Jul 17, 2024  
2023-2024 Scripps Catalog 

Politics Major

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Requirements for the Major

A major in Politics requires a minimum of 11 courses including senior thesis.

Students are strongly encouraged to satisfy their GE mathematics requirement with a course in statistics or logic.

Breadth of study (three courses):

Students must take three of the following six survey courses:

Students should take the above courses as early as possible in their academic program. Introductory survey courses may be taken off-campus with approval of your major advisor.

Subfield concentrations (four courses):

Students must pursue a concentration in any two of the following six subfields:

  • Global Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Economy
  • Political Theory
  • Public Policy
  • American Politics

A minimum of two courses (besides the associated survey course) must be taken from each of the two subfields, for a total of four courses.

To fulfill the subfield requirement the course MUST be a course in political science, or a course cross-listed with Politics even if taught in another department.This includes Government at CMC, Political Studies at Pitzer, and Politics at Pomona. Students will consult with their major advisor to determine whether or not a course qualifies for a subfield requirement.

Some courses can count towards different subfields, but your subfield concentration courses must be distinct. For example, the same course may count for the US politics or the public policy subfield, but if your two subfield concentrations are US politics and public policy, you must have two distinct courses for each subfield, without double counting between them.

Focus (four courses):

In consultation with their major advisor, students will select four courses that help them build expertise in a specific topic or area. This is known as the ‘focus.’ Up to two subfield concentration courses can double count toward the ‘focus,’ and relevant courses from other disciplines can be counted.

Research Skills Requirement (one course):

Students are required to take one research skills class by the fall of their senior year. Majors should consult with their advisor to identify a research skills class best suited to build skills they need for their goals in the major. Appropriate classes offered by the Politics department include: POLI 180 Research Design in the Social Sciences, and POLI 184 Qualitative Approaches to Comparative Political Analysis (offered in alternate years). Other social science research methods classes on other campuses, such as Research Methods in Political Studies (PZ), Qualitative Research Methods in Sociology (PO), or Stats and Data Analysis in Political Studies (PZ), or their equivalents, as well as classes in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), can also count for the research skills requirement. Students seeking to write theses in political theory can fulfill the research skills requirement by completing a theory-based research paper of significant length within the parameters of an existing political theory course. Classes that develop skills in participatory community research may count as well.

Senior Thesis (one course):

Honors Requirements:

The Department of Politics awards honors within the major to students who meet the following requirements:

1. A grade point average in the major of at least 3.67.
2. A grade of A- or better on the senior thesis.
3. An oral presentation, either to a wider audience, or in the form of an oral viva/defense with their thesis readers.

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