Department of Politics
- Alan W. Patten
- Kristopher W. Ramsay
Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Markus Prior
Director of Graduate Studies
- Mark R. Beissinger
- Gary J. Bass
- Mark R. Beissinger
- Charles R. Beitz
- Carles Boix
- Charles M. Cameron
- Rafaela M. Dancygier
- Aaron L. Friedberg
- Paul Frymer
- Robert P. George
- Matias Iaryczower
- G. John Ikenberry
- John Kastellec
- Atul Kohli
- Melissa Lane
- Frances E. Lee
- John B. Londregan
- Stephen J. Macedo
- Nolan McCarty
- Tali Mendelberg
- Helen V. Milner
- Andrew Moravcsik
- Layna Mosley
- Jan-Werner Müller
- Alan W. Patten
- Grigore Pop-Eleches
- Markus Prior
- Kristopher W. Ramsay
- Jacob N. Shapiro
- Anna B. Stilz
- Rocío Titiunik
- James Raymond Vreeland
- Leonard Wantchekon
- Ismail K. White
- Keith E. Whittington
- Jennifer A. Widner
- Deborah J. Yashar
- LaFleur Stephens-Dougan
- Faisal Z. Ahmed
- Gregory A. Conti
- German S. Gieczewski
- Tanushree Goyal
- Andy Guess
- Saad A. Gulzar
- Gleason Judd
- Patricia A. Kirkland
- Zhao Li
- Jonathan F. Mummolo
- Elizabeth R. Nugent
- Rebecca L. Perlman
- Marc Ratkovic
- Rory Truex
- Guadalupe Tuñón
- Andreas B. Wiedemann
- Xu Xu
- Christopher L. Eisgruber, President
- Daniel Garber, Philosophy
- Elizabeth L. Paluck, Psychology
- Philip N. Pettit, Center for Human Values
- Kim Lane Scheppele, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
- Michael Smith, Philosophy
- Brandon M. Stewart, Sociology
- Christopher W. Blair
Lecturer with Rank of Professor
- Allen Carl Guelzo
- Thomas Howes
- Nasser Hussain
- Marzenna James
- Mykola Riabchuk
Information and Departmental Plan of Study
Normally, students entering the department must have successfully completed at least two courses offered by the Department of Politics on a graded basis before the end of their sophomore year. The first two courses in politics taken are considered prerequisites. All politics courses, which includes the prerequisites, must be taken for a grade—not Pass/D/Fail. It is strongly recommended that one or both of the prerequisites be at the 200-level. Courses taken as prerequisites will be counted as departmentals.
One freshman seminar may count as a prerequisite if it is taught by a regular faculty member of the Department of Politics and has been approved as a prerequisite by the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) upon declaring the major. In addition, on a case-by-case basis, the DUS will consider counting a course taught by a regular politics faculty in another department that is not cross-listed with politics for departmental credit. If appropriate, such a departmental course may be approved to count toward the 3-2-1 requirement, under the discretion of the DUS.
NOTE: Effective with the Class of 2025, only one of the two prerequisites may be an analytical course (e.g., POL 345). For example: (1) If a student has taken POL 345 and POL 346 as their first two politics courses, a third politics course will be required—one of which must not include a course that counts as meeting the department's analytical requirement (e.g., POL 250, POL 345, POL 347, etc.). OR (2) A student who has taken SOC 245/POL 245 and POL 345 as their first two politics courses will be required to take a third departmental in order to declare the major by the end of sophomore year.
Program of Study
By the end of senior year, all students in the department must complete no fewer than ten departmental courses, of which two may be cognates. The two prerequisites as well as a course that satisfies the analytical requirement are included within the overall count of ten departmentals.
Students must attain an overall average of C or higher in the ten or more graded courses that count as departmentals. All departmentals must be taken on a graded basis—Pass/D/Fail not allowed. All departmentals factor into the honors calculation.
Concentrators indicate a prospective primary field when they sign in to the department in the spring of their sophomore year. Concentrators must take courses in at least three of the fields listed below—a minimum of three courses in their designated primary field, two courses in a secondary field, and one course in a tertiary field. One of three courses in the primary field normally is a 200-level course. Prerequisites may be used to satisfy field requirements. A course taken to satisfy the analytical requirement cannot be used to satisfy a field requirement.
The department's website lists additional courses that will fulfill field requirements in a given year, including one-time-only courses. It also lists topics courses offered by other departments that have POL cross-listings and that therefore can be counted as departmental courses.
- Political Theory: The PT subfield focuses on the nature of justice, democracy, power, and other key ideas, and encourages students to develop frameworks for thinking evaluatively about pressing issues of politics and public policy of the day. POL 210, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, 313, 315, 316, 321, 403, 410, 411, 412, 413, 416
- American Politics: The AP subfield focuses on the U.S. political system and includes the study of the development of the American system of governance, American political institutions, the attitudes and behaviors of U.S. residents, and the relationship between institutions and people. POL 220, 314, 315, 316, 318, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 327, 329, 330, 333, 343, 344, 349, 392, 420, 421, 422, 423
- Comparative Politics: The CP subfield focuses on the similarities and differences in patterns of politics around the world with attention to what happens within states regarding representation, economic development, violence, and effective government. POL 230, 349, 351, 352, 355, 356, 360, 362, 364, 366, 367, 374, 375, 378, 386, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 479
- International Relations: The IR subfield focuses on the study of politics among nations and nonstate actors in world affairs, including subjects such as the causes of war, the role of international law and institutions, economic interdependence, and cooperation to advance common goals for human rights and environmental protection. POL 240, 313, 380, 381, 385, 386, 388, 392, 393, 440, 441, 442, 443
- Methods in Political Science (cannot be the primary field): These courses in formal and quantitative methods provide undergraduate students with analytical tools they can use to conduct rigorous social science research. POL 250, 345, 346, 347, 450
The department maintains a list of politics courses that have an emphasis on methodological tools for research in political science. Concentrators are required to take a course to fulfill the analytical requirement, normally no later than the first term of their junior year. The courses used to fulfill the analytical requirement cannot be used to fulfill primary, secondary, or tertiary field requirements. The analytical requirement may be satisfied by POL 250, POL 341, POL 345, POL 346, or POL 347. We will also accept ANT 300, ANT 301, ANT 302, ECO 202, ECO 302, ECO 312, ORF 245, PHI 201, SOC 404, SPI 200, or SPI 332.
Cognates are courses offered in departments other than politics that have a substantial political content, which is defined as having at least 50% politics content. Unless approved for a special program (see below), students are permitted to count up to two cognates as departmental courses. The department maintains a list of all approved cognates for each student. A cognate must be approved by the last day of classes in the semester in which it is taken (except in spring semester of senior year, when the deadline is the second Friday of classes). With the exception of courses taken outside of politics that satisfy the analytical requirement, or upper-level courses taken in economics to fulfill the requirements of the track in political economy, courses taken in the first year or sophomore year cannot be approved as cognates. Cognate courses should not be at the introductory level. Cognates cannot be used to satisfy field distribution requirements. To seek approval for a cognate, students must complete the politics cognate approval application and email it along with a current syllabus to the cognate approval adviser for their review. Once a cognate has been approved, it may not be rescinded. Approved cognates must be taken for a grade and will be used in the departmental honors calculation.
Students who wish to combine the study of politics with the study of another discipline or a specific geographic area may design a special plan of study that would allow them to count three cognates as departmentals. Politics and religion, politics and psychology, public policy and bioethics, and the politics of the Near East are examples of special plans of study. Individual areas of study must be approved by the department. Normally, a student must submit a written proposal to the cognate approval adviser by the end of the junior year. The proposal should demonstrate how the three cognates relate to one another and form a coherent interdisciplinary program.
Well-prepared undergraduates may take graduate seminars for full university and departmental credit. To enroll in a graduate seminar, the student must first obtain the signature approval of the instructor in charge, the DUS, and their residential college dean using this form.
The Department of Politics offers four tracks that provide more focused guidance to students who wish to address themes that bridge the subfields. Only students who declare their concentration in politics are eligible to pursue these tracks. Students should inform the undergraduate program manager of their intention to pursue a track during the sophomore declaration period, and no later than February 1 of their junior year. Students who select a track will still need to fulfill the requirements of a politics concentrator. The tracks provide additional guidance for structuring the program of study as a politics concentrator, but students are not required to select a track to graduate with a degree in politics. Courses may simultaneously fulfill both the track requirements and the politics concentration requirements. All courses taken to satisfy a track must be a on a graded basis and will factor into the honors calculation. [Please note: The degree will read A.B. in politics and, unlike university certificates, the departmental track will not appear on the transcript. Concentrators who successfully complete the track’s requirements will receive a departmental attestation on Class Day.]
Track in American Ideas and Institutions
The Department of Politics, in collaboration with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, offers the track in American ideas and institutions (AIIP) for students who wish to further and demonstrate their understandings of the three branches of the federal government and the values, ideas, and theories that underlie them and are animated by their workings. It draws together a menu of courses from American politics, political theory, public law, and other departmental offerings.
A student in the track is required to complete five courses, one in each of the four topics listed below, as well as one more additionally chosen from any one of the areas. No individual course number may be counted for more than one track requirement (even if, as in the case of POL 332 for example, the course may be taken by a student more than once as the topic changes annually).
- The Executive Branch: POL 325, 330, 332 (when approved by the track adviser)
- The Legislative Branch: POL 324, 329
- The Constitution and the Courts: POL 314, 315, 316, 318, 320, 326, 339
- American Political, Legal, and Constitutional Thought: SPI 370/POL 308, POL 314, 315, 316, 321, 332 (when approved by the track adviser), 488
While a student in the track must write a thesis on a topic related to the student's primary field, the thesis must also incorporate significant content related to themes in one or more of the topic areas of the track. The student should meet with the AIIP adviser during the fall semester of senior year to confirm the suitability of their thesis topic. On or before the thesis draft deadline, the appropriate content of the thesis must be certified by the AIIP adviser.
Track in Political Economy
The Department of Politics offers the track in political economy (PE) for students who wish to further their understanding of social phenomena and individual behavior by combining the perspectives of its two constituent disciplines. The track allows and encourages students to use analytical tools from game theory, microeconomics, and statistics to study political behavior, and to incorporate a thorough analysis of politics and collective decision-making into economic analysis.
To participate in this track, students must complete two politics courses and ECO 100 and ECO 101, and MAT 103 (or higher level) before the end of their sophomore year. All five of these courses should be taken on a graded basis (i.e., not Pass/D/Fail). [Under special circumstances, students can apply for exceptions or deferrals of these prerequisites. These requests will be considered by the PE adviser.]
It is important for each student to select a combination of economics and politics courses that form a coherent and meaningful track. Before signing up for the first term of junior year, the student should work out a tentative course outline for the next two years; this outline must be approved by the PE adviser.
In addition to the PE prerequisites, a student in the PE track is required to complete the following courses, all of which will be counted as departmentals:
- Political Economy: either Political Economy (POL 349), Comparative Political Economy for Policy Making (SPI 329/POL 350),* or Comparative Political Economy (POL 352)* [*NOTE: Students may either take SPI 329/POL 350 or POL 352—not both.]
- Game Theory in Politics: Game Theory in Politics (POL 347/ECO 347); [NOTE: This required course was formerly listed as "Mathematical Models in the Study of Politics."]
- Quantitative Methods: POL 345/SOC 305/SPI 211, POL 346, ECO 202, ECO 302, or ECO 312.
- Microeconomics: One of the following Intermediate Microeconomics courses: ECO 300, ECO 310, or SPI 300.
- Macroeconomics/Topics: One of the following courses: Intermediate Macroeconomics (ECO 301, ECO 311), International Trade (SPI 301/ECO 352), International Development (SPI 302/ECO 359), Public Economics (SPI 307/ECO 349).
Together with five additional courses in the politics department (possibly including POL courses counted as prerequisites), this ten-course combination fulfills the requirements both for the PE track and for the major, and is used in calculating departmental honors.
Students in the PE track must also fulfill the 3-2-1 distribution requirement of the department, however, the quantitative methods course will satisfy the politics department's analytical requirement, while POL 347/ECO 347 can serve as a course in a third field.
While a student in the track must write a thesis on a topic related to the student's primary field, the thesis must also incorporate significant PE content. On or before the thesis draft deadline, the PE content of the thesis must be certified by the PE adviser. The student should meet with the PE adviser well in advance of this deadline to discuss the PE content of the thesis.
Track in Quantitative and Analytical Political Science
The track in quantitative and analytical political science (QAPS) is designed for students who wish to deepen their understanding of quantitative and analytical methods to study key questions in political science.
- MAT 175 (or its equivalent EGR 192, MAT 201, MAT 203)
In addition to the prerequisite, students must complete four courses among those listed below along with six other departmental courses. Of the following six courses, students must take four with at least one being in quantitative analysis as well as at least one from the game theory and applications category.
Quantitative Analysis: SOC 245/POL 245, 345, 346
Game Theory and Applications: POL 250, 347, 349, SPI 329/POL 350*, 352*. [*NOTE: Students may either take SPI 329/POL 350 or POL 352—not both.]
While a student in the track must write a thesis on a topic related to the student's primary field, the thesis must also incorporate quantitative and/or analytics methods at a level similar or superior to the material covered in the track requirements. The student should meet with the QAPS adviser during the fall semester of senior year to confirm the suitability of their thesis research design. On or before the thesis draft deadline, the appropriate content of the thesis must be certified by the QAPS adviser.
Track in Race and Identity
The Department of Politics offers the track in race and identity (RI) for politics concentrators seeking a deeper understanding of the politics of race and identity. Completion of the track attests to a student having successfully taken a range of courses examining the role of race and identity in politics. The track offers courses dealing with moral, ethical, and legal issues relating to race and identity in the United States and around the world, such as hate speech, discrimination, and civil rights. The track also encompasses courses in international relations and comparative politics focusing on human rights, ethnic conflict, and social movements.
This track is suitable for students interested in all politics subfields, including political theory, American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political economy, and methods. Currently, the widest array of courses in the track is available in the subfield of American politics. As with other department tracks, students enrolled in the RI track must still fulfill other requirements for politics concentrators, including the 3-2-1 distribution requirement (a primary field, a secondary field, and a tertiary field). A single course can simultaneously satisfy a distribution requirement and count toward the track.
The track in race and identity has the following course requirements:
- Core Course. All students in the track must take POL 344/AAS 344 (Race and Politics in the United States).
- Other Courses. Students must complete three other courses dealing with themes of race and identity, in addition to the core course and the six other departmental courses required for the politics concentration. A menu of courses that can be taken toward completion of the RI track is provided below. [New departmental courses that meet the requirements for this track will be added to the track, as applicable.]
- POL 316 Civil Liberties
- POL 339 The Politics of Crime and Punishment
- SPI 331/SOC 312/AFS 317POL 343 Race and Public Policy
- POL 356 Comparative Ethnic Conflict
- POL 360 Social Movements and Revolutions
- POL 380 Human Rights
- POL 386 Violent Politics
- POL 405/CHV 406 The Ethics of Borders and Migration
- POL 417/CHV 417 Colonialism and Historic Injustice
- POL 422/GSS 422 Gender and American Politics
- SPI 337/POL 424 Black Politics and Public Policy in the U.S.
- POL 477/CHV 477/JRN 477 Expressive Rights and Wrongs: Speech, Offense, and Commemoration
NOTE: The department will consider requests for other courses to apply toward the track on a case-by-case basis with a caveat that students may seek approval for only one nonpolitics course to count as satisfying a requirement for the track. To seek such approval, students must complete the cognate approval application and send a current syllabus to the cognate approval adviser along with the RI track adviser for review, no later than the last day of classes within the semester that the course is offered during junior and senior years. The only exception is during the spring semester of senior year, when the cognate application deadline is the second Friday of classes.
Students in the track must write a senior thesis that incorporates themes relating to race and identity. Students should meet with the RI track adviser during the fall semester of their senior year to confirm the suitability of their thesis topic for the track. On or before the thesis draft deadline, the suitability of the thesis must be certified by the RI track adviser.
Students are required to complete two semesters of junior independent work (JIW).
In the fall semester, all politics juniors are required to attend their assigned junior workshop, view online plenary session video modules, and attend plenary discussion sections. [NOTE: Junior workshops are not considered courses and do not count toward satisfying departmental course requirements.] The plenary component introduces students to the basics of sound research design. In the small group meetings, juniors develop a research prospectus under the supervision of a workshop leader. The grade for the fall JIW requirement is based on participation in plenary and small group components and a series of assignments, including the research prospectus, according to the following schema:
- Completion of plenary assignments (30%)
- Workshop participation, including completion of preliminary assignments as determined and assigned by workshop instructor (30%)
- Final research prospectus (40%)
A passing fall JIW grade requires the submission of all graded components (e.g., workshop, plenary, research prospectus). If the research prospectus is not completed by the department due date, a failing fall JIW grade will be reported to the Registrar's Office without averaging the workshop and plenary components. A student who receives an F will have the opportunity to submit a research prospectus with a new deadline determined by the department in conjunction with the student's residential college dean. Once the student receives a passing grade on the research prospectus, a second grade (which averages all three graded components) will be submitted to the Registrar's Office. Both grades will remain on the transcript.
In the spring semester, juniors will complete a junior paper (JP) under the supervision of an independent work adviser. A JP written in the Department of Politics is normally an essay of 20–35 double-spaced pages that is clearly focused on one—or a few related—political questions, problems, or issues. JP's are supposed to define a significant political question or problem and to answer it through a process of systematic research which may, depending on the nature of the topic selected, involve reading primary and secondary literature or original documents, interviewing, or compiling and analyzing statistical data.
The spring JP may expand upon ideas that were explored in a student's fall prospectus. A student may draw on and cite their own prospectus just like they would use other resources. In addition, a student may re-use a limited portion of their prospective in the spring JP, including the literature review. Whenever material from the prospectus is re-used, a student must add a footnote noting the duplication. Note: This policy does not affect the standard University guidelines for attributing ideas and research findings, whenever appropriate.
Students must achieve at least a D on each of their two semesters of junior independent work as well as an average of a C or above across the two. If the average of the two is below C or one of the two receives an F, a second JP is required (with a grade that brings the average of the fall JIW and the summer JP grades to at least a C or better). This is a prerequisite for beginning senior year. For purposes of this requirement, the grades before the application of any late penalties are used.
During the senior year, each student writes a thesis, an essay generally about 100 double-spaced pages and rarely under 80 pages. The senior thesis normally is written on a topic within a student's primary field. The senior thesis is expected to make an original (or otherwise distinctive) contribution to broader knowledge in the field in which the student is working, and it is important that the thesis be situated explicitly in relation to existing published literature. The department encourages students to use the summer between junior and senior year for work on the senior thesis.
The senior thesis may expand upon ideas that were explored in a student's JP. A student may draw on and cite their own JP just as they would use other resources. In addition, a student may re-use a limited portion of their JP in the senior thesis; for instance, the literature review could be re-used across the two. Whenever material from the JP is re-used, a student must add a footnote noting the duplication across the JP or senior thesis. Note: This policy does not affect the standard University guidelines for attributing ideas and research findings, whenever appropriate. The same policy holds with respect to incorporating the fall junior research prospectus into either the spring JP or senior thesis.
The department encourages students to consider studying abroad during the spring semester of junior year. If, under a program approved in advance by the Office of International Programs, a politics concentrator studies abroad during the spring semester of junior year, the department will credit as departmentals as many as two courses in political science or related fields when they are taken at an overseas university. Normally, the department is willing to substitute no more than one cognate and one departmental or two cognates for concentrators studying abroad for one semester. In the spring, students who study abroad will write a JP under the supervision of a politics faculty member who will advise them remotely.
Note: Effective with the politics Class of 2024, the department will allow students to study abroad during the fall semester of junior year—beginning in the fall 2022—pending University travel approval. Regarding the completion of the fall JIW requirement, the department will assign study abroad students to a regularly scheduled junior workshop (and the corresponding plenary precept) of their choosing; students abroad must participate in these weekly group meetings via Zoom. Study abroad students must also schedule remote advising appointments with their junior workshop instructor throughout the semester.
If a student is approved to study abroad during both the fall and spring semesters of junior year, the department will allow up to four politics-related study abroad courses to count for departmental credit—two for each semester, with one counting toward a field distribution and the other as a cognate.
Students may study abroad in the fall semester of senior year provided that they have the preapproval of both the Office of International Programs and the study abroad adviser. Interested juniors must secure a senior thesis adviser and confirm this arrangement with the department no later than the last day of spring term classes. The department will allow up to four study abroad politics courses to count in the event a student wants to study abroad in the spring of junior year and then again in the fall of senior year—two for each semester abroad.
Prospective concentrators who wish to study abroad during sophomore year that intend to declare politics as a major should receive preapproval for departmental course credit from the study abroad adviser. The department will accept up to two politics-related study abroad courses from sophomore year which can be applied toward the major, one of which can count as a politics prerequisite. [This rule suggests that one of the prerequisites must be a politics course that was taken at Princeton no later than the end of sophomore year.]
Senior Thesis Poster Session
Seniors are required to prepare and present a professional poster describing their senior thesis research in lieu of taking a senior comprehensive exam.