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Political Science Major

The Major in Political Science

Political Science prepares students for a variety of careers, public and private, including those directly related to politics and those based on graduate training. Departmental requirements are designed not just to prepare students for graduate school, but to give all majors broad exposure to politics and ready them for responsible citizenship in the contemporary world.

Basic Requirement: Each major must complete 10 units in the Political Science Department

I. Introductory

The department offers courses in four sub-fields: American Politics, Political Theory, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. The College Catalog indicates the departmental offerings by sub-field, and a current list is included below.

Students must take:

1) In the American politics subfield:
PS 200 - American Politics and Government
2) In the international relations subfield:
PS 209 - Introduction to International Relations or
PS 225 - Conduct of American Foreign Policy
3) In the comparative subfield:
PS 236 - Introduction to Comparative Politics
4) In the political theory subfield:
PS 205 - Foundations of Political Economy or
PS 270 - Liberty and Equality or
PS 292 - American Political Thought or
PS 298 – What is Political Philosophy?

Students are strongly advised to take the prescribed courses at the 200 level before taking courses at the 300 level. Either 209 or 225 can be counted towards the major, but not both.

II. Sub-field Distribution

A minimum of 10 units in the political science department is required, to include the following:

1) Two units in each of four subfields. In each subfield, students must take A) the prescribed course or one of the prescribed courses, and B) one additional course in that subfield.

2) A tutorial in one subfield selected for emphasis. Students who are admitted to write theses are exempt from the tutorial requirement.

3) One additional course to reach the 10-unit minimum. The elective may not be the internship courses, 231 or 233. In addition to the regular courses offered by the department, students may count as their elective one of the following courses: a Topics in Politics course (203), an independent study (402), or one course taken at another institution, in the United States or abroad.

III. Study Abroad

Students earning Political Science credit in off-campus programs or study at other institutions may qualify for relief from the 10-unit rule. However, the department believes a degree in Political Science from Colorado College means that majors did most of their work here. The department will normally count one unit of Political Science in an off-campus program toward the basic ten units. Any use of non-CC credit toward the major must have the approval of the student's departmental advisor or the department chair.

IV. Recommended Courses Outside of the Department:

A. The department strongly urges all its majors to achieve at least intermediate-level competency in a foreign language.

B. The department also advises all majors to take Principles of Economics and at least two courses in History.

V. Distinction

Distinction in political science will be awarded based on a graduating senior’s cumulative GPA in courses within the major.

VI. Thesis

Proposals to write a senior thesis must normally be submitted by the beginning of the final block of the student’s junior year, but a student studying off campus a the end of the junior year may submit a proposal in the first week of Block 1 of the senior year.

VII. Transfer Students

The department chair will consider granting credit toward the major for courses taken at another institution prior to admission to Colorado College at the time the student declares the major. Advanced Placement courses in high school may count toward total units for graduation and should be taken into consideration when selecting courses for the major. They do not, however, qualify for relief from the 10-unit rule.