First Year Program - Political Science Skip Navigation

Political Science (POSC)

Chair: T. Byrnes
DEPARTMENT SITE

The department’s program is designed to provide students with an understanding and appreciation of politics in the broadest sense, both domestically and internationally, and to introduce them to the skills needed for research and analysis. The curriculum includes courses in the principal fields of the discipline, including American and comparative government and politics of European, Asian, South American, Middle Eastern, and African nations; international relations; and normative political theory. Through coursework and independent study projects, students confront some of the enduring questions of politics while studying political institutions, processes, behavior, and theory. Students who major in political science are likely to be well prepared for future careers or graduate study in such fields as law, public service, international affairs, business management, teaching, journalism, and many others.

The 100–level courses are designed for students likely to major in other fields of study as well as those still considering a major or minor in political science. The 200–level courses are intended to serve as gateway courses to the major as well as to particular subfields.  Both the 100– and 200– level courses, then, are general introductions providing a broad foundation in the discipline and are particularly suitable for first– and second–year students. The 300– and 400–level courses are, in most instances, somewhat more demanding and less general than lower-level courses and allow students to explore a specific topic in greater depth. These courses are generally directed, but not limited, to the needs of juniors and seniors.

In addition, the Department of Political Science sponsors study groups to Washington, DC and Geneva, Switzerland. Colgate’s Washington study group, the oldest such program in the nation, offers students the opportunity to live, work, and take courses in the nation’s capital. Students with interests in American politics and government, constitutional law, or public policy are encouraged to apply. Before doing so, you should take one of the following courses: POSC 150, POSC 210, or FSEM 196/POSC 211.

The Geneva (Switzerland) study group allows students to study international organizations and the rise of global governance, along with Western European politics and cultures. Internships are a part of the experience and include placements in international organizations, non-governmental organizations, or private concerns with interests in international relations or comparative politics. At least one college-level French course is a prerequisite for the study group. Study group directors may specify other prerequisites, but it is strongly recommended that students take POSC 151, POSC 152, POSC 232, or POSC 260, and at least one other political science or history course in the politics, culture, history, international relations, or economies of Europe.

Questions about political science programs may be directed to the department administrative assistant, Cindy Terrier, or Tim Byrnes, Professor of Political Science, at 315-228-7521; students should also closely consult the University Catalogue and the department’s web page.