Requirements for the Major
Political Science is a highly diverse field united around a core interest. Political scientists study power, and especially power used for public purposes: how it is created, organized, distributed, justified, used, resisted, and sometimes destroyed. American political science is traditionally divided into four subfields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory and Public Law. Students may choose to study within one of these subfields or may choose courses according to some other intellectual plan.
Prerequisite: One course in statistics and the methods of social science: GOVT 10, ECON 10, or MATH 10. Another course in statistics and the methods of social science may be substituted for GOVT 10, with permission of the department chair, in consultation with the full-time department faculty members who teach GOVT 10.
Requirements: The Government Major comprises at least ten courses chosen to constitute an intellectually coherent program. (The prerequisite is not considered one of the ten courses). These courses should include:
- Two introductory courses.
- Six additional courses at any level.
- An advanced seminar or the Honors Program as the Senior Culminating Experience (see below).
- An additional advanced seminar.
The Culminating Experience. To meet the requirement of an integrative academic experience in the Major, all Majors will be required to complete one of the following:
- Advanced Seminar (GOVT 80–89) . To complete the Major in Government, a student must take an advanced seminar consistent with the goals of the student’s program. Seminar requirements will include a research paper in which each student has the opportunity to integrate material from the study of political science in the analysis of a specific issue or phenomenon. It is expected that under normal circumstances seminar size will not exceed 016. Students are encouraged to take additional advanced seminars.
- Honors Program. The Department offers an Honors Program. Seniors participating in the program and completing the thesis (whether or not they receive honors) will thereby fulfill the culminating experience requirement. Those who enter the program and do not finish the thesis, but complete at least one term of the program, may, with the approval of the Director(s) of the Honors Program, be given credit for GOVT 80.
- Third Upper-Level Course. This option is available only to students who can show that neither the Honors Program nor an advanced seminar will be available or appropriate for meeting the requirement. A student may petition to satisfy the requirement by writing an extensive paper (approximately 25 pages) in an additional upper-level course consistent with the student’s program. This option requires both Departmental permission and the written approval of the instructor and must be recorded before the term in which the course is taken. Instructors will not approve these requests unless they will be able to devote time outside class meetings to directing the student’s work.
Requirements for the Minor
The Minor in Government shall consist of:
- Two introductory courses;
- Four upper-level courses, chosen to constitute an intellectually coherent pro-gram (GOVT 10 may count as one of the upper-level courses);
- One advanced seminar consistent with the goals of the student’s program.
- Under College policy, GOVT 7 (First-Year Seminar) may not be counted toward the Minor.
- Transfer students will normally be expected to complete at least four of the seven courses required for the Minor on campus, or in courses taught by members of the Department.
As a consequence of the introduction of the Minor, the Department of Government has discontinued the Modified Major, effective with the class of 2003. This includes both Modified Majors in which Government was the primary component (e.g., Government Modified with History) and those in which it was the secondary component (e.g., History Modified with Government). Students who seek to modify a Major in another department with courses in Government may do so by using the option of a Modified Major without indication of the secondary department (e.g. History Modified).
Government courses may not be taken under the Non-Recorded Option (NRO).
Career Counseling and Special Programs
Department faculty members serve as advisors to all students Majoring in Government. In addition, designated members of the staff advise students who are considering graduate work and those who may wish to pursue careers in law, diplomacy, politics, or other aspects of public affairs. Members of the Department also assist the Rockefeller Center in the administration of a variety of special student internship programs.
Off-Campus Program in London
The Department of Government sponsors a foreign study program at the London School of Economics and Political Science during the fall term. Sixteen students will be selected for the program during the preceding winter term; GOVT 004 and GOVT 005 or equivalents serve as prerequisites. Equivalents for GOVT 004 and GOVT 005 must be approved by the program director. Students take two courses with members of the LSE Department of International Relations (GOVT 090 and GOVT 091). The third course (GOVT 092) is a seminar with the Dartmouth faculty member accompanying the group. For further information, see one of the following staff members: Vandewalle, Winters, or Lind .
Off-Campus Program in Washington
Students in any Major may apply to participate in the Government Department’s off-campus program, which is held in Washington, D.C., during the spring term. The program offers three course credits for the following: an internship journal that relates the work experience to the academic studies (GOVT 93), and two seminars dealing with the federal budget and separation of powers (GOVT 94 and GOVT 95), offered in Washington by the supervising faculty member. Applications are received during the fall, and inter-views and selections occur during that term. In Washington, students spend their time on an internship or research during the day, two weekly seminars, and guest speakers drawn from the Washington community (officials, reporters, lobbyists). For further information, see one of the following staff members: Bafumi or Winters.
The Government Department Honors Program provides qualified undergraduates with an opportunity to complete independent research under the supervision of the members of the Department. Participants define and analyze a specific issue or hypothesis in the field of political science and write a thesis (normally 75 to 125 pages in length). Students should consider the possibility of participating in the Honors Program when first planning their Major. Students must take courses providing necessary preparation in their sophomore and junior years and an advanced seminar in their junior year to allow them to develop a proposal. Students interested in participating in the Government Department Honors Program should obtain information on the Program from the Department Office.
Formally, the Honors Program consists of submission and acceptance of a proposal by the end of the spring term of the junior year and of completion of an Honors thesis within the framework of a two-course sequence during the senior year: GOVT 98 (fall) and GOVT 99 (winter).
Each student writing an Honors thesis will be supervised by an advisor or advisors who, insofar as possible, have expertise in the area concerned. Students are responsible for securing an advisor from the Government Department by the end of the spring term of their junior year. Participation in Government 98 and 99 also entails regular interaction among Honors students under the direction of the Department’s Honors Program Director(s). The Director(s) share with thesis advisors responsibility for determining grades for the two courses.
Admission to the Honors Program and enrollment in GOVT 98 are granted by the Directors if the following requirements are met:
- Grade point average of 3.3 or higher overall and 3.5 or higher in the Major.
- Completion of five Government courses, plus the methods and statistics prerequisite to the Major (Government 10 or its equivalents). These five courses must include the introductory course, two upper-level courses and one advanced seminar.
- Submission of a proposal by the end of the junior year, and approval by the advisor and the Honors Program Director(s).
- A written statement by a faculty advisor, submitted as part of the thesis proposal, supporting the proposed thesis and indicating a willingness to supervise the student. Advisors must confirm that they will be in residence during the terms when they have responsibility for supervising the Honors thesis.
Admission to the Honors Program will be granted by the Director(s) of the Honors Program and advisor(s) if they approve the thesis proposal and are satisfied that the student has the ability to conduct the necessary research. Students enrolled in GOVT 098 who, for any reason, cannot continue in the Honors Program may have their course enrollment converted to GOVT 080 (Readings in Government) and complete the requirements for this course under the supervision of their original advisors. Conversion must be formally recorded with the Registrar.
Please check the Department website at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~govt/ for further information, including updated course offerings.