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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.

The undergraduate concentration is organized around three broad tracks, or programs of study: American politics, international and comparative politics, and political theory.  Twelve courses are required overall: ten within the Department of Political Science and two from areas outside the department related to your chosen track. Thirteen courses are required if the methods requirement is fulfilled with a course outside the department.


Two introductory courses:2
For the American politics and political theory tracks, select two courses from the following list. One of which must be the introductory course associated with the chosen track
Introduction to the American Political Process
Introduction to Political Thought
Introduction to Comparative Politics
Introduction to International Politics
For the international and comparative politics track; the following two introductory courses are required:
Introduction to Comparative Politics
Introduction to International Politics
One course in the American politics subfield1
One course in the political theory subfield1
Two courses in the international and comparative politics subfield2
Three upper-level courses in the chosen subfield3
One methods course from Political Science: 11
Foundations of Political Analysis
Political Research Methods
One research seminar from the POLS 1820, 1821, 1822, 1823 or 1824 offerings that is track related1
Two upper-level courses from outside the department related to the specialized track, chosen with the approval of the concentration advisor. 22

A comparable course from an outside department (APMA 0650, ANTH 1940, CLPS0900, ECON 1620ECON 1630EDUC 1100EDUC 1110GEOL 1320, PHP1501, SOC 1100 or  SOC 1120 may also be used). If the methods requirement is fulfilled by an outside department course, it will not count as one of the 12 required courses.


Appropriate 1000-level courses offered in (but not limited to) Africana Studies, American Civilization, Anthropology, Classics, Economics, History, International Relations, Philosophy, Public Policy, Religious Studies, Sociology or Urban Studies may apply. The concentration advisor may approve a course from another department if it clearly meets the intent of the outside course requirement.

To obtain an advisor contact the Concentration Coordinator Patti Gardner.


Students wishing to undertake the honors program need to complete the same requirements as shown for the concentration. 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.