
From Aristotle and Plato, to Machiavelli and Aquinas, to modern analysts and states-men, political scientists have been concerned with issues of power, governance, public policy, social behavior and interactions among nation-states, among many others.
Courses required for this major include all major sub-disciplines of this field: Political Theory, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Economy, as well as Research Methodologies. The interdisciplinary electives encourage students to look at political issues from the perspective of other disciplines.
Compared to the more applied major in International Relations, the major in Political Science is more humanistic and disciplinary. This major provides an excellent preparation for graduate study and careers in fields such as law, journalism, consulting, development assistance or education.
Political Science is one of the oldest intellectual and academic disciplines. From Aristotle and Plato, to Machiavelli and Aquinas, to modern analysts and statesmen, political scientists have been concerned with issues of power, governance, public policy, social behavior and interactions among nation-states, among many others. Courses required for this major include all major sub-disciplines of this field: Political Theory, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Economy, as well as Research Methodologies. The interdisciplinary electives encourage students to look at political issues from the perspective of other disciplines.
Compared to the more applied major in International Relations, the major in Political Science is more humanistic and disciplinary. This major provides an excellent preparation for graduate study and careers in fields such as law, journalism, consulting, development assistance, or education.
Not open to majors in International Relations or Political Science with an emphasis in Global Political Economy
Major Requirements (48 Credits)
- Foundation Courses (12 Credits)
- POL 100 Introduction to Political Science
Basic concepts of the discipline are discussed in this class with a focus on the evolution of the state and the role of the individual from historical, ideological, and comparative perspectives.
- POL 101 Introduction to International Relations
This course provides the basic analytic tools necessary for the understanding of international relations. After a brief introduction to the realist and liberal approaches to the study of international relations, the course covers various fundamental concepts, such as national power, foreign policy, conflict, political economy, international trade, and international organizations.
- HIS 100 Western Civilization I: Ancient and Medieval
This survey course is an introduction to the political, economic, social, and intellectual history of the west from the Neolithic to the voyages of discovery in the sixteenth century. Our knowledge and understanding of the past is contingent and contested. The course explores areas of contestation to give students a better understanding of the forces and events which shaped the ancient and medieval worlds and continue to shape the modern world. (It is recommended that HIS 100 be taken prior to HIS 101.)
- HIS 101 Western Civilization II: Modern
This survey course is an introduction to the political, economic, social, and intellectual history of the west from the scientific revolution to the present. Our knowledge and understanding of the past is contingent and contested. The course explores areas of contestation to give students a better understanding of the forces and events which have shaped the modern world.
- HIS 104 Global History I: Traditions, Encounters, and Adaptation from the Stone Age to the 16th Century
This course is an introduction to themes and trends in the political, economic, cultural, and social, history of pre-modern societies in global perspective. It covers the development of civilizations in Eurasia, Africa and the Americas from the Neolithic Revolution to the ''Columbian Exchange'' with emphasis on the emergence and diffusion of religious and political institutions, the role of the environmental context, as well as the impact of encounters between human societies. Students are introduced to the historiography of empire and global history/globalization, and attention is devoted to the reading and analysis of different categories of primary sources.
- HIS 105 Global History II: Globalization, the Emergence of the Modern State, and Coping with Change
This course is an introduction to themes and trends in the political, economic, cultural, and social history of modern societies in global perspective. It covers the development of societies in Eurasia, Africa, and the Americas from the ''Columbian Exchange'' to the twenty-first century with emphasis on the development of institutions within their changing cultural, political, and environmental context, as well as the impact of encounters between human societies. Students are introduced to the historiography of globalization and of the modern state. Further attention is devoted to the analysis of different categories of primary sources. (It is recommended that HIS 104 be taken prior to HIS 105).
- Required Courses (9 Credits)
- POL 300 Comparative Politics
The development of the modern nation-state is analyzed from a variety of theoretical viewpoints. The approach and methods of major social theorists are examined in detail. Formerly POL 400. Students who have previously earned credit for POL 400 cannot earn credit for POL 300.
- POL 301 Theories of International Relations
This course concentrates on the major approaches, models and theories in the study of international relations. Micro and macro theories, deductive and inductive methods are explored from historical, political and economic perspectives. The relations between the major powers in the twentieth century are examined for their relevance in the study of international politics.
- POL 302 Political Philosophy
This course is designed to familiarize students with the major currents of political philosophy. It covers a broad range of central thinkers from the major philosophers of ancient Greece up to the proponents of modern-day liberalism. The course situates political philosophies in their historical context of emergence and thereby provides an overview of the history of the central ideas which are at the heart of thinking about politics, society and justice. The reading of primary and secondary sources serves as the basis for in-depth class discussions and a critical engagement with the normative underpinnings of societal organization.
- POL 303 Key Concepts in Political Economy
Political entities have always sought ways to organize economic activity, including the production and distribution of goods and services. This course introduces students to the key ideas and theories that have shaped debates on the political and social implications of economic policies. Students learn about different understandings of prosperity, welfare and development, which are connected to political questions of freedom, equality, authority and power. The course also explores different methodological standpoints; from rational choice to institutionalism, postmodernism and historical materialism. It places particular emphasis on the role of governments and political interests in shaping conflictual processes of collective decision-making. Finally, this course also looks at key political actors (states, organized labor, capital) and their interactions, thereby highlighting how strategic factors influence social, political and economic choices. (Recommended prerequisite: POL 101)
- Capstone Requirement (6 Credits)
- POL 497 Readings and Methods in Political Science and International Relations
This course serves as a capstone for departmental majors. It focuses on classical and contemporary contributions in our fields and directly addresses the methodologies which students need to write their final theses. Students will be required to actively prepare and discuss class readings. They will also have the opportunity to work on their thesis projects and to discuss these in class.
- POL 499 Senior Thesis
Senior Thesis proposals are to be coordinated with the Department Chair.
- Departmental Electives (12 Credits)
Five of the following:
Any language at the 301 level: GER 301 or FRE 301 or ITA 301
- Interdisciplinary Electives (6 Credits)
Two of the following:
- AHT 218T Harbor Cities: Architecture, Vision, and Experience
Oceans, seas and rivers have long provided resources favorable to the growth of urban settlements. Cities built on water shores use natural fluxes as passageways for bodies, goods and ideas from a privileged position. Their harbors became gateways to both wealth and the unknown. This course will focus on the modes of representations of the harbor city in the 20th century, placing particular emphasis on the role of imagination in its past, present and future construction. In the 19th and 20th centuries, radical and rapid changes in maritime technology and the geographies of the world economy prompted dramatic transformations in the functionalities and the identities of harbor cities across the globe. The proud jewels of the ‘economie-monde’ in the Mediterranean as well as many of the industrial bastions of the 19th century empires fell into decline, while emerging economies prompted fast-paced development of their sea-linked cities to accommodate emerging trade. Throughout this process, the relation of harbor cities to their self-perceived identity significantly evolved. A sole focus on a city’s desires and assets has become unviable. For the once remote outside world has found multiple paths of its own making to gain access to the city’s shores. The course will consider the array of visions drawn by artists, poets, architects, urban planners, politicians, entrepreneurs, and everyday inhabitants in informing the modeling of harbor cities in the context of rapid and drastic physical and mental changes.
- AHT 230T Art, Politics, Landscape: Ireland
This course focuses on the relation between the visual arts, politics and landscape in Ireland. It emphasizes the role played by culture and aesthetics in the shaping of territorial identities on the island. It also looks at the historical evolution of conflicting socio-political configurations, whose modeling of physical and imaginary landscapes will be scrutinized. Singular and interacting identities within the spatial political nexus of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom, are explored from the mediating perspective of aesthetic production and consumption. The course looks at early Celtic sculpture, craftsmanship and illuminated manuscripts, the circulation of artistic ideas and artists during the medieval and early modern period, before turning to nascent modernities in art and architecture. Artistic production during the Troubles in the second half of the Twentieth century is finally discussed in relation to the complex negotiation of past and present identities and heritage in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The vibrancy of contemporary Irish art finally provides a platform from which to reflect on current aesthetic syncretisms. The travel component includes in-situ visits in Dublin and Galway.
- BUS 410 Organizational Behavior and Leadership
This course studies the internal environment of firms and organizations, namely how to organize and manage people in order to implement strategic plans effectively. Topics include: organizational structures and change, human resources, leadership, group dynamics and teamwork, motivation, and multicultural management. Special attention will be given to the study of leadership, which plays a critical role in increasingly complex and multicultural organizations. The readings and class discussions include both theoretical concepts, case studies and practical exercises.(This writing-intensive course counts towards the Academic Writing requirement.) (Junior status recommended)
- CLCS 200 Gender and Sexuality in a Global Context
This course presents an interdisciplinary introduction to key concepts in gender studies. Focusing on the way in which gender operates in different cultural domains, this class investigates the manner in which race, culture, ethnicity, and class intersect with gender. (This writing-intensive course counts towards the Academic Writing requirements).
- CLCS 243 The Cultural Politics of Sports
This course looks at sports as a cultural, social and political phenomenon and explores some of the major concepts pertinent to the cultural studies discipline through the lens of sports such as nationalism, social class, race/ethnicity, gender, celebrity culture and its fans, ethics, and concepts of power. Students will also consider the very ideas of 'sportsmanship,' 'playing the game' and the global 'mega-events' that many professional sports competitions have become. This course will involve reading theoretical essays related to sports, class discussion of the readings, regular reading responses, and presentations. Students will be encouraged to pursue their own research interests based on a particular sport, major sports event (Olympics, European Soccer Championship, World Series) or sports infrastructure (Little-League, college sports, sports clubs) and to reflect culturally on an activity that cuts across many disciplines (e.g. business, communications, ethics, health) as well as one that they themselves may be passionately involved in, either as actors and/or as spectators.
- CLCS 350 Culture and Human Rights
''Human Rights'' has become a key selling point for organizations, political parties and social movements. And yet what is actually meant by the term often remains vague, and it is difficult to take the critical stance necessary to judge its significance. In this class students interrogate the term with a series of questions: what counts as ''human'' in the discourses surrounding Human Rights? What sorts of rights do individuals in fact have simply by virtue of being human? Do all humans have the same rights? Who gets to decide this? How has the definition changed over the last 200 years? To what extent is the term gendered, determined by class and racialized? And finally: how do different national settings change how we think about and act on ideas of Human Rights? This course will examine these questions by tracing ideas surrounding Human Rights in treatises, literary texts, films, debates and case studies from the Enlightenment to the present. Against the backdrop of foundational texts such as The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Vindication of the Rights of Woman, declarations by the European Court of Human Rights, the African Court on Human and People's Rights, the Geneva convention and the United Nations Human Rights Commission students will consider literary and filmic works that grapple critically with the terms they lay out. Students will also consider how NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch translate the political rhetoric to apply their own interpretations of Human Rights to their field work. (This writing-intensive course counts towards the Academic Writing requirements)
- CLCS 360 Critical Race Studies in a Global Context
In this course, the class will work to create a more critical understanding of what race is, what race does, and how contemporary racial meanings are constructed and disseminated. In order to do so, students will explore Critical Race Theory (CRT) and critical theories of race in several contexts. CRT refers to a theory that emerged among legal educators in the US in the 1980s and 1990s. In the last twenty years, a growing number of scholars in fields such as cultural studies, gender studies, history, media studies, politics, postcolonial studies and sociology have integrated and developed the work done by critical race theorists. This course will focus in particular on this interdisciplinary approach to critical race studies. The practice of race will be examined as well as the policies and institutions that shape race in a global context in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Finally, students will consider the intersection of race and other social hierarchies, including gender, sexuality and social class.
- CLCS 371 Law and Culture
This course aims to investigate law's place in culture and culture's place in law. This focus proceeds from the realization that law does not function in a vacuum but exerts a powerful influence on all manner of cultural practice and production, even as its own operation is influenced in turn by various forms of culture. Given this increasing porosity and interpermeability of Law and different forms of culture, the focus of this course is on the mutual influence between law and other discursive practices, such as literature, TV sit-coms and film. In studying a number of prominent legal cases such as Brown v the Board of Education, we will explore the following questions: What are the mechanisms by which popular representations and cultural practices find their way into legal processes and decisions? How does law in turn bleed into and influence cultural processes? Does law act as a buffer against societal assumptions about, and constructions of, gender, age, ability, sexuality and ethnicity, or does it re-enforce and re-inscribe existing social norms?
- COM 310 Issues in Journalism
This course uses key topics, themes and trends in journalism to explore the foundations and functions of the press, learn techniques of gathering and writing news, discuss the shifting terrain of journalism, and reflect upon the status and functions of journalism in different cultural contexts. As a writing-intensive course, this course is designed to help students produce high quality written work through a process of drafting, workshopping and editing. Written work may include journalistic reviews, letters to the editor, pitches to the editor and interviews.
- ECN 303 Development Economics
The course will introduce students to the evolution of theory and practice in economic development in three stages. First, models of economic growth and development including work by Harrod-Domar, Robert Solow, Arthur Lewis, and Michael Kremer are compared to provide students with a feeling for how economists have conceived of the development process. The class then proceeds to examine particular development issues such as population growth, stagnant agriculture, environmental degradation, illiteracy, gender disparities, and rapid urbanization to understand how these dynamics reinforce poverty and deprivation. In the final stage, students will read work by supporters as well as critics of international development assistance and use the knowledge and perspective they have gained thus far to independently evaluate efficacy of a specific development intervention.
- ENV 200 Understanding Environmental Issues
This case study based course serves as the bridge experience for students completing their introductory course requirements for the ESS major or the ENV minor and who are now moving into the upper-level courses (However it is open to all interested students meeting the prerequisite). Through detailed examination of several case studies at the local, regional, and global levels, students synthesize material from introductory level courses to explore the interdisciplinary nature of today’s environmental issues. They examine what different disciplines offer to our understanding of and attempt to solve these issues.
- PSY 201 Social Psychology
Introduction to major theories and research findings of social psychology in order to provide an understanding of the roles of cognitive and motivational processes in social behavior. The focus of this course is on how people's behavior, feelings and thoughts are influenced through social environment.
- PSY 310 Organizational Psychology
This course will provide an in-depth exploration of the key concepts, theories, and research methods in Organizational Psychology. Organizations are complex networks of social relationships between individuals, within groups, and between groups. In this course, students will examine individual, interpersonal, group and cultural behaviors in organizations. Topics to be covered include: group decision-making and communication styles; managing group processes and team design; leadership and power strategies within groups; performance management and work teams; and networking and negotiation within and across groups and organizations.
Note: Prerequisites may be required for courses outside of the major.
The department strongly recommends that students take a POL Academic Travel course.