All Programs


Major in Politics


This program requires completion of forty (40) credits in Politics, as follows:

Required courses (16 credits):
  • POLS - 101 Introduction to American Politics
  • POLS - 102 Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • POLS - 113 Introduction to International Politics
  • POLS - 203 Introduction to Political Theory

Note: Students must achieve a C (2.0) in each introductory course (101, 102, 113, 203) to graduate with a major degree in Politics.

Twenty-four (24) credits in Politics Department electives.


In selecting Politics electives, students are encouraged to include at least one undergraduate seminar, especially those students planning graduate studies later. Students can stress courses in one of our subfields, including American politics, political theory, comparative politics, international politics, or public administration/public policy. Or, students can enroll in one of our special programs, leading to a Minor in Legal Studies, Criminal Justice Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, Public Service, and European Studies.

Subfields in Politics

Courses in American Politics
  • POLS - 101 Introduction to American Politics
  • POLS - 316 Law, Politics and the National Pastime
  • POLS - 317 Religion and Politics
  • POLS - 320 Urban Politics
  • POLS - 321 The American Presidency
  • POLS - 322 Politics of American Justice
  • POLS - 323 Lawmaking
  • POLS - 324 African-American Politics
  • POLS - 326 Politics and the Media
  • POLS - 327 American Reformers and Revolutionaries
  • POLS - 328 Politics of the '60s in America
  • POLS - 329 Women and American Politics
  • POLS - 330 Crime, Law and the Constitution
  • POLS - 335 Political Power and Constitutional Law
  • POLS - 336 Race, Equality and the Law
  • POLS - 337 Women and the Law
  • POLS - 339 Free Expression and the Constitution
Courses in Political Theory
  • POLS - 203 Introduction to Political Theory
  • POLS - 305 Critical Race Theory
  • POLS - 307 The Socialist Tradition
  • POLS - 308 Literature and Political Thought
  • POLS - 314 Theories of Citizenship and Globalization
  • POLS - 319 From Baroque to the Enlightenment
  • POLS - 332 Theories of Decolonization
  • POLS - 334 Feminist Political Theory
  • POLS - 341 Nonviolence in Theory and Practice
Courses in Comparative Politics
  • POLS - 102 Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • POLS - 331 Latin American Politics
  • POLS - 340 Politics and Change in Russia/Neighboring States
  • POLS - 342 Politics and Society in Europe
  • POLS - 343 Politics and Change in East-Central Europe
  • POLS - 344 Revolution and Reaction in Latin America
  • POLS - 346 Government & Politics of India & Southeast Asia
  • POLS - 347 Government and Politics of China and East Asia
  • POLS - 348 Politics and Development in Africa
  • POLS - 349 Government and Politics of the Middle East
  • POLS - 450 Political Economy of Developing Nations
Courses in International Relations
  • POLS - 113 Introduction to International Politics
  • POLS - 300 The World Since 1945
  • POLS - 345 Global Economic Justice
  • POLS - 350 International Law and Organizations
  • POLS - 351 Global Conflict Resolution
  • POLS - 352 Human Rights and Global Change
  • POLS - 353 Politics of War and Peace
  • POLS - 354 International Relations of the Middle East
  • POLS - 355 U.S. Foreign Policy
  • POLS - 356 The Vatican in Global Politics
  • POLS - 357 The Integration of Europe
  • POLS - 358 International Relations of India and Southeast Asia
  • POLS - 359 International Politics of the Asia Pacific Rim
  • POLS - 360 International Environmental Politics
  • POLS - 432 The Politics of Ethnicity and Nationalism
Courses in Public Administration/Public Policy
  • POLS - 361 Bureaucratic Politics
  • POLS - 362 Public Policy
  • POLS - 363 Housing and Homeless Policy
  • POLS - 364 California Politics
  • POLS - 365 Applied Policy Analysis
  • POLS - 366 Environmental Policy
  • POLS - 367 Public Policy: Drug Policy
  • POLS - 368 Public Policy: Punishment
  • POLS - 396 Public Administration Internship
Special Courses:
  • POLS - 392 Special Subjects in Politics
  • POLS - 397 Fieldwork in Public Interest Organizations
  • POLS - 398 Directed Study
  • POLS - 399 Directed Research
  • POLS - 490 Undergraduate Seminar
  • POLS - 495 Senior Politics Honors Seminar

Senior Honors Thesis and Seminar

For those who have most excelled in their Politics courses, the Department offers, on a competitive basis, the option of enrolling in a Senior Politics Honors Seminar. Eligible students must have at least a 3.2 GPA in their Politics courses by the end of their Junior year. Interested students will compete for admission into the Seminar, which is offered every Fall semester. The Seminar will be taught on a rotating basis by various Department faculty, and on varying themes, such as service, justice, participation, utopia, development, and so forth. Students will be immersed in the literature on one of these themes. They will be taught how to construct and carry out a major research project, and they will write a Senior Honors Thesis as a result of their research. Application forms for the Seminar will be available from the Department Chair or office every Spring semester. Course may be used to satisfy required elective for politics major.

Learning Goals/Outcomes for the B.A. in Politics

    • Develop skills in critical thinking, modes of analysis and research that will last long after students have forgotten the details of our courses.
    • Be able to question the conventional wisdom, to peek below the surface of traditional explanations, to challenge superficial political analyses, to understand and evaluate the performance of public institutions.
    • Develop more sophisticated means of self-expression, both oral and written.
    • Gain a sense of civic responsibility for fulfilling the obligations of citizenship, understanding the many issues which they must consider in a participatory governmental framework such as the United States.
    • Develop an active public spirit, to balance individual growth with a concern for the community--both the local community and the global community.
    • Understand the vital role which the U.S. Constitution and other laws have in maintaining the national and federal system of the United States.
    • Experience first-hand the relationship between theory and practice through service learning opportunities.
    • Development of research skills: ability to design and carry out research projects. Introducing students to various methodologies in the field--ranging from quantitative to qualitative, from radical perspectives to rational choice perspectives.
    • Learn and appreciate both government and politics; that is, formal institutions and processes and also the dynamics of the power and politics that run the U.S. system both inside and outside government structures.
    • Become familiar with a core of knowledge about politics domestically and internationally, to know about global and transnational relations and about the politics of the U.S. and how they differ from other nations in regions such as the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific.
    • Learn and appreciate the formation and implementation of public policy and the great political ideas and thinkers - including theorists drawn from various races, genders and nationalities.
    • Understand politics more broadly, in its relationship with other disciplines such as history, economics, sociology and other fields.
    • Learn to be concerned about issues of peace, economic development and human rights at home and abroad, to promote democratic values, to apply social science knowledge to contemporary social problems, including ways to improve the human condition and promote justice.