Tracks of Study

The Political Science Department offers the following suggested tracks of study and related coursework for students declaring the Political Science major:


Power, Citizenship, and Civic EngagementCitizenship can be understood as the prerogatives and obligations attached to membership in a political community. As such it necessarily addresses questions of inclusion, exclusion and the politics of belonging. The Power, Citizenship and Civic Engagement Track focuses on how norms and rules of citizenship are defined and change over time, how citizens and non-citizens shape politics both formally and informally, and how citizenship practices, political participation and civic engagement may vary across time, place, groups, cultures.  For a list of suggested courses for this track click here.


Justice, Inequality, and IdentityGrowing inequality in many areas of the world and the continuing struggles marginalized groups have waged against injustice highlight the importance of examining the concepts of justice, inequality, and identity. Courses in this track look at different conceptions of justice; dimensions of inequality; how political institutions and ideas can both cause and provide the resources to challenge injustice; the political context of injustice; and the ways different groups of people—racial, ethnic, class, sexuality, and gender-based—seek justice.   For a list of suggested courses for this track click here.


Global Affairs:  The Global Affairs track focuses on studying international political, economic, and social issues. It also examines different countries in the world and how they interact with one another. Pick one of the issue areas, or mix and match across them.    For a list of suggested courses for this track click here.


Sustainability:  Different approaches to how human societies can live within the boundaries of nature and the material world.  Sustainability refers to conservation of the earth’s ability to be inhabitable by humans and other species but also to the capacity of societies to create the conditions for economic development to occur, and the creation of communities where people of diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds can work together to solve common problems.  The sustainability track focuses particularly on the role played by politics and political institutions as societies sometimes succeed and sometimes fail in resolving environmental problems in this more broadly conceived manner.    For a list of suggested courses for this track click here.


Law:  Law is an essential component of every state-based political system in the world.  Governments use law to regulate not only the behavior of individuals and groups, but also to impose limits on themselves under the “rule of law,” an indispensable feature of all democratic governments.  The two tracks in law suggest courses that will help students examine how law is used in various contexts within government, society, and human affairs more broadly.  For a list of suggested courses for this track click here.