President Mark D. Gearan teaching a Political Science class

The Political Science department offers courses in four subfields of political science: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political philosophy and theory. Focus is placed on factors that shape politics today like wealth and power, ethnicity and race, and gender and nationality, as well as developing the analytical skills necessary to succeed in education and life.

Political Science offers a disciplinary major, a B.A., and a disciplinary minor.


If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in Political Science or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue


Requirements for the Major (B.A.)

disciplinary, 10 courses

Two introductory courses from among POL 110, POL 140, POL 160, and POL 180; one course in each of the four subfields (the introductory courses count); a seminar in the junior and senior years; and a group of four courses, one of which may be outside the department, that define a theme or focus and are approved by the adviser. Except for seminars, no more than four courses in any one subfield count toward the major.

Requirements for the Minor

disciplinary, 5 courses

Five political science courses in at least three separate subfields (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory), three of which must be at the 200-level or higher.


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with an understanding of the important political questions that surround issues of power.

Below, you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular classes, as well as suggestions for making Political Science a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

POL 236 Urban Politics and Public Policy


Examine the structure of urban governments and the concentration of power in urban settings as they relate to the interactions between city, state and national governments. Once you've acquired an understanding of modern urban politics, study the urbanization of American society as it has evolved from the colonial period to the present in HIST 215, American Urban History.

POL 254 Globalization


Discover how international mobility of capital and labor transforms both lives and politics in different ways and in different places. Once you've learned what globalization is and how it works, enroll in ENG 246, Globalism and Literature, and examine what it means to be a transnational subject.

POL 320 Mass Media


With a Plato-like philosophy of reality, assuming that we see only shadows, not realities, analyze the fundamental question about our ability to be self-governing when our understanding of politics is determined not by the events themselves, but by those who create and report them. After you've examined the ways events are presented by the mass media, learn about howthe West was idealized through the media in MDSC 204, Imagining the West: The Myth and the Media.



Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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