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Academic Bulletin Department of Political Science - 2015-16

Department of Political Science

Faculty in the Department of Political Science: Peter Mikek (chair), Shamira Gelbman, Scott Himsel, Alexandra Hoerl, Ethan Hollander*, Kayce Mobley, and Matthew Wells

*On leave, full year


Aristotle called politics “the queen of the sciences.” Knowledge of politics is important for all liberally educated people. At Wabash, the department offers introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses to all students in four areas: American politics, comparative politics, political theory, and international relations. We offer opportunities for non-majors to seek answers to perennial questions of politics and to learn more about how government works in their own country and around the world.


By studying political science, students learn to analyze and interpret the significance of political events and governmental processes in order to understand, evaluate, and even shape them. As a department, we hope to turn interested students, whatever their career plans or other interests, into politically literate college graduates who are able to comprehend their political world in ways appropriate to their individual inclinations, as intelligent and responsible citizens, journalists, attorneys, active participants in business, community or electoral politics, as candidates for office, public officials, or academic political scientists.

Requirements for the Major: Majors in Political Science are required to take nine course credits (and may take as many as eleven) distributed as follows:

  • Four introductory courses:

PSC 111—Introduction to American Politics

PSC 121—Introduction to Comparative Politics

PSC 131—Introduction to Political Theory

PSC 141—Introduction to International Politics

The Political Science Department encourages all prospective majors to complete these four introductory courses during their first two years. 

  • Four 200- or 300-level political science courses (Students may count PSC 297 as one of these four courses.)
  • Political Science majors must complete one full credit (or two half credits) in a statistics course. These include PSC 297; or MAT 103 & 104; or DV3 252/ECO 253; or PSY 201. Students are strongly encouraged to complete this requirement before the start of their junior year.
  • PSC 497—Senior Seminar in Political Science (a fall semester course).
  • Collateral requirements: Political Science majors are also required to take ECO 101 and HIS 102.

Note: Students may count either PHI 213 (Philosophy of Law) or a departmentally-approved offering listed under PHI 219 (Topic in Ethics and Social Philosophy) toward the major or minor in Political Science. No more than one course credit in Philosophy may be counted toward the Political Science major or minor. 

The following chart summarizes the requirements for a major in Political Science:

American Politics

Comparative Politics

Political Theory

International Relations

Notes and Suggestions

111: Intro to American Gov’t

121: Intro to Comparative Politics

131: Intro to Political Theory

141: Intro to Int’l Relations

These introductory courses are ideally completed in your first two years.

ECO 101     and     HIS 102

PSC 297      or       MAT 103 & 104      or      DV3 252 & ECO 253       or      PSY 201

Political Science majors must complete one full credit (or two half-credits) in a statistics course. Note that these courses may also fulfill your quantitative studies distribution requirement.

210: Intermediate Topics in Am. Politics

310: Advanced Topics in Am. Politics

311: Congress and the Executive

312: Parties, Elections & Pressure Groups

313: Constitutional Law

314: Topics in Constitutional Law

315: Religious Freedom

316: Public Policy

317: State and Local Politics

220: Intermediate Topics in Comp. Politics

320: Advanced Topics in Comp. Politics

322: Politics of the European Union

324: Economic and Political Development

325: Politics of Latin America and the Caribbean

326: Politics of the Middle East

327: Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict

230: Intermediate Topics in Political Theory

330: Advanced Topics in Political Theory

331: History of Political Thought: Ancient and Medieval

335: History of Political Thought: Renaissance and Modern

336: American Political Thought

338: Contemporary Political Theory

240: Intermediate Topics in Int’l Relations

340: Advanced Topics in Int’l Relations

343: Civil-Military Relations

344: Insurgency, Revolution & Terrorism

346: American Foreign Policy

347: Conflict, War, and Peace

348: International Organizations

These are intermediate and advanced courses in Political Science. A political science major must take four of these courses. Students who complete their statistics requirement with PSC 297 (above) only have to take three of these courses.


PSC 497: Senior Seminar

This course is restricted to and required for Political Science majors. It is taken in the Fall of your senior year.


The Senior Comprehensive Examination: The comprehensive consists of six hours of written examinations administered over two days. The student must also pass the oral component of the examination.

Requirements for the Minor: Political Science minors are required to take five course credits, distributed as follows:

• Two of the four introductory courses, PSC 111, 121, 131, 141

• Three 200- or 300-level Political Science courses

Advanced Placement: Students who have received a score of 4 or higher on either the AP Comparative Government or AP United States Government exams will receive one back-credit upon completing a 300-level course in American politics (to receive credit for AP US Government) or comparative politics (to receive credit for AP Comparative Government) with a grade of B- or higher.

Secondary Licensure Program: The Department of Education Studies offers a minor in Education Studies, and an additional licensure preparation program for students interested in becoming licensed to teach at the secondary level (middle and high school grades 5-12). With a major in this department and a minor in Education Studies, students may also choose to complete the licensure preparation program by applying in the spring of the junior year. For more information about the licensure program, students are advised to meet with faculty in the Department of Education Studies. Requirements for the minor and licensure preparation program are outlined in the Department of Education Studies section of the Academic Bulletin.