Declaring a Major or Minor
Government majors are required to take ten courses in their major: four introductory courses and six electives. The required introductory courses are:
- International Relations (GOVT-006);
- U.S. Political Systems (GOVT-008);
- Elements of Political Theory (GOVT-117); and
- Comparative Political Systems (GOVT-121)
The electives are organized into the four aforementioned subfields: American Government, International Relations, Comparative Government, and Political Theory. Political Economy courses may exist in each of the four subfields.
Students may take no more than four of the six electives in any one subfield and must include at least on in political theory.
The subfield designations are listed in the Registrar’s course listings under the course title: Field: AG, Field: IR, Field: CG; Field PT; Field: PECO for subfields American Government, International Relations, Comparative Government, Political Theory and Political Economy, respectively.
Math-006, Math-040, or AP credits for these courses may count for one elective. The Department encourages majors to take either Math-006 or Math-040, which will count toward both the General Education requirement as well as the major.
During the junior or senior year, students are required to take one Department Seminar, a small class with a full-time faculty member that centers on research and writing skills. These seminars, which count as one of the six electives, will be indicated in the semester course listings as “Department Seminar:” or “DEP SEM:” on the Registrar’s course listings.
Students can receive credit towards their major for no more than two courses taken outside of the Government Department, unless the student is a transfer student. It is strongly recommended that students take the four required introductory courses (i.e., 006, 008, 117, and 121) offered by the Department rather than counting courses outside the Department toward those requirements. Students with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP American Government exam may receive credit for GOVT-008.
The Department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies assigns an advisor to students upon declaration of the major.
In order to declare a major in government, students must complete at least two of the four introductory courses in Government (GOVT-006, 008, 117, and 121) and obtain a grade no lower than a C+ in each. The g.p.a. in all Government courses taken prior to declaration must be a C+ or higher. Similarly, transfer students must have completed at least two courses in political science with a grade no lower than a C+ in each. Please check the schedule each semester for a list of courses and prerequisites.
Students who minor in government must take the four introductory courses of the Government major and any two electives. Students can credit no more than one course taken outside of the department to the minor. Transfer students may receive credit for up to two political science courses taken at another college or university.
The Government Honors Program is an intensive, three-semester program of closely mentored research and writing that culminates in a Senior Honors Thesis. As part of the program, students take an advanced seminar in Political Theory and a course on Scope and Methods of Political Science in the spring of the junior year. Students then prepare a thesis proposal in the fall of their senior year (as participants in the Honors Research Seminar) and complete the thesis (in consultation with their mentor) in the spring.
Students defend their work in an oral examination at the conclusion of their last semester. Aside from a waiver of the elective in political theory, students are expected to meet all the normal requirements for the major. Prerequisites for the program include a declared government major and a minimum GPA of 3.5 overall and in government courses. A call for applications from interested Juniors is issued in the fall.
Students may take no more than four of the six electives in any one of the four subfields and must include at least on in political theory. All majors are encouraged to take Govt 229: Introduction to Quantitative Methods. This course is required for honors students and will count as a Government elective for majors. During the junior or senior year, students are required to take one Department Seminar, which will count as one of the six electives.
For more information about the requirements for a major or minor in Government, please see the Undergraduate Program Handbook.
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