Department of Politics
- Alan W. Patten
- Frances E. Lee
Director of Undergraduate Studies
- John Kastellec
Director of Graduate Studies
- Mark R. Beissinger (acting)
- Gary J. Bass
- Mark R. Beissinger
- Charles R. Beitz
- Carles Boix
- Charles M. Cameron
- Brandice Canes-Wrone
- Aaron L. Friedberg
- Paul Frymer
- Robert P. George
- Matias Iaryczower
- G. John Ikenberry
- Amaney A. Jamal
- Atul Kohli
- Melissa Lane
- Frances E. Lee
- John B. Londregan
- Stephen J. Macedo
- Nolan M. 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
- John Kastellec
- Faisal Z. Ahmed
- Renee J. Bolinger
- Gregory A. Conti
- German S. Gieczewski
- Andy Guess
- Gleason Judd
- Patricia A. Kirkland
- Melissa M. Lee
- Zhao Li
- Jonathan F. Mummolo
- Rebecca L. Perlman
- Marc Ratkovic
- LaFleur Stephens-Dougan
- Rory Truex
- Guadalupe Tuñón
- Ali A. Valenzuela
- Omar Wasow
- Andreas B. Wiedemann
- 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
- Dara Z. Strolovitch, Gender & Sexuality Studies Pgm
Lecturer with Rank of Professor
- Allen Carl Guelzo
- Leeann W. Bass
- Marzenna James
- Corrine M. McConnaughy
- Mark A. Belnick
- Mark B. O'Brien
- David R. Oakley
- Russell J. Snell
- Gregory J. Sullivan
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. 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.
Program of Study
By the end of the senior year, all students in the department must complete, in addition to the two prerequisites, eight departmental courses. 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 - P/D/F not allowed. All departmentals factor into the Honors calculation.
Concentrators indicate a prospective primary field when they sign into 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 sub-field 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 sub-field 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, 349, 392, 420, 421, 422, 423
- Comparative Politics: the CP sub-field 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, 384, 386, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 479
- International Relations: the IR sub-field focuses on the study of politics among nations and non-state 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, 389, 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, 451, 452, 453
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, 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 Program in Political Economy, courses taken in the freshman 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 program allowing 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 such programs of study. Individual programs 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 director of undergraduate studies, and their residential college dean using this form.
The Department of Politics offers three tracks that provide more focused guidance to students who wish to address themes that bridge the sub-fields. All students who declare their concentration in Politics are eligible to pursue one of the three tracks. Students should inform the undergraduate program manager of their intention to pursue a track upon declaring the concentration in April of their sophomore year, 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 program 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 program will not appear on the transcript. Concentrators who successfully complete the program’s requirements will receive a departmental attestation on Class Day.]
The Department of Politics, in collaboration with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, offers the program 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 program 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 program 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 program adviser)
- The Legislative Branch: POL 324, 329
- The Constitution and the Courts: POL 314, 315, 316, 320, 326
- American Political, Legal, and Constitutional Thought: SPI 370/POL 308, POL 314, 315, 316, 319, 321, 332 (when approved by the program adviser)
While a student in the program 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 program. 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.
The Department of Politics offers the Program 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 program 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 program, 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 (e.g., not P/D/F). [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 program. Before signing up for the first term of the junior year, the student should work out a tentative course outline for the next two years; this outline must be approved and signed by the PE adviser.
In addition to the PE prerequisites, a student in the PE program is required to complete the following courses, all of which will be counted as departmentals:
- Political Economy: either Political Economy (POL 349) or Comparative Political Economy (POL 352);
- Game Theory in Politics: Mathematical Models in the Study of Politics (POL 347/ECO 347);
- 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 program and for the major, and is used in calculating departmental Honors.
Students in the PE program must also fulfill the 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 program 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.
The program 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: POL 245, 345, 346
Game Theory and Applications: POL 250, 347, 349, 352
While a student in the program 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 program 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.
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 to 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.
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 the 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 department encourages students to consider studying abroad during the Spring semester of junior year. [NOTE: Politics concentrators may not study abroad during the Fall semester of junior year as they need to attend a Junior Workshop and Plenary Precept as part of fulfilling the Fall JIW requirement.] 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 a foreign 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.
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.