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
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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.
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NOTE: Several requirements for the major have been modified over the past year 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 a 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.
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Summary of Requirements: The Long Paper Path
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|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|
Summary of Requirements: The BA Thesis Path
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 political-science.uchicago.edu/undergrad-listhost.shtml.
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 limited to the Spring Quarter of the third year, but attendance is required in both quarters. Students who plan to study abroad during Spring Quarter of the third year and/or Autumn Quarter of the fourth year must contact the program chair in advance to make arrangements to meet the BA Colloquium requirement.
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.
NOTE: 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/newstudents/examination-credit-and-transfer-credit.
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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 Intensive Study of a Culture: Pirates (C)
ANTH 21264 Intensive Study of a Culture: 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
ECON 20710 Game Theory: A Formal Approach (A)
ECON 20740 Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
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)
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 U.S. 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 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 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 2008 (B)
HIST 27900 Asian Wars of the 20th 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 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
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
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 29304 Urban Neighborhoods, Urban Schools (B)
PHIL 20703 The Social Contract Theorists (A)
PHIL 21000 Introduction to Ethics (A)
PHIL 21423 Introduction to Marx
PHIL 21580 Libertarianism (A)
PHIL 21600 Introduction to Political Philosophy
PHIL 21605 Justice (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
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
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
SOCI 20146 Culture and Politics (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: Not offered in 2014-15
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 20693,FNDL 20601
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 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: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 21600,GNSE 21601,LLSO 22612
PLSC 22825. Philosophy and Public Education. 100 Units.
This course will critically survey the various ways in which philosophy curricula are developed and used in different educational contexts and for different age groups. Considerable attention will be devoted to the growing movement in the U.S. for public educational programs in precollegiate philosophy.
Instructor(s): R. Schultz Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 22820
PLSC 22913. The Practice of Social Science Research. 100 Units.
This course 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 23415. Emergence of Capitalism in Early Modern Europe. 100 Units.
This course investigates the emergence of capitalism in Europe and the world as a whole between the early sixteenth and the late eighteenth centuries. We discuss the political and cultural as well as the economic, sources of capitalism, and explore Marxist, neoclassical, and cultural approaches. (C)
Instructor(s): W. Sewell Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 23300,HIST 33300,LLSO 23415,PLSC 32815
PLSC 23910. Rulership Ancient and Modern: Xenophon's Education of Cyrus and Machiavelli's Prince. 100 Units.
A reading of two of the classic treatments of political rulership: Xenophon's The Education of Cyrus and Machiavelli's Prince. We will consider the qualities needed to acquire, maintain, and increase political power, the relations between rulers and ruled, the relations between political and military leadership and more broadly between politics and war, the roles of morality and religion in politics, differences between legitimate and tyrannical rule, and differences between modern and ancient views of rulership. (A)
Instructor(s): N. Tarcov Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 33910,FNDL 23910
PLSC 24810. Politics of the U.S. Congress. 100 Units.
This course examines Congress from the perspective of the 535 senators and representatives who constitute it. It examines congressional elections, legislators' relationships with their constituents, lawmakers' dealings in and with committees, and representatives' give-and-take with congressional leadership, the executive, and pressure groups. (B)
Instructor(s): M. Hansen Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 25001. Race and Nation in Latin America. 100 Units.
The invention of the nation was a particularly difficult task in Latin America. This project developed amidst brutal processes of colonization, nascent independence struggles and economies largely based on slave labor. As such, elites in this region had the monumental task of inventing a homogeneous national culture and identity in the face of ethno-racial divisions, a reality of increasingly entangled and racially mixed households, and perhaps most importantly, in the context of the rise of scientific racism. While the U.S. shares many aspects of this history with Latin America and the Caribbean, there are some important differences in the racial trajectories of these regions. The primary objective of this undergraduate course is to analyze the relationship between race, national identity in Latin America and the Caribbean. (C)
Instructor(s): T. Paschel Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 25610. Authority, Obligation, and Dissent. 100 Units.
What is the basis of political authority? What, if anything, makes it legitimate? Under what conditions are we obliged to follow the laws and orders of government authorities? Under what conditions can we legitimately disobey such laws or orders, or even engage in violent rebellion? How have some of the most influential political thinkers answered such questions historically and which of their theories are most helpful for illuminating these issues for us today? Readings include classic writings by Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Burke, Paine, Kant, Thoreau, Gandhi, Fanon, and Martin Luther King, Jr. (A)
Instructor(s): S. Muthu Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 25610
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: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 35810
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 27216. Machiavelli's Political Thought. 100 Units.
This course is devoted to the political writings of Niccolò Machiavelli. Readings include The Prince, Discourses on Livy's History of Rome, selections from the Florentine Histories, and Machiavelli's proposal for reforming Florence's republic, "Discourses on Florentine Affairs." Topics include the relationship between the person and the polity; the compatibility of moral and political virtue; the utility of class conflict; the advantages of mixed institutions; the principles of self-government, deliberation, and participation; the meaning of liberty; and the question of military conquest. (A)
Instructor(s): J. McCormick Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 28200,PLSC 52316,FNDL 28102
PLSC 27315. Machiavelli: Texts and Interpretations. 100 Units.
This course assumes intimate familiarity on the part of students with Machiavelli's main political writings, The Prince and the Discourses. We devote most of the course to major interpretations of the Florentine's political thought, including: Baron, Berlin, Chabod, de Grazia, Gramsci, Hulliung, Kahn, Lefort, Mansfield, Najemy, Pitkin, Pocock, Ridolfi, Skinner, Strauss, Vivanti, and Wolin. (A)
Instructor(s): J. McCormick Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 52415
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
PLSC 28100. Russian Politics. 100 Units.
One of the major world powers, Russia commands a nuclear arsenal and vast energy reserves. This course will help us to understand Russia’s political development which is inextricable from the country’s history and economy. After reviewing some milestones in Soviet history, we shall focus on the developments since the fall of the ‘evil empire.’ Political institutions, economy, foreign policy, and social change will all receive some attention. (C)
Instructor(s): S. Markus Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 28500. Zionism and Palestine. 100 Units.
This course has three broad aims, the first of which is to explore the various strands of early Zionist thinking in Europe during the late 19th and early 20th century. The second aim is to analyze how the European Zionists who came to Palestine created the Jewish state in the first half of the 20th century. The third aim is to examine some key developments in Israel’s history since it gained its independence in 1948. While the main focus will be on Zionism and the state of Israel, considerable attention will be paid to the plight of the Palestinians and the development of Palestinian nationalism over the past century. (D)
Instructor(s): J. Mearsheimer Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor. Enrollment limited.
PLSC 28701. Introduction to Political Theory. 100 Units.
Instructor(s): S. Muthu Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 28710. Democracy and the Politics of Wealth Redistribution. 100 Units.
How do political institutions affect the redistribution of wealth among members of a society? In most democracies, the distribution of wealth among citizens is unequal but the right to vote is universal. Why then have so many newly democratic states transitioned under conditions of high inequality yet failed to redistribute? This course explores this puzzle by analyzing the mechanisms through which individual and group preferences can be translated into pro-poor policies, and the role elites play in influencing a government's capacity or incentives to redistribute wealth. Topics include economic inequality and the demand for redistribution, the difference in redistribution between democracy and dictatorship, the role of globalization in policymaking, and the effects of redistribution on political stability and change. (C)
Instructor(s): M. Albertus Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 28710
PLSC 28800. Introduction to Constitutional Law. 100 Units.
This course is an introduction to the constitutional doctrines and political role of the U.S. Supreme Court, focusing on its evolving constitutional priorities and its response to basic governmental and political problems, including maintenance of the federal system, promotion of economic welfare, and protection of individual and minority rights. (B)
Instructor(s): G. Rosenberg Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 23900,PLSC 48800
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: Winter
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: Winter
PLSC 29000. Introduction to International Relations. 100 Units.
This course introduces main themes in international relations that include the problems of war and peace, conflict and cooperation. We begin by considering some basic theoretical tools used to study international politics. We then focus on several prominent security issues in modern international relations, such as the cold war and post–cold war world, nuclear weapons, nationalism, and terrorism. We also deal with economic aspects of international relations, such as globalization, world trade, environmental pollution, and European unification. (D)
Instructor(s): J. Mearsheimer Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 39800
PLSC 29200. Civil Rights/Civil Liberties. 100 Units.
This course examines selected civil rights and civil liberties decisions of U.S. courts with particular emphasis on the broader political context. Areas covered include speech, race, and gender. (B)
Instructor(s): G. Rosenberg Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PLSC 28800 or equivalent and consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 24000
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.