Courses and Path Through the Major

The Political Science Department offers courses in four subfields: American Politics and Public Policy; Comparative Politics; International Relations; and Political Theory. There is also a required course in Analyzing Politics and Policy. Political science course descriptions and requirements are listed in the current St Olaf College Catalog.

You will take nine classes towards completion of your political science major. We invite you to plan them as a whole set that allows you to graduate from St Olaf having gained all of the following:

  1. Understanding of political institutions and processes, both domestic and international.
  2. Understanding of normative and explanatory theories, both classic and contemporary, concerning the state, society, and justice.
  3. Familiarity with diverse geographic, ethnic, racial, gender-based, cultural, and temporal perspectives on political issues and public life.
  4. The ability to develop an argument, and to support it with scholarly and empirical evidence, in clear and engaging prose.
  5. The capacity to be knowledgeable, thoughtful, and effective citizens.

While considering your path through the major, please reflect on the following questions:

  • Which classes most interest you? How do you think they will help you meet these goals? Which co-curricular activities might support your path through the major?
  • Will language study and/or study off campus be part of your political science education?
  • How will you choose courses that enrich and complement your political science studies? Anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, sociology, statistics are the most common, but the liberal arts ethos may call you in different directions.

Keep track of your progress towards these goals, and the formal requirements of the major, for each advising visit. You might also use your replies to these questions when you write about your political science major in internship, graduate school and job applications.

American Politics Courses

111 Intro American Politics
211 Media and Politics
244 Race and Politics
246 Intro to Public Policy
255 Parties and Elections
272 American Constitutional Law
ES276 Environmental Politics
299 Topics
311 Sem: American Politics
399 Topics

Comparative Politics Courses

112 Intro Comparative Politics
115 Global Democracy
117 Intro Human Rights
AS/PS 250 Politics in Asia
252 Politics and Development
AS/PS 254 Japanese Politics and Society
264 Latin American Politics
282 Russian/Eurasian Politics
299 Topics
350 Sem: Immigration and Citizenship
367 Sem: Latin American Politics
370 Sem: Courageous Resistance
382 Sem: Geopolitics Eurasian Energy
385 Sem: Becoming European
399 Topics

International Relations

115 Global Democracy
119 Problem of War
121 Intro International Relations
ES201 Global Environmental Politics
AS/PS245 Asian Regionalism
257 US/Latin American Relations
258 World Politics
CAR274 Pol Psych of Pres Foreign Politics
285 International Law
299 Topics
321 Sem: International Relations
399 Topics

Political Theory

113 Intro Political Theory
119 Problem of War
ES225 Env. Political Theory
232 American Political Thought
259 History Classical Political Thought
260 History Modern Political Thought
278 Ambition and Leadership
284 Citizenship War and Terror
299 Topics
384 Sem: Studies in Political Thought
399 Topics