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Political Science

Why do Hindus and Muslims live in harmony in one city and fight bitterly in another just a few miles away? Why is the U.S. the only industrialized nation without a complete national health insurance? What is the legacy of slavery in the U.S.? Why are there so few women in Congress? How is radicalism in the Middle East changing? Why and how does democracy flourish? Just what is democracy? How do emotions shape our political behavior? What do war movies tell us about the USA? Would less government lead to more social justice? What is social justice? How does smuggling (of drugs, guns, and people) reshape international relations? How do immigrants see the American Dream? What is the American dream?

Political science is about questions like these. You can grapple with every one of them –and many more— in the classrooms of the Brown political science department. We study how people –nations, regions, cities, communities— live their common lives. How people solve (or duck) their common problems. How people govern themselves. How they think, talk, argue, fight, and vote. Students passionate about social challenges may also choose to pursue the Engaged Scholars Program, which allows them to connect theory and practice and gain hands-on experience working with community partners.

Ten courses are required overall from within the Department of Political Science.  Eleven courses are required if the methods requirement is fulfilled with a course outside the department.

Students who declared the Political Science concentration prior to spring 2022, have the option to follow the old or the new concentration requirements.  Students choosing to follow the old requirements can refer to those concentration requirements here:  


Two introductory courses from the following: 2
Introduction to the American Political Process
Introduction to Political Thought
Introduction to Comparative Politics
Introduction to International Politics
One course in Political Theory taught by a Political Science theory professor 11
One methods course from Political Science: 21
Foundations of Political Analysis
Political Research Methods
One Senior Capstone course taken from the POLS 1820 / 1821 / 1822 / 1823 / 1824 / 1825 offerings, or the independent studies sequence POLS 1970 / 1971, or the honors sequence POLS 1910 / 1920. The capstone course must be taken at Brown during the senior year. However, with exceptional circumstances and with permission and approval of the course from the DUS, a non-Brown course may fulfill this requirement. 1
Five additional courses from within Political Science and/or taught by a Political Science faculty member 15
Total Credits10


Completion of the methods requirement is required prior to applying to the Honors program. Students must also complete an honors research project and take POLS 1910 and POLS 1920 during the senior year. POLS 1910 and POLS 1920 will count as one credit towards the 10 required Political Science courses for the concentration.