Contacts | Program of Study | Program Requirements | Summary of Requirements: The Long Paper Path | Summary of Requirements: The BA Thesis Path | Courses Outside Political Science That Will Be Approved | Courses
Department Website: http://political-science.uchicago.edu
Program of Study
Political science is the study of governments, public policies, political processes and behavior, and ideas about politics. Political scientists use both humanistic and scientific perspectives and a variety of methodological approaches to examine the political dynamics of all countries and regions of the world, both ancient and modern. Political science contributes to a liberal education by introducing students to concepts, methods, and knowledge that help them understand and judge politics within and among nations. A BA degree in political science can lead to a career in business, government, journalism, education, or nonprofit organizations; or it can lead to a PhD program in the social sciences or to professional school in law, business, public policy, or international relations. Our graduates have gone into all those areas in recent years.
NOTE: Several requirements for the major have been modified and are in effect for the graduating Class of 2016. Students who matriculated prior to Autumn 2012 should consult the College Catalog archives for the requirements that pertain to them.
The department requires twelve political science courses. Students who write a thesis must take ten courses, plus two required courses: PLSC 29800 BA Colloquium and PLSC 29900 BA Thesis Supervision. Students not writing a thesis must take twelve courses and write a Long Paper. The BA Thesis and Long Paper paths are explained below.
Subfield Distribution Requirement
To gain a broad understanding of political science, the department thinks students should take a wide range of courses. To ensure that breadth, students are required to take at least three of the following four courses:
PLSC 28701 Introduction to Political Theory
PLSC 28801 Introduction to American Politics
PLSC 28901 Introduction to Comparative Politics
PLSC 29000 Introduction to International Relations
Each course will be offered every year, introducing students to the four principal areas of study in political science. (This is a new requirement for the graduating Class of 2016 and replaces an older distributional requirement.)
Research Methods Requirement
To prepare students to evaluate the materials in their classes and to write research papers, students are required to take the department's research methods course, which will be offered every quarter:
PLSC 22913 The Practice of Social Science Research
(This is a new requirement for the graduating Class of 2016.)
The department strongly recommends, but does not require, a course in statistics. Relevant statistics and mathematics courses will be approved as petition courses counting toward the major.
Writing Requirement: Two Options
Students who are majoring in political science must write at least one substantial paper. There are two paths to meeting this requirement: the Long Paper Path or the BA Thesis Path.
The Long Paper Path. Students who do not wish to write a BA thesis must submit an approval form to the departmental office signed by an instructor who verifies that their paper meets the following guidelines:
- The paper must be twenty pages or longer, double spaced (that is, approximately 5,000 words or longer).
- The paper must receive a grade of B or better; a grade of B- or below does not meet the requirement.
Additional Information about the Long Paper:
- The paper can be written for either a professor in political science, a professor in another department whose courses are accepted for political science credit, or for an advanced graduate student who teaches courses in the political science department.
- The paper may be written for a variety of courses:
- It may be written as a class paper for any course used to meet the major's requirements, whether it is a political science course or an approved course from another department such as history or sociology.
- It may be an extended version of a shorter paper written for such a course. If a shorter paper is required for the course, students may ask the instructor for permission to write a twenty-page paper instead.
- It may be written for a course that did not require any papers. Students may ask the instructor for permission to write a twenty-page paper, either as an extra assignment or as an ungraded assignment.
- It may be written as a special, non-class assignment for a political science instructor after a course is completed. The student could either produce an entirely new paper or, with the instructor's permission, take a shorter assignment and turn it into a longer paper.
- If the paper is not a graded assignment for class, it still meets the department's requirement if the instructor attests that it merits a grade of B or better.
- Unless the paper is written for a graded class assignment, students must ask the instructor's permission to submit any such paper.
Students are responsible for obtaining an approval form to verify the successful completion of this requirement from the departmental office and giving it to the relevant instructor. Please ask the instructor to sign the approval form and return it to the departmental office. The deadline for submitting the approval form and the paper is 4 p.m. on Friday of the second week of the quarter in which the student expects to graduate. NOTE: Students complete their paper before their final quarter; the approval form should be submitted to the departmental office as soon as the writing requirement is completed.
The BA Thesis Path. Writing a BA thesis will meet the writing requirement in political science and may also qualify a student for consideration for honors; see sections below for more information. In either case, the paper is typically from thirty-five to fifty pages in length (the length of most scholarly articles in professional journals). It must receive a grade of B or higher. Students choose a suitable faculty member to supervise the writing and research process. The deadline for submitting two copies of a BA thesis to the departmental office is 4 p.m. on Friday of the fourth week of the quarter in which the student expects to graduate.
Summary of Requirements: The Long Paper Path
|Three of the following Political Science courses:||300|
|Introduction to Political Theory|
|Introduction to American Politics|
|Introduction to Comparative Politics|
|Introduction to International Relations|
|PLSC 22913||The Practice of Social Science Research||100|
|Eight additional Political Science courses *||800|
|Fulfillment of the writing requirement||000|
Up to four of these courses may be "petition courses," taken outside the department. The process for approving these courses is described below. PLSC 29800 BA Colloquium and PLSC 29900 BA Thesis Supervision may not be used to meet this requirement.
Summary of Requirements: The BA Thesis Path
|Three of the following Political Science courses:||300|
|Introduction to Political Theory|
|Introduction to American Politics|
|Introduction to Comparative Politics|
|Introduction to International Relations|
|PLSC 22913||The Practice of Social Science Research||100|
|Six additional Political Science courses *||600|
|PLSC 29800||BA Colloquium||100|
|PLSC 29900||BA Thesis Supervision||100|
Up to four of these courses may be "petition courses," taken outside the department. The process for approving these courses is described below.
It is possible for students with extensive course work in political science to pursue more specialized topics that are not covered by regular courses. They have the option of registering for PLSC 29700 Independent Study, to be taken individually and supervised by a member of the political science faculty. Students must obtain prior consent of the program chair and the instructor, as well as submit the College Reading and Research Course Form that is available from their College adviser. The substance of the Independent Study may not be related to the BA thesis or BA research, which is covered by PLSC 29900 BA Thesis Supervision. NOTE: Only one PLSC 29700 Independent Study course may count toward requirements for the major.
During the Winter Quarter of their third year, students considering a major in political science will have the opportunity to attend a meeting organized by the program chair that will introduce the political science program, provide information about requirements, and answer questions. The time and place of this general meeting will be announced via email. To receive this announcement and other information about the Department of Political Science, students should sign up for the undergraduate email list either in the departmental office or at https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/ugpolsall.
The BA Colloquium
Students who choose to write a BA thesis are required to enroll in PLSC 29800 BA Colloquium in the Spring Quarter of the third year and continue to attend the BA Colloquium in the Autumn Quarter of their fourth year. The colloquium is designed to help students carry out their BA thesis research and to offer feedback on their progress. Although the course meets over two quarters, it counts as a single course and has a single grade. The final grade for the colloquium is based on the student's contribution to the colloquium during both quarters. NOTE: Registration for PLSC 29800 BA Colloquium is normally in the Spring Quarter, but in some rare cases, students will register in the Autumn Quarter.
Study Abroad and the BA Colloquium
A few students each year study abroad in the Spring Quarter of third year or in the Autumn Quarter of the fourth year and also intend to complete the Political Science major by writing a BA thesis. According to the department's requirements, students who intend to prepare a BA thesis must enroll in the BA Colloquium (PLSC 29800 BA Colloquium). The department expects that most students will participate in both quarters of the Colloquium, Spring and Autumn, enrolling for credit in only one of the two quarters, usually the Spring Quarter. Students who study abroad in the Autumn Quarter must enroll in the BA Colloquium in the previous Spring Quarter, but are not required to participate in the Autumn Quarter. Students who study abroad in the Spring Quarter are not required to enroll in the BA Colloquium in the Spring Quarter, but are expected to enroll and participate in the BA Colloquium in the Autumn Quarter.
All students who intend to write a BA thesis must submit a proposal for the thesis by the end of Spring Quarter, regardless of residency. Students who are away from campus in the Spring Quarter should line up an advisor and discuss ideas about a thesis topic while they are abroad, or even during the Winter Quarter before departure. The department has moved up the entire process by a quarter so that students arrive back on campus for senior year ready to execute the research for the thesis in the Autumn Quarter, rather than compressing research and writing both into the Winter Quarter.
The main purpose of the Spring Quarter BA Colloquium is to assist in writing of the BA thesis proposal that is due at the end of the quarter. The BA Colloquium meets weekly in the Spring to help students find a topic, frame a research question, develop hypotheses or initial arguments to be explored in the research, and develop an appropriate design for the research. The BA Colloquium employs a text, The Craft of Research by Booth, Colomb, and Williams, which we recommend that students consult as they develop their proposals, even if they are abroad in the Spring Quarter. The preceptors will also post their course plans and assignments on Chalk.
BA Thesis Supervision
During their fourth year, students who choose to write a BA thesis must register with their BA thesis faculty adviser for one quarter of PLSC 29900 BA Thesis Supervision. Students may also elect to take a second quarter of PLSC 29900 BA Thesis Supervision, which will count toward the 12 required courses. To enroll, students are required to submit the College Course Reading and Research Form, which is available from the College advisers. The final grade for the course will be based on the grade given the BA thesis by the faculty adviser.
NOTE: Thesis advisers can be chosen from different departments. Although most BA theses are supervised by Political Science professors, the faculty adviser need not be a member of the department. Depending on the student's topic, the adviser may be chosen from another department, such as History, Sociology, Anthropology, Classics, or Philosophy. To qualify for honors, however, the final paper must meet the Political Science department's criteria.
Students who plan to double major may complete the political science requirements by either the BA Thesis Path or the Long Paper Path. Students who write the BA thesis must attend the political science BA Colloquium even if the other major requires attendance at its colloquium.
A request to use a single BA thesis for two majors requires the approval of both program chairs on a form available from the student's College adviser. Students should consult with the departments by the earliest BA proposal deadline (or by the end of their third year, if neither program publishes a deadline). A consent form, to be signed by both departments, is available from College advisers or at college.uchicago.edu/policies-regulations/forms-and-petitions. It must be completed and returned to the College adviser by the end of Autumn Quarter of the student's year of graduation. To be considered for honors in political science, however, the thesis must be evaluated by the faculty adviser and preceptor using the criteria specified in the Honors section below. Students can meet the writing requirement in the Long Paper Path with a paper written for another department, but they must also meet the requirement that they complete twelve courses in political science.
Courses that meet requirements for the major are normally taken for quality grades. However, students may take up to two courses on a P/F basis if they receive prior consent from the instructor.
Students who have done exceptionally well in their course work and who write an outstanding BA thesis are recommended for honors. A student is eligible for honors if the GPA in the major is 3.6 or higher and the overall GPA is 3.0 or higher at the beginning of the quarter in which the student intends to graduate. Students who wish to be considered for honors are required to register for PLSC 29800 BA Colloquium and PLSC 29900 BA Thesis Supervision and to submit a BA thesis. To graduate with department honors, then, a student must have both honors-level grades and a BA thesis that receives honors.
Courses Taken in Other Departments at the University ("Petition Courses")
Courses taken in other departments that count toward the political science major are termed "petition courses." Students may count up to four petition courses toward the political science course requirement.
Students may choose from the list of pre-approved courses at the end of this section without submitting any forms. (Those courses still count as "petition courses.") For updates to this list, visit the departmental office or the department's website at political-science.uchicago.edu. The department also maintains a list of courses that students routinely ask about that have been denied for petition credit.
Besides the pre-approved courses, other courses in the University may be approved as "petition courses" on a case-by-case basis. Such courses must have political science content and must deploy methodology relevant to the study of political science. Students must submit the General Petition form to the chair of the undergraduate major, presenting a clear, complete statement of the student's request and the reasons for the request. That is normally a one-paragraph statement about the course's content. The petition must include the name of the course instructor, the course title, and the course number. If possible, the course syllabus should be attached to the petition. Students may submit petitions soon after completing a course, but, because not all petitions are approved, it is preferable to obtain prior consent. The department will not consider petitions submitted after the second week of the quarter in which the student intends to graduate. For more information, visit college.uchicago.edu/policies-regulations/forms-and-petitions.
Students who have completed multiple pre-approved courses may count only four of them toward the department's course requirement. They may, however, choose which approved courses to count for purposes of calculating their GPA within the major.
Students who have spent one full academic year outside the University of Chicago will be allowed to count five "petition courses," instead of four, toward the major's requirement.
Courses Taken at Other Universities by Students Who Transfer to the University of Chicago
Students transferring from other institutions who wish to apply credit to their political science major for course work taken at another institution should petition the program chair shortly after matriculation. The General Petition form should include a complete description of the course and professor; and, if possible, a course syllabus should be attached to the petition. If the petition is approved, up to four courses outside the department may be counted toward a political science major. The department will not consider petitions submitted after the second week of the quarter in which the student intends to graduate.
The chair of the undergraduate major can approve courses from other institutions only if they have also been approved to count toward a University of Chicago degree. That University-level approval is handled by the Office of the Dean of Students in the College.
NOTE: A one-semester course at another institution that grants at least three semester hours equals one course in the major at the University of Chicago. A two-semester course at another institution equals three courses in the major here.
Courses Taken at Other Universities by Students Enrolled at the University of Chicago
Students registered at the University of Chicago who wish to receive credit for courses taken at other institutions must receive approval. Students may submit the General Petition form soon after completing a course, but, because not all petitions are approved, it is preferable to obtain prior consent. The department will not consider petitions submitted after the second week of the quarter in which the student intends to graduate. Credit will be granted only for courses that meet departmental standards, whether they are taken at institutions within the United States or abroad.
University students who wish to receive credit for courses taken abroad should petition the program chair within one quarter of their return. NOTE: The Office of the Dean of Students in the College must also approve the transfer of all courses taken at institutions other than those in which students are enrolled as part of a study abroad program that is sponsored by the University of Chicago. The department can approve courses only if they have also been approved by the Dean of Students Office. For more information, visit college.uchicago.edu/advising/transfer-credit.
Courses Outside Political Science That Will Be Approved
Students may draw on the following courses to count toward political science courses required for the program. Some courses may not be offered every year, and other courses will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For updates, visit political-science.uchicago.edu or the departmental office. Please note that students may choose from this pre-approved list without submitting a petition; any of these courses will automatically count as one of the four courses outside the Department of Political Science that may be used for the major.
ANTH 21254 Pirates (C)
ANTH 21264 Political Struggles of Highland Asia (C)
ANTH 21316 Modern Readings in Anthropology: Militarization (C)
ANTH 21318 Language, Politics, and Identity (C)
ANTH 22000 The Anthropology of Development (C)
ANTH 22205 Slavery and Unfree Labor (C)
ANTH 22715 Weber, Bakhtin, Benjamin (A)
ANTH 25235 NGOs and Humanitarian Subjects (C)
ANTH 29715 The Politics of Ethnicity in Burma (C)
BPRO 22400 The Ugly American Comes Home (B)
BPRO 28100 What Is Enlightenment? (A)
BPRO 29000 Energy and Energy Policy (B)
EALC 22501 Political and Intellectual History of China, A.D. 100-700 (C)
EALC 22630 Democratization of South Korea in Literature and Visual Drama (C)
EALC 25001 Change, Conflict, and Resistance in Twentieth-Century China (C)
EALC 27605 Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Beyond (C)
ECON 20710 Game Theory: A Formal Approach (A)
ECON 20740 Analysis of Collective Decision-Making (A)
ECON 22300 Business Ethics in Historical Perspective (B)
ECON 26010 Public Finance (B)
ECON 28600 Economic Analysis of Law (B)
ECON 28700 The Economics of Crime (B)
EEUR 24500 Cult of Personality: Hitler, Stalin, and Mao (C)
ENGL 26206 Race and Space (B)
ENST 21800 Economics and Environmental Policy (B)
ENST 23100 Environmental Law (B)
ENST 24101 U.S. Environmental Politics (B)
ENST 24102 Environmental Politics (B)
ENST 24400 Is Development Sustainable? (B)
ENST 24700 Environmental Policy (B)
ENST 24701 U.S. Environmental Policy (B)
ENST 24900 Global Environmental Politics (C)
FNDL 21603 Machiavelli and Machiavellism (A)
FNDL 22301 The Ethics of Albert Camus (A)
FNDL 22704 Plato's Republic (A)
FNDL 24401 American Originals: Franklin and Lincoln (A)
GEOG 25300 Seminar: Problems in the Human Geography of the Middle East (C)
HIJD 41801 Religion, Culture and Politics (A)
HIJD 47705 Jewish Political Theology (A)
HIST 12100 War in the Middle Ages (D)
HIST 13801 Post Soviet Union, 1945 to 1953 (C)
HIST 17202 Globalization (C)
HIST 17702 War in American Society: Violence, Power and the State (B)
HIST 18000 War in Modern American Society (B)
HIST 18500 Politics of Film in Twentieth-Century American History (B)
HIST 18600 United States Labor History (B)
HIST 21500 John Locke in Historical Context (A)
HIST 22706 Slavery and Freedom in the Atlantic World (C)
HIST 22800 Machiavelli and Renaissance Italy (A)
HIST 23004 Montesquieu and the Enlightenment (A)
HIST 23301 Europe, 1660-1830 (C)
HIST 23303 Europe, 1930-Present (C)
HIST 23401 Genocide Euro Jews, 1933-1945 (C)
HIST 23702 Soviet History Survey (C)
HIST 24607 Chinese Social History, Eighteenth to the Twenty-First Century (C)
HIST 24702 Globalization and Asia (C)
HIST 25300 American Revolution, 1763 to 1789 (B)
HIST 25306 History of Modern Economic Thought (A)
HIST 25110 Philosophy of History: Narrative and Explanation (A)
HIST 25600 Contemporary Central Asia (C)
HIST 25902 History of Israeli-Arab Conflict (C)
HIST 26311 Great Migrations (B)
HIST 26405 US Imperialism in Latin America (C)
HIST 26601 Postcolonial Theory (A)
HIST 26802 Colonial Rule in South Asia (C)
HIST 27010 Politics of Reproduction in Historical Perspective (B)
HIST 27102 Lincoln: Slavery, War, and the Constitution (B)
HIST 27108 The Politics of Mass Incarceration, 1945-Present (B)
HIST 27301 Introduction to Black Chicago, 1895-2005 (B)
HIST 27400 Race and Racism in American History (B)
HIST 27705 Introduction to Black Chicago, 1893 to 2010 (B)
HIST 27900 Asian Wars of the Twentieth Century (C)
HIST 27901 Asia American History (B)
HIST 28102 Business History in the Late 20th Century (B)
HIST 28400 Modern American Legal History (B)
HIST 28402 US and the World Since 1945 (B)
HIST 28404 Politics of Reproduction in Historical Perspective (B)
HIST 28604 Law and Social Movements in Modern America (B)
HIST 28625 The CIA and American Democracy (B)
HIST 29410 Cultural Globalization: History and Theory (D)
HIST 29500 Law and Social Theory (A)
HIST 29511 Civilians and War (D)
HIST 29507 Overcoming Torture: Past and Present (C)
HIST 29600 Chicago and the South Side (B)
HMRT 20100 Human Rights I: Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights (A)
HMRT 20200 Human Rights II: History and Theory (A)
HMRT 20300 Human Rights III: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights (A)
HMRT 20500 Human Rights and International Relations (D)
HMRT 21200 Armed Conflict and Politics of Humanitarian Action (D)
HMRT 22230 State Collapse and State Reconstruction (D)
HMRT 23630 Secularism and Religious Freedom in America and South Asia (C)
HMRT 24701 Human Rights: Alien and Citizen (D)
HMRT 26101 Accountability for International Human Rights Abuses (D)
HMRT 26300 Practices of Othering and the Logic of Human Rights Violations (D)
HMRT 26400 What Is a Human? The New Sciences, the Nature/Culture Divide and Human Rights (A)
HMRT 26500 Human Rights in Russia and Eurasia (C)
HMRT 27400 Sex Trafficking and Human Rights: Migration, Coercion, Choice, and Justice (A)
HMRT 27500 Human Rights in Africa: A History of Twentieth Century Articulations (D)
HMRT 28602 Health Care and the Limits of State Action (D)
HMRT 29500 Reason & Passion: The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law (D)
HUMA 23801 The Thought of Hannah Arendt (A)
INST 23101 Contemporary Global Issues I (D)
INST 23102 Contemporary Global Issues II (D)
INST 23310 Do POWs Have Rights? The Geneva Conventions from 1864 to Today (D)
INST 27301 The Politics of Global Governance (D) NOTE: INST 27301 may be used as a “regular” political science course in the major; it will not be counted as a petitioned course.
INST 27405 Seminar on Nuclear Proliferation (D) NOTE: INST 27405 may be used as a "regular" political science course in the major; it will not be counted as a petitioned course.
INST 27501 Local Bodies, Global Capital (D)
INST 27605 War, Sovereignty and the Subject of International Politics (D)
INST 28201 Chinese Foreign Policy (D)
INST 28250 The Global Condition (D)
INST 28303 Introduction to European Issues (D)
INST 28400 Lectures on International Organizations (D)
INST 28530 Critical Theories of the Hyper-Modern (D)
INST 28801 Propaganda States of the Twentieth Century (C)
INST 29302 U.S. Intervention in Latin America (D)
INST 29315 American Globalization: 1607 to Present (D)
INST 29500 Transnationalism (D)
ITAL 23000 Machiavelli and Machiavellism (A)
LACS 21122 Imperialism and Culture in US-Latin American Relations (C)
LACS 21705 Seminar: Human Rights in Latin America (C)
LACS 29601 The Age of Revolution in the Americas (C)
LLSO 22400 Rhetorical Theories of Legal Reasoning (A)
LLSO 24200 Legal Reasoning (A)
LLSO 24300 American Law and the Rhetoric of Race (B)
LLSO 24711 Lincoln: Slavery, War, and the Constitution (A)
LLSO 26502 The American Revolution: Culture and Politics (A)
LLSO 27401 American Originals: Franklin and Lincoln (A)
LLSO 28203 Writing Speeches. Reagan and Obama (B)
MATH 19510 Mathematics Methods for Social Sciences I (A)
MATH 19520 Mathematical Methods for Social Sciences (A)
MATH 19610 Mathematics Methods for Social Sciences II (A)
MATH 19620 Linear Algebra (A)
MATH 20300 Analysis in Rn I (A)
MATH 20400 Analysis in Rn II (A)
MATH 20500 Analysis in Rn III (A)
NEHC 20505 Jews Under Islamic Rule (C)
NEHC 20511 Islam and the State (A)
PBPL 20000 Economics for Public Policy (B)
PBPL 22100 Politics and Policy (B)
PBPL 22300 Problems of Public Policy Implementation (B)
PBPL 24751 The Business of Non-Profits: The Evolving Social Sector (B)
PBPL 25300 Social Welfare in the United States (B)
PBPL 25405 Child Poverty and Chicago Schools (B)
PBPL 25630 Poverty, Work, and Family Policy (B)
PBPL 25800 Public Choice (B)
PBPL 26200 Field Research Project in Public Policy I (B)
PBPL 26300 Field Research Project in Public Policy II (B)
PBPL 26400 Quantitative Methods in Public Policy (A)
PBPL 26709 Public Policy: The Great Books and Articles (B)
PBPL 26920 Identity, Advocacy and Public Policy in Chicago (B)
PBPL 27501 Regulating Speech (B)
PBPL 27705 Human Rights and World Politics (C)
PBPL 28501 Process and Policy in State and City Government (B)
PBPL 28702 Electoral Politics (B)
PBPL 28805 Behavioral Economics and Policy (B)
PBPL 29304 Urban Neighborhoods, Urban Schools (B)
PHIL 20703 The Social Contract Theorists (A)
PHIL 21000 Introduction to Ethics (A)
PHIL 21423 Introduction to Marx (A)
PHIL 21580 Libertarianism (A)
PHIL 21600 Introduction to Political Philosophy (A)
PHIL 21605 Justice (A)
PHIL 23412 Martin Heidegger's Being and Time (A)
PHIL 24410 Human Rights and Human Nature: Philosophical Approaches (A)
PHIL 24790 Self-Transformation and Political Resistance: Michel Foucault, Pierre Hadot, Primo Levi, Martin Luther King, Jr (A)
PHIL 24800 Foucault and The History of Sexuality (A)
PHIL 27504 Plato's Republic (A)
PPHA 32501 Red State, Blue State: Opinion, Elections, and Representation (B)
PSYC 23850 Groups: Attachment, Conflict, and Resolution (B)
PSYC 23900 Political Psychology (B)
PSYC 25101 The Psychology of Decision Making (B)
SALC 20700 Critics of Colonialism (A)
SALC 20702 Colonizations III (A)
SOCI 20001 Sociological Methods (A)
SOCI 20005 Sociological Theory (A)
SOCI 20101 Organizational Analysis (B)
SOCI 20102 Social Change (A)
SOCI 20103 Social Stratification (A)
SOCI 20111 Survey Analysis I (A)
SOCI 20116 Global-Local Politics (B)
SOCI 20120 Urban Policy Analysis (B)
SOCI 20138 Politics/Participation/Organization (B)
SOCI 20146 Culture and Politics (B)
SOCI 20156 Sociology of Law (B)
SOCI 20169 Global Society and Global Culture: Paradigms of Social and Cultural Analysis (C)
SOCI 20171 Law, Organizations, and Markets (B)
SOCI 20173 Inequality in American Society (B)
SOCI 20178 Management and Organizations (B)
SOCI 20184 Political Culture, Social Capital, and the Arts (B)
SOCI 20193 Religious Politics in the Neo-Liberal Epoch (C)
SOCI 20209 Culture and Social Networks (B)
SOCI 21800 Social and Political Movements (B)
SOCI 22700 Urban Structure and Process (B)
SOCI 23100 Revolutions and Rebellions in Twentieth-Century China (C)
SOCI 23600 Political Sociology (B)
SOCI 25500 Survey Research Overview (A)
SOCI 26900 Globalization: Empirical/Theoretical Elements (C)
SOCI 27900 Global-Local Politics (B)
SOCI 28050 Understanding Social Change in China (C)
SOCI 28056 Collective Violence and Social Orders (C)
SOSC 20600 Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences (A)
STAT 22000 Statistical Methods and Applications (A)
STAT 23400 Statistical Models and Methods (A)
Courses Outside Political Science That Will Not Be Approved
Many students ask about the following courses. Petitions will be denied to use courses on this list for political science credit.
ECON 19800 Introduction to Microeconomics
ECON 19900 Introduction to Macroeconomics
ECON 20000 The Elements of Economic Analysis I
ECON 20100 The Elements of Economic Analysis II
ECON 22200 Topics in American Economic History
ECON 26600 Economics of Urban Policies
Any introductory civilization studies courses.
AP 5 Statistics.
Political Science Courses
PLSC 20693. Psychology of Power: Hobbes, Spinoza, and Nietzsche. 100 Units.
This seminar will examine the development of the concept of power as a psychological principle in Hobbes, Spinoza, and Nietzsche. The moderns give unprecedented significance to the notion of power, especially making it a central term of analysis for moral psychology and political philosophy. What is power? In what sense do human beings desire power, and is this desire good or bad? Does an inclination to power come from the passions or reason? What is the importance of scientific or theological meanings of power for the psychological-political concept? We will consider the relation between the modern notion of power and classical liberal understandings of natural right, liberty and equality, the sovereign state, and war and peace. What is achieved, theoretically and politically, by explaining human phenomena through a concept of power, and what is sacrificed?
Instructor(s): Brian Bitar Terms Offered: TBD
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 20693,FNDL 20601
PLSC 20801. Machiavelli's Literary Works. 100 Units.
A reading of Machiavelli’s plays, stories, and poems both as literary works and for what light they shed on his political thought. Familiarity with The Prince is presumed. (A)
Instructor(s): N. Tarcov Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor required.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 32101,LLSO 20802
PLSC 21401. Great Power Politics in the Nineteenth Century. 100 Units.
This course examines relations among Europe’s five Great Powers in the 19th century: Britain, France, Prussia/Germany, Austria, and Russia. Their alliances and antagonisms are the traditional subject matter of international relations theory and history. This course covers the period from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to World War I. The course is divided into three parts. The first covers the Great Powers’ cooperation after Napoleon’s defeat until its breakdown in the 1850s. The second covers the unification of Germany and Italy, which significantly reshaped international politics. The final section covers imperialism, rising nationalism, and the run-up to the Great War. Since the Great Powers’ industrial development is directly relevant to their military capacity and economic interdependence, the course includes some materials on the First and Second Industrial Revolutions in Europe. The focus of this course is international and historical, not IR theory (though theoretical issues will be raised when the historical materials warrant). The course provides a useful background for subsequent study in IR and international history. (D)
Instructor(s): C. Lipson Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 32401
PLSC 22150. Contemporary African American Politics. 100 Units.
This course explores the issues, actions, and arguments that comprise black politics today. Our specific task is to explore the question of how do African Americans currently engage in politics and political struggles in the United States. This analysis is rooted in a discussion of contemporary issues, ranging from the election and reelection of Barack Obama, to the killing of black people such as Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Renisha McBride, to the exponential incarceration of black Americans, to the role of hip-hop among black youth. Throughout the quarter we attempt to situate the politics of African Americans into the larger design we call American politics. Is there still such a thing as black politics? If there is, what does it tell us more generally about American politics? (B)
Instructor(s): C. Cohen Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 22150,LLSO 25902
PLSC 22400. Public Opinion. 100 Units.
What is the relationship between the mass citizenry and government in the U.S.? Does the public meet the conditions for a functioning democratic polity? This course considers the origins of mass opinion about politics and public policy, including the role of core values and beliefs, information, expectations about political actors, the mass media, economic self-interest, and racial attitudes. This course also examines problems of political representation, from the level of political elites communicating with constituents, and from the possibility of aggregate representation. (B)
Instructor(s): J. Brehm Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 26802
PLSC 22510. Law and Society. 100 Units.
This seminar examines the myriad relationships between courts, laws, and lawyers in the United States. Issues covered range from legal consciousness to the role of rights to access to courts to implementation of decisions to professionalism. (B)
Instructor(s): G. Rosenberg Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PLSC 28800 or equivalent and consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 28100
PLSC 22515. The Political Nature of the American Judicial System. 100 Units.
This course aims to introduce students to the political nature of the American legal system. In examining foundational parts of the political science literature on courts conceived of as political institutions, the course will focus on the relationship between the courts and other political institutions. The sorts of questions to be asked include: Are there interests that courts are particularly prone to support? What effect does congressional or executive action have on court decisions? What impact do court decisions have? While the answers will not always be clear, students should complete the course with an awareness of and sensitivity to the political nature of the American legal system. (B)
Instructor(s): G. Rosenberg Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 24011,PLSC 42515
PLSC 22600. Introduction to Political Philosophy. 100 Units.
In this class we will investigate what it is for a society to be just. In what sense are the members of a just society equal? What freedoms does a just society protect? Must a just society be a democracy? What economic arrangements are compatible with justice? In the second portion of the class we will consider one pressing injustice in our society in light of our previous philosophical conclusions. Possible candidates include, but are not limited to, racial inequality, economic inequality, and gender hierarchy. Here our goal will be to combine our philosophical theories with empirical evidence in order to identify, diagnose, and effectively respond to actual injustice. (A)
Instructor(s): B. Laurence Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 21600,GNSE 21601,LLSO 22612
PLSC 22700. Happiness. 100 Units.
From Plato to the present, notions of happiness have been at the core of heated debate in ethics and politics. Is happiness the ultimate good for human beings, the essence of the good life, or is morality somehow prior to it? Can it be achieved by all, or only by a fortunate few? These are some of the questions that this course engages, with the help of both classic and contemporary texts from philosophy, literature, and the social sciences. This course includes various video presentations and other materials stressing visual culture. (A)
Instructor(s): B. Schultz Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HUMA 24900,PHIL 21400,GNSE 25200
PLSC 22913. The Practice of Social Science Research. 100 Units.
This is a first course in empirical research as it is practiced across a broad range of the social sciences, including political science. It is meant to enable critical evaluation of statements of fact and cause in discussions of the polity, economy, and society. One aim is to improve students' ability to produce original research, perhaps in course papers or a senior thesis. A second objective is to improve students' ability to evaluate claims made by others in scholarship, commentary, or public discourse. The specific research tools that the course develops are statistical, but the approach is more general. It will be useful as a guide to critical thinking whether the research to be evaluated, or to be done, is quantitative or not. Above all, the course seeks to demonstrate the use of empirical research in the service of an argument. (A)
Instructor(s): Staff Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
PLSC 23100. Democracy and the Information Technology Revolution. 100 Units.
The revolution in information technologies has serious implications for democratic societies. We concentrate, though not exclusively, on the United States. We look at which populations have the most access to technology-based information sources (the digital divide), and how individual and group identities are being forged online. We ask how is the responsiveness of government being affected, and how representative is the online community. Severe conflict over the tension between national security and individual privacy rights in the U.S., United Kingdom and Ireland will be explored as well. We analyze both modern works (such as those by Turkle and Gilder) and the work of modern democratic theorists (such as Habermas). (B)
Instructor(s): M. Dawson Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 27101
PLSC 23915. Plato's Republic. 100 Units.
This course is devoted to reading and discussion of Plato’s Republic and some secondary work with attention to justice in the city and the soul, war and warriors, psychology, education, theology, poetry, gender, eros, and cities in speech and actually existing cities. (A)
Instructor(s): N. Tarcov Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor required.
Equivalent Course(s): CLAS 33915,CLCV 23915,FNDL 23915,PLSC 33915,LLSO 23915
PLSC 24525. Hannah Arendt: On Revolution. 100 Units.
This seminar will be focused on Hannah Arendt's On Revolution, first published in 1963. Alongside a careful reading of the text, we may consider: the place of On Revolution in Arendt's oeuvre; its significance for recent and contemporary democratic theory; its relation to Marxian theories of revolution; its reception in the 1960s, particularly within the "New Left"; its relation to political and social-scientific discourses about revolution, including particularly anti-colonial revolution, in the context of the Cold War; its relation to the contemporaneous re-emergence of "poverty" as an object of political concern in the United States; and the adequacy, inadequacy, and/or idiosyncracy of Arendt's treatments of historical revolutions such as the American, French, Russian, German, Hungarian, and Cuban.
Instructor(s): P. Markell Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): For advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Enrollment will be limited and consent required.
Note(s): Please do not contact the instructor for consent prior to the start of the term; interested students should simply attend the first session.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 34525,FNDL 24525
PLSC 25402. Fragmented Politics and Global Markets. 100 Units.
What explains a government’s decision to block a trade deal, prevent foreign investors from gaining control of a local factory, or ban the export of rare earth minerals? This course develops theory and evidence that these decisions reflect domestic and international politics. We will discuss the political dimension of the integration of the global economy and the way that globalization separates workers, business, and consumers. Drawing on methods and theory from international political economy, we will critically examine the prospects for international cooperation on trade, investment, and intellectual property protections, the role of international institutions such as the World Trade Organization, and the future of international governance. (D)
Instructor(s): R. Gulotty Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 25715. The Immigrant in Classical Greek Thought. 100 Units.
Instructor(s): D. Kasimis Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 25715
PLSC 25810. Democracy in Indonesia. 100 Units.
Indonesia is both the largest new democracy and the largest majority-Muslim country in the world. This course considers how Indonesia has managed to establish a surprisingly stable democratic regime since the late 1990s after more than forty years of dictatorship. What allowed democracy to take root in Indonesia despite the enormous challenges of a devastating economic crisis, violent outbreaks of ethnic and religious conflict, widespread movements for territorial separation, longstanding disagreements over the proper role for Islam in politics, and an apparent lack of local democratic experience? What were the tradeoffs involved, and how have they affected the quality of democracy in Indonesia today? Beyond surveying the important case of Indonesia itself, this course will also consider how Indonesia’s surprising experience might change the way we think about democratization more generally. (C)
Instructor(s): D. Slater Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 35810
PLSC 25900. Japanese Politics. 100 Units.
This course is a survey of the major aspects of Japanese politics: party politics, bureaucracy, the diet, and political behavior in post-World War II Japan. (C)
Instructor(s): B. Silberman Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 35600
PLSC 26100. To Hell with the Enlightenment. 100 Units.
This course's aims are twofold: (1) to introduce the student to some of the writings attacking the Enlightenment in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and (2) show how these writings created a concept of political modernism and a theory of the aesthetic state. Among others, we read Schiller, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Croce, Mead, Mussolini, and A. Rosenberg. (A)
Instructor(s): B. Silberman Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 26800. Insurgency, Terrorism, and Civil War. 100 Units.
This course provides an introduction to asymmetric and irregular warfare. From Colombia to Afghanistan, non-state armed organizations are crucially important actors. We will study how they organize themselves, extract resources, deploy violence, attract recruits, and both fight and negotiate with states. We will also examine government counterinsurgency and counterterrorism policies, peace-building after conflict, and international involvement in internal wars. Case materials will be drawn from a variety of conflicts and cover a number of distinct topics. This course has a heavy reading load, and both attendance and substantial participation in weekly discussion sections are required. (D)
Instructor(s): P. Staniland Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 26804
PLSC 27001. The Problem of World Government. 100 Units.
Why is there no single world government? From Tennyson to Einstein, thinkers have asserted that solving the world's ills could be accomplished only through the creation of a single, global government. Is this feasible? What forces, technological and political, have prevented its creation? Do institutions of global governance, such as the United Nations Security Council, serve as a stepping-stone towards or a substitute for world government? The course mixes readings in philosophy, theory, and history to consider such questions. Students will grapple with two fundamental ideas in international relations—sovereignty and anarchy—and use these ideas to gauge the practicality of achieving a global monopoly on the use of violence, the creation of a global single currency, and the viability of a global constitution. (D)
Instructor(s): P. Poast Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 27016. Popular Culture, Art, and Autocracy. 100 Units.
This seminar focuses on the connections between authoritarian regimes and art. The course deals with both popular culture forms and "high art" with an emphasis on comparing practices in the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union with autocracies in the Middle East. Reading works by theorists such as Kant, Adorno, Horkheimer, Bourdieu, Arendt, Berlant, Butler, and Zizek and putting studies of authoritarianism in conversation with discussions of the market, the course asks: What role does censorship play in constraining and/or enabling art? How are authoritarian institutions of censorship different from market-oriented ones? How do the pressures of conformity operate in each? How does transgressive art "work the weaknesses” of the system—when it does? And how does it reproduce or underwrite conventional political power? In a context where autocrats in particular are the only sponsors of art, does the pressure to express loyalty to the regime depreciate artistic value? What counts as artistic value anyway? The course will cover methodological issues related to interpretation, genre, reception, and form. Students will also be exposed to films, comedy skits, poetry, and short stories. (C)
Instructor(s): M. Nalepa, L. Wedeen Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 27500. Organizational Decision Making. 100 Units.
This course examines the process of decision making in modern, complex organizations (e.g., universities, schools, hospitals, business firms, public bureaucracies). We also consider the impact of information, power, resources, organizational structure, and the environment, as well as alternative models of choice. (B)
Instructor(s): J. Padgett Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 37500,SOCI 30301
PLSC 27600. War and the Nation State. 100 Units.
The aim of this course is to examine the phenomenon of war in its broader socio-economic context during the years between the emergence of the modern nation-state in the late eighteenth century and the end of World War II. (D)
Instructor(s): J. Mearsheimer Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 37600
PLSC 27702. Political Leadership: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. 100 Units.
This course will examine both classical and contemporary analyses of leadership, with a particular focus on the relationship between executive authority and democratic politics. We will read traditional authors such as Cicero, Livy, Plutarch, and Machiavelli, as well as contemporary analyses of modern political leadership, especially of the American presidency. (A)
Instructor(s): W. Howell, J. McCormick Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Limited enrollment.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 37702,LLSO 27704
PLSC 27725. Machiavelli's Florentine Histories. 100 Units.
This course is devoted to a close reading of what is perhaps Niccolò Machiavelli's most difficult work, the Florentine Histories. We will explore the extent to which the lessons of Machiavelli's history of his native city conform with those that he earlier set forth in more famous works like The Prince and the Discourses. We will also examine the interpretive debates over the Histories that pervade the scholarly literature. Themes pertaining to the Florentine Republic to be considered include: liberty, patriotism, civic foundings, social conflict, partisan strife, religion and politics, tyranny, revolution, and corruption. (A)
Instructor(s): J. McCormick Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Advanced consent of instructor required.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 37725,LLSO 27725,FNDL 27725
PLSC 28005. How Groups Choose. 100 Units.
Voting procedures play an integral role in our lives as citizens by translating the preferences of people into collective outcomes. This course will evaluate these procedures mathematically, by considering the various properties that electoral systems may or may not satisfy. A classic example is Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, which tells us that every electoral system must fail to satisfy one or more criteria of fairness or sensibility. We will examine this result and other legislative paradoxes, and learn why the choice of procedure is critical to our understanding of how "good" and "bad" decisions can be made—and how we can distinguish a bad decision from a good one. (B)
Instructor(s): E. Penn Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 28300. Seminar on Realism. 100 Units.
The aim of this course is to read the key works dealing with the international relations theory called "realism." (D)
Instructor(s): J. Mearsheimer Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Limited enrollment.
PLSC 28615. Politics and Human Nature. 100 Units.
This course explores commonalities among psychoanalytic theory, Buddhism, and studies of emotions and brain physiology, particularly as they relate to questions of the self and political life. In addition to exploring each of these theories, we investigate particular questions (e.g., inevitability of conflict, dynamics of obedience and authority, emotional power of ideology, and non-Western understandings of human consciousness). (A)
Instructor(s): E. Oliver Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing.
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 28613
PLSC 28701. Introduction to Political Theory. 100 Units.
Instructor(s): Staff Terms Offered: TBD
PLSC 28801. Introduction to American Politics. 100 Units.
This survey course canvasses the basic behavioral, institutional, and historical factors that comprise the study of American politics. We will evaluate various modes of survey opinion formation and political participation both inside and outside of elections. In addition to studying the primary branches of U.S. government, we will consider the role of interest groups, the media, and political action committees in American politics. We also will evaluate the persistent roles of race, class, and money in historical and contemporary political life. (B)
Instructor(s): W. Howell Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 28900. Strategy. 100 Units.
This course covers American national security policy in the post–cold war world, especially the principal issues of military strategy that are likely to face the United States in the next decade. This course is structured in five parts: (1) examining the key changes in strategic environment since 1990, (2) looking at the effects of multipolarity on American grand strategy and basic national goals, (3) focusing on nuclear strategy, (4) examining conventional strategy, and (5) discussing the future of war and peace in the Pacific Rim. (D)
Instructor(s): R. Pape Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 39900
PLSC 28901. Introduction to Comparative Politics. 100 Units.
What factors prolong the lives of dictatorships? When do autocrats choose to relinquish power? Why does democratization sometimes produce violence and/or social inequality? What are the long-term consequences of colonial rule for democratic development? This course will use pairwise comparisons of countries from four different world regions and apply the comparative method to address some of the most enduring puzzles and paradoxes of democratization. Rather than covering an exhaustive set of topics that make up the entire field of comparative politics, we will focus on some of the most pressing challenges to democratic development today. In addition to course readings, we will also include the screening of several films that underscore and dramatize the key themes discussed in the class. (C)
Instructor(s): M. Nalepa Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 29000. Introduction to International Relations. 100 Units.
This course introduces the main themes in international relations, including the problems of war and peace, conflict and cooperation, national security, and the politics of international economic relations. The course begins by considering some basic theoretical tools used to study international politics. It then focuses on several prominent security issues in modern international relations, such as the Cold War and post–Cold War world, nuclear weapons, terrorism, and global order (and disorder). The last part of the course deals with economic aspects of international relations. It concentrates on issues where politics and economics are closely intertwined: world trade, international investment, environmental pollution, and European unification. (D)
Instructor(s): C. Lipson Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 39800
PLSC 29202. The Secret Side of International Politics. 100 Units.
This course explores the secret side of international politics, analyzing what governments do "behind closed doors" and the reasons why they do it. Some questions the course addresses include: What agreements do diplomats negotiate privately and why? What role does secrecy play in wartime? What do covert operations actually look like and why are they used? And how have espionage practices evolved historically? Course material will draw on both well-known and obscure uses of secrecy in international politics; students will do their own hands-on research with declassified materials on new cases of their choosing. We conclude with analysis of the threat secrecy in all its guises poses to democracy and whether if at all social media and political openness are changing the secret side of international politics. This course has a heavy reading load and both attendance and substantial participation in weekly discussion sections are required. (D)
Instructor(s): A. Carson Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 29500. Drugs, Guns, and Money: The Politics of Criminal Conflict. 100 Units.
This course examines armed conflict between states and criminal groups, with a focus on Latin America’s militarized drug wars. Why do states decide to crack down on cartels, and why do cartels decide to fight back? Are drug wars “insurgencies”? If so, can they be won? Why does drug violence vary over time, over space, and between market sector? We will study these issues from historical, economic, criminological, and cultural perspectives. Throughout, we focus on the interplay of domestic and international politics in formulating and enforcing drug policy. (C)
Instructor(s): B. Lessing Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 27307
PLSC 29700. Independent Study. 100 Units.
This is a general reading and research course for independent study not related to the BA thesis or BA research.
Terms Offered: Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of faculty supervisor and program chair.
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form.
PLSC 29800. BA Colloquium. 100 Units.
The colloquium is designed to help students carry out their BA thesis research and offer feedback on their progress.
Terms Offered: Autumn, Spring
Note(s): Required of students who are majoring in political science and plan to write a BA thesis. Students participate in both Spring and Autumn Quarters but register only in the Spring Quarter of the third year. PLSC 29800 counts as a single course and a single grade is reported in Autumn Quarter.
PLSC 29900. BA Thesis Supervision. 100 Units.
This is a reading and research course for independent study related to BA research and BA thesis preparation.
Terms Offered: Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring
Note(s): Required of fourth-year students who are majoring in political science and plan to write a BA thesis. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form.
Undergraduate Primary Contact
Director of the Undergraduate Major
John Mark Hansen
Student Affairs Administrator