Political Science majors must fulfill the following requirements:
ALL courses must be taken as a graded course.
Courses taken as Pass/Fail will not count towards the PS major.
- Ten Courses in Political Science. All Tufts University Political Science majors will be required
to take eight of the ten political science courses in the Tufts
University Department of Political Science. All of the other requirements
of the major—the two foundation courses, the course in each of the four
major subfields, the methodologically-focused course, and the advanced
seminar—must also be fulfilled in the Tufts University Department of
Political Science. Cross-listed courses sponsored by another department
are considered courses taken within the department. Note: Foundational
courses will not count towards a major concentration requirement if taken abroad.
- Two Foundational or Category I Courses. All PS majors are required to take two
Foundational or Category I courses that introduce students to key concepts in Political
Science. The following courses fulfill the foundational requirement:
PS 11: Introduction to American Politics
PS 21: Introduction to Comparative Politics
PS 41: Western Political Thought I
PS 42: Western Political Thought II
PS 61: Introduction to International Relations
- One Course in Each of the Four Major Subfields. To ensure
that students are exposed to the different areas of the discipline,
they must take at least one course (Category I or Category II) in each of the
four subfields that serve as the cornerstones of the political science
discipline. The catalogue is organized around these four subfields.
The courses that may satisfy this requirement are as follows:
|American Politics and Government
||10 to 19, 100-119 and 190-197 *
|Comparative Politics and Government
||20 to 39, 120-139, and 176 **
|Political Theory and Philosophy
||41, 42 ***
||60-69, 125, 142, and 160-189 **
Foundation level courses count toward fulfilling the subfield requirement.
For example, if a student takes PS 11, Introduction to American Politics,
he or she has fulfilled the subfield requirement in American Politics and Government.
* As of spring 2013, PS 103 will no longer count towards an American Politics subfield credit.
** PS 125 and PS 176 may be used to fulfill either the Comparative Politics and Government subfield
requirement or the International Relations subfield requirement, but not both.
*** Students who declared the PS major prior to the 2014-2015 academic year may fulfill the Political Theory
and Philosophy subfield requirement through PS 41, 42, or 140 through 159. All students who declare a PS major
in the 2014-2015 academic year and beyond must fulfill the Political Theory requirement through PS 41 or PS 42.
- One Methodologically-Focused Course. Political
Science is more than just a group of courses relating to
government and politics. Political Science is a discipline that
is built around research principles which guide inquiry into the
political process. To understand how political scientists
acquire knowledge, students must understand the methods and
logic of social science inquiry. How do we know that one
interpretation of events or trends is more valid than another?
The way questions are framed and the manner in which data are
gathered affect the results of research.
The Department has designated a set of courses as
"methodologically-focused." Each student must take at least one
such course to complete the major. These courses are not
primarily about methodology. Rather, methodological concerns are
integrated into the regular course material on a substantive
topic in political science. In addition, a segment of the course
may be centered on methodological approaches and one or more of
the readings will emphasize research methods. We strongly
recommend that students take their methodologically-focused
course in their sophomore year. These courses are designed to
help students understand the broader major and not just the
single course which fulfills the requirement. Although students
are only required to take one of these classes, they are
encouraged to take additional methodologically-focused courses
which fall into their area of interest. Methodologically-focused
courses may also fulfill the departmental subfield or foundation
The following courses have fulfilled the methodology requirement in the past.
Please check the Department's course offerings each semester to be sure that
it continues to fulfill the methodology requirement.
PS 12 Sophomore Seminar: Acquiring Political Knowledge
PS 14 Sophomore Seminar: Political Behavior of Young People
PS 15 Sophomore Seminar: Politics & The City
PS 23 Sophomore Seminar: Political Economy of Latin America
PS 103: Political Science Research Methods
PS 104: Seminar: New Media, New Politics
PS 107: Political Participation and Mass Behavior in the US
PS 108: Public Opinion and U.S. Democracy
PS 111: Political Psychology
PS 115: Public Opinion and Survey Research
PS 117: Politics in the American South
PS 124 Seminar: Comparative Political Economy of Advanced Industrial Democracies
PS 130 Seminar: African Political Economy
PS 135: Comparative Revolutions
PS 160: Force, Strategy and Arms Control
PS 166: Seminar: Causes of Modern War
PS 174: The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
PS 181: Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
PS 184: Seminar: Better Than the Truth: Fabricated and False Facts in International Politics
PS 188-09: Conducting Research in International Politics
PS 195: Seminar: Politics of Sustainable Communities
PS 198, 199: Senior Thesis
Additional courses may be designated as methodologically focused and will be
listed in the department's course offerings booklet published each
semester prior to preregistration.
- One Advanced Seminar.
All majors must complete an advanced seminar during either
their junior or senior year. Generally students will have taken at least one
course in the broad subfield under which the seminar falls. Some seminars have
one or more prerequisites. Prerequisites are listed in the catalogue
descriptions of the course. Seminars must be taken within the department
and be taught by Political Science faculty. Seminars taken in Tufts Abroad
programs do not fulfill this requirement.
Just because a course is small does not mean that it is a seminar. A "seminar"
should have that term in the course title, utilize a seminar format (i.e.,
one extended session a week, enrollment limited to about 15 students), and
include a substantial research paper. If you are unsure, please check with
the professor teaching the course. Sophomore seminars do not fulfill the
advanced seminar requirement. Both semesters of the Senior Honors Thesis count
as seminar credits. The Department typically offers about seven or eight
advanced seminars each semester and they are limited to fifteen students each.
The following courses have fulfilled the advanced seminar requirement in the past.
Please check the Department's course offerings each semester to be sure that it
continues to fulfill the seminar requirement and for additional courses that
may be listed as a seminar.
PS 100: Seminar: Politics of U.S. Immigration Policy
PS 104: Seminar: Seminar On New Media, New Politics
PS 109: Seminar: Political Ethnicity And American Identity
PS 113: Seminar: Nonprofits And Civil Society
PS 114: Seminar: Political Representation In The US
PS 119: Seminar In American Politics
PS 120: Seminar: Power And Politics In China
PS 121: Seminar: Political Culture In Comparative Perspective
PS 124: Seminar: Comparative Political Economy Of Advanced Industrial Democracies
PS 130: Seminar: African Political Economy
PS 132: Seminar: Comparative Politics Of Post-communism
PS 139: Seminar In Comparative Politics
PS 145: Seminar: The Political Thought Of Machiavelli
PS 147: Seminar: The Political Philosophy Of Nietzsche
PS 148: Seminar: The Political Philosophy Of Nietzsche
PS 151: Seminar: The Political Philosophy Of Hobbes
PS 152: Seminar: Plato's Republic
PS 153: Seminar: Political Theory Method
PS 156: Seminar: Enlightenment Political Thought
PS 157: Seminar: Markets, Morals, and Religion: The Political Theory of David Hume and Adam Smith
PS 159: Seminar In Political Thought
PS 163: Seminar: Ethnicity And American Foreign Policy
PS 166: Seminar: Causes Of Modern War
PS 171: Seminar: Rethinking The Cold War
PS 178: Seminar: Foreign Policy-making In The Arab World
PS 184: Seminar: Better Than the Truth – Fabricated and False Facts in International Politics
PS 189: Seminar In International Relations
PS 193: Seminar: Health Policy For Aging Populations
PS 195: Seminar: Politics Of Sustainable Communities
PS 197, 198: Senior Honors Thesis
Additional courses may be designated as advanced seminars and will be listed in the
department's course offerings booklet published each semester prior to preregistration.