This information is part of the Colgate University catalog, 2023-24.
Professors Brubaker, Byrnes, Chernoff, Kraynak, N. Moore, Shain
The department's program is designed to provide students with an understanding and appreciation of politics in the broadest sense 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, international relations, and 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. Internships in Washington on the D.C. study group combine rigorous analysis of politics and government with direct exposure to Congress, the national executive, political parties, interest groups, think tanks, and media. Similarly, study and internships in Geneva, Switzerland, on the department's other study group, provide students with the opportunity to travel widely in Europe and to become immersed in the world of international organizations. The honors colloquium, in addition, offers students the opportunity to conduct significant research under the supervision of a faculty member. 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.
American politics (AM)
Comparative politics (CO)
International relations (IR)
Political theory (TH)
Colgate's chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha is a national honorary society that recognizes the accomplishments of undergraduate political science students.
The Dr. William L. Boyle Jr. Award — given annually for academic excellence to a junior political science major.
The Herbert J. Storing Memorial Award — established as an annual award to a senior political science major for superior academic achievement.
Advanced placement credits are not accepted for credit in the political science major or minor programs.
Colgate students planning to study off-campus or abroad: The department will accept for major credit a maximum of two political science courses taken at other institutions. Only one transfer credit will be accepted toward the minor. These courses must have been approved for transfer credit by the Colgate registrar and by the member of the Department of Political Science designated to evaluate them. In all instances, courses accepted for major or minor credit must be comparable in quality, quantity of reading and writing, and scope of coverage to courses offered in the department. Transfer credits will not ordinarily be offered for POSC-100 level courses or POSC 232. 400-level courses will not be accepted under any circumstances. Students who anticipate applying for major or minor credit for a course or courses to be taken at another institution should consult with the department's transfer credit representative before enrolling elsewhere.
Students transferring to Colgate from other universities: The department will accept for major credit up to four political science courses at the 100-, 200- or 300-level taken at a student's prior academic institution. Up to two courses may be accepted toward the minor. In all instances, courses accepted for major or minor credit must be comparable in quality, quantity of reading and writing, and scope of coverage to courses offered in the department. 400-level courses will not be accepted under any circumstances. Transfer students who anticipate applying for major or minor credit for a course or courses they have already taken at another institution should consult with the department's transfer credit representative before declaring political science as their major or minor.
Students with outstanding records in political science may pursue honors. To qualify, a student must have, at graduation, an overall GPA of 3.40 and a departmental GPA of 3.50 in the eleven or more courses taken to satisfy the major requirement for honors. A student must enroll in the year-long honors colloquium (POSC 498 and POSC 499). Major credit and grades used in determining departmental GPA will be awarded for both courses. Each student in the fall while enrolled in POSC 498 will complete an in-depth written literature review of his or her subject of interest; then, in the spring while enrolled in POSC 499, students will write a lengthy thesis. Each course is graded separately, but enrollment in POSC 499 is contingent on the successful completion of POSC 498, and the recommendation of the seminar director and the student's primary adviser. Although these courses are designed for and required of those hoping to stand for honors or high honors at graduation, neither is restricted to them; rising seniors with a strong interest in some area of political science and a proven academic record of accomplishment who would like to explore further a chosen area of research in a collaborative environment should also consider enrolling. It is critically important that juniors interested in doing an honors thesis in their senior year, speak both with their advisers and members of the faculty conducting research in an area of common interest while searching for a primary adviser to guide their independent research during their senior year.
All students who have successfully completed the honors sequence will be eligible for honors or high honors. Whether a student receives honors or high honors ultimately depends upon the outcome of their thesis research. To be awarded honors, a thesis must be judged superior both by the faculty member guiding the student's research and the seminar director of POSC 499. A thesis judged by these readers to be potentially worthy of high honors will, with the agreement of the student, be submitted to a third reader. An oral defense will then be scheduled at which time the student is examined both on the content of the thesis and his or her knowledge of the general field of inquiry. The three readers then make the final decision as to whether the student will receive high honors at graduation.
- Asian Studies Students may select a topical major in Asian studies with a focus on India, China, or Japan, including related departmental courses in political science.
- International Relations Students with a singular focus on the international political realm take, in conjunction with those in political science, courses in the languages, economics, history, and allied fields.
- Peace and Conflict Studies Students interested in this major may enroll in the interdisciplinary Peace and Conflict Studies Program.
The Washington Study Group, conducted in the spring term each year, provides a unique opportunity for a select group of Colgate students to study the working processes of the American national government at close range. See "Undergraduate Program". Study group members take four courses during their term in Washington, one of which is an internship. Students receive three course credits toward completing the political science major (POSC 410, POSC 412, and POSC 414) and one university credit toward graduation (POSC 413). Prerequisites: POSC 150, POSC 210, or POSC 211.
The Geneva Study Group, conducted in the fall and/or spring terms of each year, provides a rewarding opportunity for a highly select group of Colgate students to study the workings of international organizations, the politics of the European Union and of Western European nations, and other related matters while living and traveling in the heart of Western Europe. Intensive language and cultural immersion in a French homestay, and internship opportunities working in international and non-governmental organizations are important parts of the program.
At least one college-level French course is a prerequisite. Study group directors may specify other prerequisites, but as a general rule students are required to take POSC 232 prior to the start of the program. Students are also strongly encouraged to take at least one other political science or history course in the politics, culture, history, international relations, or economies of Europe.
For further information, please see Off-Campus Study.
Majors and Minors
- POSC 150 - America as a Democracy (AM)
- POSC 151 - Politics and Moral Vision (TH)
- POSC 152 - Global Peace and War (IR)
- POSC 153 - Introduction to Comparative Politics (CO)
- POSC 208 - Comparative Democracies (CO)
- POSC 210 - Congress (AM)
- POSC 211 - The Presidency and Executive Leadership (AM)
- POSC 214 - Comparative Politics: East and Southeast Asia (CO)
- POSC 215 - Comparative Politics: Middle East (CO)
- POSC 216 - Comparative Politics: Latin America (CO)
- POSC 232 - Fundamentals of International Relations (IR)
- POSC 260 - Foundations of Political Thought (TH)
- POSC 291 - Independent Study
- POSC 300 - Geneva Colloquium
- POSC 303 - A View from the Mayor's Desk: Current Dynamics of American Governance
- POSC 305 - From Coconuts to iPhones: the Politics of Economic Development in East and Southeast Asia
- POSC 307 - China's Foreign Relations
- POSC 309 - On the Edges of Sovereignty: Microstates, Unrecognized Territories, and Non-Territorial Actors
- POSC 314 - American Political Development
- POSC 316 - Public Opinion
- POSC 317 - Identity Politics
- POSC 320 - States, Markets, and Global Change
- POSC 321 - Political Parties and Electoral Process
- POSC 323 - American Elections and Party Power
- POSC 326 - State and Local Politics
- POSC 328 - Religion and Politics
- POSC 329 - The Politics of Nationalism and Memory in Eastern Europe (Extended Study)
- POSC 330 - Post-Mao China and World Development
- POSC 331 - Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa
- POSC 335 - U.S. Environmental Politics
- POSC 336 - Campaigns & Voting Behavior
- POSC 338 - Sex, Law, and the American Culture Wars
- POSC 341 - War and the Shaping of American Politics
- POSC 342 - The Politics of Nuclear Proliferation
- POSC 343 - Liberalism & Socialism
- POSC 344 - Politics of Poverty
- POSC 345 - The News Media and the Political Process
- POSC 346 - Beneath the Black Robes: Courts as Political Institutions
- POSC 348 - The Rise and Fall of Communism
- POSC 349 - The International Political Economy
- POSC 353 - National Security
- POSC 354 - Capitalism, the State, and Development in Latin America
- POSC 357 - International Institutions
- POSC 358 - Transnational Politics
- POSC 359 - Power in Russia from Gorbachev to Putin
- POSC 360 - Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy
- POSC 366 - Contemporary American Foreign Policy
- POSC 367 - The European Union
- POSC 368 - American Foreign Relations with China
- POSC 371 - West European Politics
- POSC 373 - The Public Policy Process
- POSC 374 - International Law
- POSC 377 - Political Psychology
- POSC 379 - The Development of the Modern State
- POSC 380 - Reason, Faith, and Politics
- POSC 382 - American Political Thought
- POSC 383 - National Security (Extended Study)
- POSC 385 - Modernity and its Conservative Critics
- POSC 386 - Enlightenment Political and Social Thought
- POSC 387 - Reason and Power in Social and Political Thought
- POSC 388 - Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties
- POSC 389 - Constitutional Law: Structures and Powers
- POSC 390 - Silent Warfare: Intelligence Analysis and Statecraft
- POSC 391 - Independent Study
- POSC 404 - Seminar: Political Polarization and American Democracy
- POSC 410 - Our Constitutional Order: Continuity and Change (Study Group)
- POSC 412 - Readings and Research on American Government (Study Group)
- POSC 414 - Seminar: Contemporary Policy Process (Study Group)
- POSC 416 - Seminar: Democracy, Capitalism, and the Changing World Order
- POSC 417 - Seminar: Law and Order
- POSC 421 - Seminar: Information Warfare
- POSC 433 - Seminar: Topics in Globalization
- POSC 434 - Seminar: Immigrants, Refugees, and the Politics of Borders
- POSC 436 - Seminar: Continuity and Change in International Politics
- POSC 437 - Seminar: Democratization and Prospects for Peace and Prosperity
- POSC 441 - Seminar: Theories of State
- POSC 451 - Seminar: Africa in World Politics
- POSC 454 - Seminar: The Cold War and After
- POSC 456 - Seminar: War - Theories and Practices
- POSC 462 - Seminar: Citizenship and Social Class
- POSC 466 - Seminar: Dispelling American Founding Myths: The Declaration of Independence and the Framing of the Constitution
- POSC 475 - Seminar: Philosophies of Law: Theory and Practice
- POSC 491 - Independent Study
- POSC 498 - Honors Seminar
- POSC 499 - Honors Seminar