Political Science majors must fulfill the following requirements:
- Ten Courses in Political Science.
- Fall 2009-Spring 2010: The advanced seminar,
the methodologically-focused course, and a minimum of seven
of the ten political science courses must be taken in the
Tufts University Department of Political Science.
- Beginning September 1, 2010: 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. Note: These
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 2 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 (formerly PS 45)
PS 42: Western Political Thought II (formerly PS 46)
PS 61: Introduction to International Relations
PS 43: Justice, Equality and Liberty; also meets the
foundational requirement if you took this course previous to
- 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 and the numbering
system is as follows:
|American Politics and Government
||10 to 19, 100-119 and 190-197 *
|Comparative Politics and Government
||20 to 39, and 120-139
|Political Theory and Philosophy
||40-49, and 140-159
||60-69, and 160-189
Foundation level courses count toward fulfilling the subfield
requirement. For example, if a student takes PS 41, Western
Political Thought I, he or she has fulfilled the subfield
requirement in political thought.
* As of spring 2013, PS 103 will no longer count towards an American Politics subfield credit.
- 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 19 Sophomore Seminar: Political Science Research Methods
PS 70 Sophomore Seminar: Acquiring Political Knowledge
PS 73 Sophomore Seminar: Globalization and National Politics
PS 74 Sophomore Seminar: Political Economy of Latin America
PS 75 Sophomore Seminar: Politics in the City
PS 78 Sophomore Seminar: Defense in Democracies
PS 78 Sophomore Seminar: Political Behavior of Young People
PS 103: Political Science Research Methods
PS 108: Public Opinion and U.S. Democracy
PS 109 Seminar: The Politics of Ethnicity and American Identity
(Spring 2005 only)
PS 111: Political Psychology
PS 115: Public Opinion and Survey Research
PS 117: Politics in the American South
PS 118-02: Political Participation and Mass Behavior in the US
PS 124 Seminar: Comparative Political Economy of Advanced Industrial Democracies
PS 130 Seminar: African Political Economy
PS 135: Comparative Revolutions
PS 142 Seminar: Interest Groups and Democratic Theory
PS 159-01 Seminar: Topics in Political Theory: Machiavellism
PS 160: Force, Strategy and Arms Control
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 188-06 Seminar: The Causes of Modern War
PS 188-09 Conducting Research in International Politics
PS 195 Seminar: Politics of Sustainable Communities
PS 198, 199: Senior Thesis
Additional courses are to be designated as methodologically
focused and will be listed in the department's course offerings
booklet distributed 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.
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.
There is a major checklist at the end of this handbook. It is provided so you
can keep track of your progress towards fulfilling the degree requirements.