Major Requirements

Political Science

The political science major: Students majoring in political science are required to complete 12 courses, all with grades of C- or better.

The major consists of two introductory courses, seven electives (including a subfield area of concentration), a senior capstone course, and two cognate courses. Majors must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Introductory Courses: Two courses at the 100 level, preferably taken by the end of the sophomore year (100-level courses are not open to seniors).
  • Electives: Seven courses at the 200 and 300 levels that meet the following three conditions:
    • At least five of these courses must be at the 300 level, one of which must be a sophomore/junior seminar or tutorial.
    • Three courses from a single subfield concentration (American government and politics, comparative politics, international relations, or political theory), two of which must be at the 300 level.
    • POLS 241, POLS 242, ECON 318, ANTH 301, SOCL 201, HIST 300 or two methodologically focused courses, taken before the senior seminar or senior thesis.
  • Senior Capstone: One senior seminar or the completion of a senior thesis (400 level). (The senior capstone course fulfills the Writing Intensive Part II requirement.)
  • Cognate Courses: Two cognate courses (in subfield area of concentration, to be selected in consultation with adviser).
  • For breadth in the discipline, students must complete one course in each of the four subfields (the senior capstone course does not count).

Although some courses are included in more than one area of concentration, a single course may not be used to fulfill more than one distribution requirement.

Any political science major, regardless of GPA, can apply to the department to write a senior thesis by submitting a thesis proposal. Honors in the major will be awarded to students with both (1) a GPA of 3.67 or greater in the major and (2) an A- or better on the thesis.

All senior theses will be two-semester, two-credit theses. In the first semester, students will enroll in a thesis colloquium. In the second, students will continue to write independently in consultation with their advisers. The senior thesis colloquium will fulfill the senior capstone course requirement, though thesis students are still welcome to enroll in a senior seminar. Thus, the colloquium counts among the 12 credits required for the major, while the spring semester of the thesis must be taken in addition to the 12 credits.

The thesis proposal will be due in May of the junior year. Juniors studying abroad may request an extension for submitting the proposal, but the proposal must be submitted and approved by early September, in time to enroll in the fall thesis colloquium.

In the thesis proposal, students may apply for funding to support their research. Typical awards will range up to $1,500.

Areas of concentration:

  • American government and politics
    • POLS 102. American National Government
    • POLS 216. American Political Thought
    • POLS 225. The American Presidency
    • POLS 226. Minority Politics in America
    • POLS 241. Empirical Political Methods and Data Analysis
    • POLS 301. American Political Parties and Interest Groups
    • POLS 307. Constitutional Law I: The Federal System and Separation of Powers
    • POLS 309. Congress and Public Policy
    • POLS 316. Constitutional Law II: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
    • POLS 318. Environmental Politics
    • POLS 326. Women and Politics
    • POLS 348. Social Inequality in the United States
    • POLS 355. Urban Politics
    • POLS 372. The American Welfare State
    • POLS 373. Law, Politics, and Society
    • POLS 379. American Foreign Policy
    • POLS 392. Legislative Internship Program
    • POLS 402. Senior Seminar: American Government-Democratic Representation
    • POLS 408. Senior Seminar: Racial and Ethnic Politics
    • POLS 412. Senior Seminar: The Politics of Judicial Policy Making
    • POLS 414. Senior Seminar: American Social Policy
    • AMST 258. Law in U.S. Society
    • AMST 355. Urban Mosaic: Migration, Identity, and Politics
    • ENGL 338. Political Rhetoric and the Media
    • FORG 201. Formal Organizations and Market Behavior
    • PBPL 215. Privacy, Property and Freedom in the Internet Age
    • PBPL 265. The Bill of Rights: A Revolution of Three Acts
    • PBPL 319. Fear, Freedom, and the Constitution
    • PBPL 331. Becoming American: Immigration and Integration
    • PBPL 828. Formal Analysis
    • WMGS 378. Sexual Orientation and the Law
  • Comparative politics
    • POLS 103. Introduction to Comparative Politics
    • POLS 233. Asian Politics
    • POLS 237. Building the European Union
    • POLS 255. Understanding Contemporary China
    • POLS 260. Comparative Local Government Systems
    • POLS 303. Politics of Ethnicity and Immigration in Contemporary Western Europe
    • POLS 310. Politics of Developing Countries
    • POLS 312. Politics: Middle East and North Africa
    • POLS 330. Government and Politics of Contemporary China
    • POLS 343. Theory and Politics of African Decolonization
    • POLS 344. Politics and Governance in Africa
    • POLS 349. Nation-Building
    • POLS 353. Authoritarianism in Eurasia
    • POLS 385. Crossing Borders: Logics and Politics of Transnational Migration
    • POLS 405. Senior Seminar: Women and Globalization
    • POLS 426. Senior Seminar: Who Are We?
    • INTS 212. Global Politics
    • INTS 213. Worldly Islam: Islamic Values, Secular Traditions
    • INTS 215. Global Policies
    • INTS 301. Arab Politics
    • INTS 315. Global Ideologies
    • INTS 401. Development, Dissent, and the Media
    • LACS 233. Introduction to Italian Politics since World War II
    • PBPL 828. Formal Analysis: Normative and Empirical Dimension
    • ROME 327. Contemporary Italy and Europe
  • International relations
    • POLS 104. Introduction to International Relations
    • POLS 231. Politics and Human Rights in Contemporary Latin America
    • POLS 255. Understanding Contemporary China
    • POLS 261. World Poverty: An Introduction
    • POLS 305. International Organizations
    • POLS 306. Government in a Globalized World
    • POLS 310. Politics of Developing Countries
    • POLS 322. International Political Economy
    • POLS 336. Illicit Markets and the Global Economy
    • POLS 340. International Conflict and Cooperation
    • POLS 349. Nation Building
    • POLS 354. International Relations Theory
    • POLS 369. International Human Rights
    • POLS 378. International Security
    • POLS 379. American Foreign Policy
    • POLS 380. War and Peace in the Middle East
    • POLS 405. Senior Seminar: Women and Globalization
    • POLS 411. Senior Seminar: Transnational Networks
    • POLS 415. Senior Seminar: War, Peace and Strategy
    • INTS 203. Human Rights in a Global Age
    • INTS 212. Global Politics
    • INTS 234. Political Geography
    • INTS 302. Adjustment and Transition: The Political Economy of Sub-Saharan Africa
    • INTS 315. Global Ideologies
    • INTS 349. No Easy Walk to Freedom: The Political Economy of Southern Africa
    • PBPL 828. Formal Analysis: Normative and Empirical Dimension
    • ROME 328. Global Problems and International Organizations
  • Political theory
    • POLS 105. Introduction to Political Philosophy
    • POLS 213. Transitional Justice in Theory and Practice
    • POLS 215. Politics and Film
    • POLS 216. American Political Thought
    • POLS 219. The History of Political Thought [1]
    • POLS 220. The History of Political Thought [2]
    • POLS 321. Concepts in Political Theory
    • POLS 329. Political Philosophy and Ethics
    • POLS 334. The Origins of Western Political Philosophy
    • POLS 337. Democratic Theory
    • POLS 338. Liberalism and Its Critics
    • POLS 339. Contemporary and Postmodern Thought
    • POLS 340. Republicanism Ancient and Modern
    • POLS 359. Feminist Political Theory
    • POLS 370. Theories of Revolution
    • POLS 374. The Political Subject: Agency and Ideology
    • POLS 381. Liberalism, Marxism, and the European Political Tradition
    • POLS 386. Political Trials
    • POLS 387. Publics, Mobs, and Masses: Theorizing Democracy in Times of Globalization
    • POLS 406. Senior Seminar: Why Political Philosophy?
    • POLS 417. Senior Seminar: Theories of Empire
    • PBPL 828. Formal Analysis: Normative and Empirical Dimension
    • PHIL 281. Ancient Philosophy
    • PHIL 284. Late Modern Philosophy
    • PHIL 308. Aristotle
    • PHIL 323. Adorno
    • PHIL 325. Nietzsche
    • PHIL 335. Heidegger
    • PHIL 336. Foucault
    • PHIL 355. Moral Theory and Public Policy
    • PHIL 362. Moral Philosophy
    • WMGS 378. Sexual Orientation and the Law

Study away—Students are encouraged to take advantage of appropriate study-abroad programs, for which the department will grant up to two credits toward the major. Students who study abroad for a full year at approved study-away sites may transfer up to three courses for the major. There is, however, no limit on credits from the Rome program, as it is considered part of the Trinity campus.