The Department of Government seeks to educate
students about the nature and scope of political power, and to place an understanding
of that power in its social, cultural and historical context. Government majors should
emerge from the program with an understanding of the factors that shape a variety
of political systems and influence policy outcomes at both the domestic and international
level. They should be able to assess critically political actions, and to be attentive
to the social forces that shape the exercise of power. They should have frameworks
within which to think about the purposes of politics, the aims and responsibilities
of governments, and the rights and duties of citizens. Consistent with the mission
of a liberal arts college, the Government Department seeks to prepare its majors
for a variety of post-graduate options, including law school and graduate study in
There is no single paradigm for the study
of government, no one ideal way for everyone to structure a major. Within the overall
framework of our major requirements, here are some ways in which students, in consultation
with their major adviser, can shape their program of study.
Every Government major is required to choose
a concentration within the major, either by sub-field or by theme. We also encourage
students to deepen and broaden their understanding of these concentrations by taking
related courses outside the major.
The sub-fields of study within the Government Department are representative
of the way the academic study of political science is normally divided. They are
American Politics, Political Theory, Comparative Politics, and International Relations.
- is the study of institutions, policies, and processes within
the United States.
- is the study of fundamental ideas that underlie political life.
- Comparative Politics is the study of institutions, policies, and processes within
individual countries, as well as cross-regional and cross-country comparisons.
- is the study of patterns of interaction and relationships
between sovereign states and other actors in the international system, as well
as global processes which shape relations between them.
The following are examples of possible themes which can be developed from
some combination of the sub-fields.
- Politics of a specific country or region of the world
- Political processes and behavior
- Gender and sexuality
- History of political thought
- Public Policy
- Political Economy
Developing a set of intellectual skills
- Textual analysis
- Public speaking
Working toward a career goal
- Graduate programs
- Public Policy
- Political Science
- International Studies
- Public sector
- Private sector
- Community-based learning
Life and work in a foreign country
- JYA study abroad
- Foreign language acquisition
The specific focus which a student develops through
her major is a product of consultation between the student and her adviser.
College Course Guide