Division of Social Studies

The Politics Program is designed to assist students in developing the arts of deliberation and judgment by which they may understand more fully and participate more effectively in public affairs. Analytical reasoning, effective writing, and proficiency in basic research techniques are skills cultivated and used throughout the program.

Special attention is given to the use of language since facility in this art is the best means by which to cut through the ideological and partisan jargon that surrounds and camouflages so much discussion of politics. Sensitivity to the nuances of language and skill in identifying common fallacies and cleverly used rhetoric are required for the study of politics.

Emphasis is placed not so much on the changing details of current events, but on the philosophical, historical, and institutional nature of the persistent problems that current issues illustrate. Students can anticipate a rigorous inquiry into political philosophy, American government, comparative government, and international relations. Attention is given to both empirical and normative aspects of these subjects. Primary texts and public documents are extensively used. Majors in our program are urged to undertake study in related disciplines, particularly in economics, history, philosophy, statistics, and languages.

Students are offered a diversity of non-classroom learning experiences. The Politics Program encourages independent study, internships, and participation in off-campus academic programs. The perspectives and skills acquired by students in politics classes will serve them in a wide range of career fields, including public service, law, politics, business, and journalism.


Christopher Paskewich (chair), Dina Badie, Robert Bosco, Lori Hartmann, Benjamin Knoll, Jennapher Lunde Seefeldt, Daniel Stroup

Student Representatives

Recommended First-Year/Sophomore Preparation

Students considering a major in politics should try to satisfy as many graduation and major requirements as possible in their first two years. Elective courses in politics, history, and economics are recommended. In addition, courses in foreign language and mathematics, especially statistics, are useful.

Politics Courses

Course Descriptions