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Political Science

Program | Faculty | Courses

The Department of Political Science offers graduate work leading to the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Detailed information on requirements for degrees may be obtained from the Department of Political Science.

The M.A. and Ph.D. programs are intended to prepare students for careers in research, in college or university teaching, or in public ser vice. The department’s view of the discipline of political science is eclectic, based on the assumption that the study of politics is not reducible to any single set of methodological premises through which certainty and comprehensiveness of knowledge can be established. Instead, the department attempts to maintain a broadly based overview of political science, using whatever theories and methods seem likely to provide appropriate responses to the central questions of politics.

M.A. and Ph.D. students are required to do course work in each of three major subdivisions of political science: political theory, American government and politics, and international relations and comparative government. A thesis or analogous evidence of research capacity is required of all M.A. candidates. Ph.D. candidates will be required to complete comprehensive examinations in two fields of concentration prior to undertaking the Ph.D. dissertation. Competency in foreign languages and or quantitative techniques must be demonstrated by all M.A. and Ph.D. candidates.

Committed to cross-field fertilization within the discipline of political science, the Department of Political Science has introduced three research and curricular initiatives in the areas of Global Forces, Governance and Institutions, and Democracy, Participation, and Citizenship. The department believes that often the most interesting and important political questions transcend disciplinary fields and encourages faculty and students to work at these intersections.

The cross-field commitments of the department are reflected in the graduate curriculum. The department is committed to maintaining graduate program excellence in the traditional fields of political science—American national politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public law, and public policy and administration. In addition, the department offers coursework and encourages doctoral students to pursue research questions that cross the domains of two or more fields. Course offerings include broad survey courses of the fields as well as the following cross-field seminars: Comparative Democratization; Collective Action and Political Change; Political Participation; Foundings; Violence and the State; Nationalism; Political Dissent; Language and Politics; Feminist Theory and Politics; Technology, Power, and Governance; International Environmental Politics; Civic Political Engagement; and Democracy and the Public Sphere. In addition, the department has launched cross-field workshops engaging faculty and graduate students in presentations of work in progress in each of the three Initiative areas.

A degree of Master of Public Policy and Administration is offered through the Public Policy and Administration program, described in its own section in this Bulletin.