Topics of interest to political scientists include how governments function and should function; differences and similarities among the approximately 200 national political systems in the world; relations between and among the nations of the world as well as the role of nongovernmental actors in these relations; and ways of better understanding such phenomena as authority, conflict, legitimacy, political parties, elections, interest groups, international organizations, coup d'etats, and executive, legislative and judicial decision-making.
The department offers both a major and a minor in Political Science. In the political science department at DePauw, as in virtually every political science department in the United States, a disproportionate number of courses treat the American political system. But there are also courses on political systems in other countries and regions (Europe,the Middle East,China, India, and the Third World more generally), on relations among and between nations, and on issues and questions that transcend the politics of any particular place.
Many Political Science students enhance their understanding of politics through relevant off-campus experiences, including internships in various government offices, participation in election campaigns, Winter Term travel, and studying overseas or in Washington for a semester.
Political Science majors and minors have gone on to successful careers in elected and appointed government positions, journalism, business, research, teaching, and law.
Students wishing to count courses taken off campus toward a major or minor in political science must have prior approval from their academic advisor and the chair of the department. It is not recommended that courses substituting for POLS 110, 130, 150 or 170 be taken off-campus.
Courses in Political Science
POLS 110 American National Government. (1 course, Social Science)
This course will serves as an introduction to the American political system. The three branches of the national government and the roles of political parties, elections, public opinion, interest groups, and other political actors will be addressed. Each section will use a different lens to study American National Government: POLS 110A American National Government; POLS 110B American Government: The Political System Today; POLS 110C American National Government: Race and Privilege; POLS 110D American National Government: The Data; POLS 110E American National Government: The Power of Individuals.
POLS 130 Elements of Political Theory. (1 course, Social Science)
This course offers an introduction to selected topics in Political Theory. It covers a range of thinkers, from the ancient Greeks to the Enlightenment thinkers of Europe and closes on a contemporary note that asks us to reflect on the theoretical underpinnings of our time. It explores the political implications and limits of texts by Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, Mill, Burke, Marx, and Arendt, reading them in chronological order with an eye toward changes in concerns and concepts across time.
POLS 150 Comparative Politics and Government. (1 course, Social Science)
An examination of major theories of comparative politics applicable to liberal democratic, communist and developing Third World systems. Theories of modernization and development, functionalism, systems analysis, dependency and underdevelopment, political economy, state-society relations, corporatism and neo-corporatism in both Western and non-Western settings.