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Program Requirements and Opportunities

The information listed below is a direct excerpt from the 2014-15 Course Catalog.

Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare her major before the end of her sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.

The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.

2013-14 Catalog
2012-13 Catalog
2011-12 Catalog
2010-11 Catalog



Students may complete a major or minor in Political Science. Within the major, students may complete a concentration in environmental studies.

Please note: Students who have already declared the major may be eligible to satisfy the former requirements in lieu of those set out below, and should consult their departmental adviser.

Major Requirements

What is Political Science, and what will the major prepare me for?

Political Science is the study of justice and authority, peace and conflict, public policies and elections, government and law, democracy and autocracy, freedom and oppression. More than any other social science, Political Science pursues a wide variety of approaches in explaining how and why political events and institutions come about as they do, and in evaluating ways in which polities, policies, and leaders are good and bad, laudable and criticizable. Some of these approaches are like those found in Sociology (survey research) or in Anthropology (ethnography) or in economics (cost-benefit analysis) or in the interpretive branches of history, philosophy, and literary criticism. The variety of complementary approaches housed within the same department is the great strength of Political Science as an undergraduate major. The major is excellent preparation for those planning to go on to law or public policy schools, as well as to graduate work in Political Science. Majors in the department have gone on to careers both in this country and abroad in public service, journalism, law, education, and administration.

Majoring in Political Science at Bryn Mawr: Getting Started

The study of politics covers a wide ground, and the Political Science major is designed to give students an opportunity to focus their study while also attending to questions, issues, and problems that run through the study of politics more generally, and that connect the study of politics to other fields.. While there are many such questions, issues, and problems, we have organized the major along the lines of four general themes/categories. These "fields" of inquiry are:

  • Identity and Difference;
  • Policy Formation and Political Action;
  • Interdependence and Conflict; and
  • Political Theory.

Political Science, 101, which is required of all majors, is designed to introduce students to the study of politics in general and to these four themes/ categories. Political Science majors are not required to take 101 as their first course; and while some students will choose to begin with 101, others (including those who may not know whether they wish to major in Political Science) may well prefer to begin their study of politics with a different course at the 100- or 200- level. However, those who intend to major in Political Science are expected to take no more than two other courses prior to taking Political Science 101 and to complete Political Science 101 before the end of their sophomore year.

Students who wish to declare Political Science as a major should choose an advisor, who can be any member of the Political Science faculty. It is generally best to choose an advisor whose courses are in at least one substantive area in which the student intends to focus. Prior to declaring a major, students are required to have completed 101 and to write a brief essay (2-3 pages) on the kinds of questions or problems that they would like to pursue in the study of politics. The essay should be discussed in advance with the student's advisor and should be submitted to the advisor. Based on the essay, the student and the advisor will formulate a tentative course plan for the major.

Courses offered in the Political Science Department at Haverford count fully as credits toward the Bryn Mawr major. Majors in the Bryn Mawr department must take at least three of their major courses here (in addition to 101 and 398-399). It is therefore strongly advised that at least one of your initial courses in Political Science be taken at Bryn Mawr.

Purpose

The major in Political Science develops reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for a critical understanding of the political world. Course work includes a variety of approaches to the study of politics: historical/interpretive, quantitative/deductive, and philosophical. Using these approaches, students examine political life in a variety of contexts, from neighborhoods to global systems, asking questions about the ways humans have addressed the organization of society, the management of conflicts, or the structure of power and authority.

Course Requirements

The Political Science major consists of a minimum of 10 courses:

  1. Political Science 101;
  2. Two concentrations, at least one of which should be from among the four themes/categories. The second concentration will ordinarily be chosen as well from those themes/categories, but it can also be based on a more substantive focus, to be determined in consultation with the student's advisor. Each concentration requires a total of 3 courses, at least one of which must be at the 300-level and all of which must be either at the 200- or 300- level.
  3. Senior Conference and Senior Essay (to be taken in the fall and spring terms of the senior year and during which students will conceptualize, research, and write their senior thesis);
  4. One additional course, which may be at any level; and
  5. At least three of the courses, in addition to 101, 398 and 399, must be taken in the Bryn Mawr Political Science Department.

Major Credit for Courses Outside the Political Science Department

Up to three courses from departments other than Political Science may be offered for major credit, if in the judgment of the department these courses are an integral part of a student's major plan. This may occur when courses taken in related departments or programs (such as History, Sociology, Philosophy, Africana Studies, East Asian Studies, and Economics) are closely linked with courses the student takes in Political Science. For example, a student with a focus in "Interdependence and Conflict" may count a relevant course in psychology, or history, or sociology, etc.; a student with a focus in international politics may count a course in international economics, and so on. Decisions as to which outside courses are countable for Political Science major credit are made by the faculty on a case by case basis: when in doubt, consult your major advisor or the department chair. Ordinarily, 100 level or other introductory courses (non-Political Science) taken in related departments may not be used for major credit in Political Science.

Departmental Honors

Students who have done distinguished work in their courses in the major and who write outstanding senior essays will be considered for departmental honors.

Haverford Political Science Courses

All Haverford Political Science courses will count toward the Bryn Mawr major (the same is generally true for courses at Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania); courses taken in related departments at Haverford will be considered for major credit in the same way as similar courses taken at Bryn Mawr. Everyone majoring in Political Science at Bryn Mawr must take at least three courses in Political Science at Bryn Mawr, not counting Political Science 101, 398 and 399.

Minor Requirements

What is Political Science, and what will the minor prepare me for?

Political Science is the study of justice and authority, peace and conflict, public policies and elections, government and law, democracy and autocracy, freedom and oppression. More than any other social science, Political Science pursues a wide variety of approaches in explaining how and why political events and institutions come about as they do, and in evaluating ways in which polities, policies, and leaders are good and bad, laudable and criticizable. Some of these approaches are like those found in Sociology (survey research) or in Anthropology (ethnography) or in Economics (cost-benefit analysis) or in the interpretive branches of history, philosophy, and literary criticism. The variety of complementary approaches housed within the same department is the great strength of Political Science as an undergraduate major or minor.

Course Requirements

A minor in political science consists of six courses distributed across at least two fields, at least four of which must be at the 200 or 300 level and at least two of which must be at the 300 level. At least three of the courses must be taken from the Bryn Mawr Department of Political Science course offerings.

The four fields are:

  • Identity and Difference;
  • Policy Formation and Political Action;
  • Interdependence and Conflict; and
  • Political Theory.

Course Designations

Almost every course offered in the Political Science Department at Bryn Mawr and Haverford will count for at least one of the four fields, and some may count for more than one. (No single course, however, may be counted as part of more than one field of concentration.) Many courses offered at Swarthmore and Penn will also count towards these. If there are courses offered at Bryn Mawr of Haverford that are not found on the list below, students should consult their advisor or the Political Science Department Chair to determine the proper designation. Designation for courses offered at Swarthmore and Penn should be discussed with a student's advisor, or if she does not have an advisor, with the Political Science Chair.

Identity and Difference

123 American Politics: Difference and Discrimination (H)
131 Comparative Politics
206 Conflict & Conflict Management
220 Constitutional Law
226 Social Movement Theory (H)
228 Introduction to Political Philosophy: Ancient and Early Modern
229 Latino Politics in the U.S. (H)
231 Introduction to Political Philosophy: Modern
235 African Politics (H)
242 Women in War and Peace (H)
245 Philosophy of Law
248 Modern Middle East Cities
253 Feminist Theory
282 The Exotic Other
285 Religion and the Limits of Liberalism (H)
286 Religion and American Public Life (H)
287 Media and Politics: The Middle East Transformed
316 Ethnic Group Politics--Identity and conflict
320 Democracy in America (H)
336 Democracy and Democratization (H)
340 Postcolonialism and the Politics of Nation-building (H)
345 Islam, Democracy and Development (H)
348 Culture and Ethnic Conflict identity and conflict
358 Political Psychology and Ethnic Conflict
370 Becoming a People: Power, Justice, and the Political (H)
375 Perspectives on Work, and Family in the U.S.
379 Feminist Political Theory (H)
383 Islamic Reform and Radicalism

Policy Formation and Political Action

121 American Politics
121 American Politics and Its Dynamics (H)
123 American Politics: Difference and Discrimination (H)
131 Comparative Government and Politics (H)
131 Comparative Politics
205 European Politics
222 Introduction to Environmental Issues: Policy Making in Comparative Perspective
223 American Political Process: The Congress (H)
224 The American Presidency (H)
225 Mobilization Politics (H)
226 Social Movement Theory (H)
227 Urban Politics (H)
228 Urban Policy (H)
230 Topics in Comparative Politics (H)
235 African Politics (H)
237 Latin American Politics (H)
242 Women in War and Peace (H)
248 Modern Middle East Cities
249 The Soviet System and Its Demise (H)
254 Bureaucracy and Democracy
257 The State System (H)
259 Comparative Social Movements in Latin American
265 Politics, Markets and Theories of Capitalism (H)
274 Education Politics and Policy
278 Oil, Politics, Society, and Economy
279 State Transformation/Conflict
288 The Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa
287 Media and Politics: The Middle East Transformed
308 Political Transformation in Eastern and Western Europe: Germany and Its Neighbors
310 Comparative Public Policy
314 Strategic Advocacy: Lobbying & Interest Group Politics in Washington, D.C. (H)
315 Public Policy Analysis (H)
320 Democracy in America (H)
321 Technology and Politics
325 Grassroots Politics in Philadelphia (H)
333 Transformations in American Politics: late 20th-early 21st century
334 Politics of Violence (H)
339 The Policymaking Process
345 Islam, Democracy and Development (H)
354 Comparative Social Movements: Power, Protest, and Mobilization
375 Perspectives on Work and Family in the U.S.
378 Origins of American Constitutionalism
385 Democracy and Development
393 US Welfare Politics: Theory and Practice

Interdependence and Conflict

151 International Politics (H)
205 European Politics
206 Conflict & Conflict Management
211 Politics of Humanitarianism
233 Perspectives on Civil War and Revolution: Southern Europe and Central America (H)
235 Transitional Justice in Post-Conflict Societies
239 The United States and Latin America (H)
240 Inter-American Dialogue (H)
242 Women in War and Peace (H)
247 Political Economy of Developing Countries (H)
248 Modern Middle East Cities
250 International Politics
252 International Politics of the Middle East (H)
253 Introduction to Terrorism Studies (H)
256 The Evolution of the Jihadi Movement (H)
258 The Politics of International Institutions (H)
259 American Foreign Policy (H)
261 Global Civil Society (H)
262 Human Rights and Global Politics (H)
264 Politics of Commodities
265 Politics, Markets and Theories of Capitalism (H)
278 Oil, Politics, Society, and Economy
279 State Transformation/Conflict
283 Modern Middle East/North Africa
288 The Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa
287 Media and Politics: The Middle East Transformed
308 Political Transformation in Eastern and Western Europe: Germany and Its Neighbors
316 Ethnic Group Politics--Identity and conflict
339 Transitional Justice (H)
347 Advanced Issues in Peace and Conflict
340 Postcolonialism and the Politics of Nation-building (H)
348 Culture and Ethnic Conflict identity and conflict
350 Topics in International Politics (H)
357 International Relations Theory: Conflict and the Middle East (H)
358 The War on Terrorism (H)
358 Political Psychology and Ethnic Conflict
361 Democracy and Global Governance (H)
362 Global Justice (H)
365 Solidarity Economy Movements (H)
378 Origins of American Constitutionalism
379 The United Nations and World Order
383 Islamic Reform and Radicalism
385 Democracy and Development
392 State in Theory and History

Political Theory

171 Introduction to Political Theory: Democratic Authority (H)
228 Introduction to Political Philosophy: Ancient and Early Modern
231 Introduction to Political Philosophy: Modern
234 Legal Rights in the Administrative State
245 Philosophy of Law
253 Feminist Theory
266 Sovereignty (H)
272 Democratic Theory: Membership, Citizenship and Community (H)
276 American Political Thought from Founding to Civil War (H)
277 American Political Thought: Post Civil War (H)
284 Modernity and its Discontents
300 Nietzsche, Kant, Plato: Modes of Practical Philosophy
320 Greek Political Philosophy
327 Political Philosophy: 1950-Present
336 Democracy and Democratization (H)
365 Erotica: Love and Art in Plato and Shakespeare
370 Becoming a People: Power, Justice, and the Political (H)
371 Topics in Legal and Political Philosophy
378 Origins of American Constitutionalism
379 Feminist Political Theory (H)
380 Persons, Morality and Modernity
381 Nietzsche, Self, and Morality
392 State in Theory and History

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