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BA Political Science

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

4 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

68230 USD
68230 USD

Application fee

International 80 USD
National 80 USD
Department of Political Science
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
SAT (avg)1425
ACT (avg)34

World University Ranking

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About this course

Students are encouraged to take courses related to political science that are offered by other departments. Students who elect the standard program may petition to count up to two such courses toward the major. Students may routinely count college seminars taught by members of the Political Science faculty toward the major, and they may petition to count one college seminar taught by an instructor outside the department. Students who have completed Directed Studies may, with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies, count one term of DRST 005, 006 toward the major.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria



Number of courses 

Standard major—12 term courses; intensive major—15 term courses

Distribution of courses 

2 courses in each of 3 of the 5 departmental fields

Substitution permitted 

2 courses from other depts with DUS approval

Senior requirement 

2 sems, 1 in senior year, and 1-term senior essay in sem or in PLSC 480; or 1 sem as specified and 2-term senior essay in PLSC 490, 491

Intensive major 

PLSC 474; 2 courses in each of 3 of the 5 departmental fields; 1 sem as specified and 2-term senior essay in PLSC 490, 493

English language requirement:

  • IELTS: 7
  • TOEFL-IBT: 100
  • TOEFL- PBT: 600
  • SAT: 1425
  • ACT: 34

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

Introductory Courses
* PLSC 030a, Law and the Limits of Freedom  Alexander Rosas

This course evaluates the desired role of law in free and modern societies and dissects, more broadly, the relationship between law, the state, and the individual in such societies. Particularly, this course considers when, if ever, it is appropriate to use law to limit freedom in the name of equality, security, community, utility, and/or morality. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  SO
TTh 4pm-5:15pm
PLSC 111b, Introduction to International Relations  Nuno Monteiro

Key questions and issues in international relations, including both the evolution of the international system over the last century and topics in contemporary world politics. Causes and conduct of war, sources of order, the emergence of new actors, the spread of norms, and evolution of the global economy.  SO
PLSC 113b, Introduction to American Politics  Staff

Introduction to American national government. The Constitution, American political culture, civil rights, Congress, the executive, political parties, public opinion, interest groups, the media, social movements, and the policy-making process.  SO
PLSC 114a, Introduction to Political Philosophy  Bryan Garsten

Fundamental issues in contemporary politics investigated through reflection on classic texts in the history of political thought. Emphasis on topics linked to modern constitutional democracies, including executive power, representation, and political parties. Readings from Plato, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Madison and Hamilton, Lincoln, and Tocqueville, in addition to recent articles on contemporary issues.  SO
EPE: Intro Political Phil
TTh 10:30am-11:20am
PLSC 116a, Comparative Politics: States, Regimes, and Conflict  Adria Lawrence

Introduction to the study of politics and political life in the world outside the United States. State formation and nationalism, the causes and consequences of democracy, the functioning of authoritarian regimes, social movements and collective action, and violence.  SO
TTh 1:30pm-2:20pm
PLSC 118b, The Moral Foundations of Politics  Ian Shapiro

An introduction to contemporary discussions about the foundations of political argument. Emphasis on the relations between political theory and policy debate (e.g., social welfare provision and affirmative action). Readings from Bentham, Mill, Marx, Burke, Rawls, Nozick, and others.  SO
EPE: Intro Political Phil
PLSC 149a / EVST 292a / GLBL 217a, Sustainability in the Twenty-First Century  Daniel Esty

Sustainability as an overarching framework for life in the twenty-first century. Ways in which this integrated policy concept diverges from the approaches to environmental protection and economic development that were pursued in the twentieth century. The interlocking challenges that stem from society's simultaneous desires for economic, environmental, and social progress despite the tensions across these realms.  SO
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm
International Relations
* PLSC 120a, The Global Politics of Artificial Intelligence  Allan Dafoe

Study of the processes in which machine intelligence transforms economic, societal, and global politics and of the political challenges in development of beneficial artificial intelligence. Topics include the provably of beneficial AI; the effects on, and of, inequality and unemployment; military conflict and strategy with autonomous weapons, cyber weapons, and AI-enabled intelligence; and determining which global institutions are best suited for providing global public goods, the legitimate aggregation of preferences, and the control of AI development.   SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm
* PLSC 123a, Political Economy of Foreign Aid  Peter Aronow

Introduction to modern quantitative research methods in international political economy, with a focus on empirical evidence related to foreign aid. The state of knowledge regarding the effects of development assistance on democratization, governance, human rights, and conflict. The challenges of drawing causal inferences in the domain of international political economy.  SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm
PLSC 128b / GLBL 247b, Development Under Fire  Jason Lyall

The recent emergence of foreign assistance as a tool of counterinsurgency and post-conflict reconciliation. Evaluation of the effects of aid in settings such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia, and the Philippines. Examination of both theory and practice of conducting development work in the shadow of violence. Strengths and weaknesses of different evaluation methods, including randomized control trials (RCTs) and survey experiments.  SO
PLSC 130b / GLBL 260b, Nuclear Politics  Alexandre Debs

The pursuit, use, and non-use of nuclear weapons from the Manhattan Project to the present. The effect of the international system, regional dynamics, alliance politics, and domestic politics in the decision to pursue or forgo nuclear weapons. The role of nuclear weapons in international relations, the history of the Cold War, and recent challenges in stemming nuclear proliferation.  SO
* PLSC 133b, Causes of War  Allan Dafoe

Examination of social, symbolic, and psychological aspects of international relations, with emphasis on the roles of perception and reputation in militarized conflict. Topics include deterrence, honor, prestige, signaling, audience costs, and international law. Rationalist, psychological, and cultural perspectives. Some attention to research design.  SO
* PLSC 135b, Media and Conflict  Graeme Wood

The theory and practice of reporting on international conflict and war, and its relation to political discourse in the United States and abroad. Materials include case studies of media coverage of war in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
* PLSC 137a or b / GLBL 274a or b, Terrorism  Bonnie Weir

Theoretical and empirical literature used to examine a host of questions about terrorism. The definition(s) of terrorism, the application of the term to individuals and groups, the historical use and potential causes of terrorism, suicide and so-called religious terrorism, dynamics within groups that use terrorism, and counterterrorism strategies and tactics. Theoretical readings supplemented by case studies.  SO
* PLSC 138a / MGRK 236a, Eurozone Crisis  Paris Aslanidis

Examination of how Europe continues to struggle with repercussions of the Great Recession and the impact of the Eurozone crisis in countries such as Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and, especially, Greece. Topics include the euro as a viable common currency; why and how the Eurozone crisis erupted and spread; and whether this catastrophe could have been averted.  SO
Th 2:30pm-4:20pm
* PLSC 141a / GLBL 279a, Global Governance  Yuriy Sergeyev

Examination of global policy problems, the acceleration of interdependence, and the role, potential, and limits of the institutions of global governance to articulate collective interests and to work out cooperative problem solving arrangements. Consideration of gaps in global governance and controversies between globalization and state sovereignty, universality, and tradition.  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm
PLSC 143a, International Challenges of the Twenty-First Century  Jolyon Howorth

Challenges facing the global community as it undergoes a power transition with the relative decline of the West and the emergence of powers such as China, India, and Brazil. Natural challenges such as demography, climate, and energy security; systemic issues related to the balance of power, economic crises, and trade globalization; new threats, including rogue states, terrorism, and WMD proliferation; regional challenges in Asia, Ukraine/Crimea, the Middle East, and Africa.  SO
MW 10:30am-11:20am
PLSC 146b / EVST 245b / F&ES 245b, Global Environmental Governance  Benjamin Cashore

The development of international environmental policy and the functioning of global environmental governance. Critical evaluation of theoretical claims in the literature and the reasoning of policy makers. Introduction of analytical and theoretical tools used to assess environmental problems. Case studies emphasize climate, forestry, and fisheries.  SO
MW 1pm-2:15pm
PLSC 148b / HMRT 100b, Theories, Practices, and Politics of Human Rights  Thania Sanchez

Introduction to core human-rights issues, ideas, practices, and controversies. The concept of human rights as a philosophical construct, a legal instrument, a political tool, an approach to economic and equity issues, a social agenda, and an international locus of contestation and legitimation. Required for students in the Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights.  SO
* PLSC 152a / EP&E 245a, Global Firms and National Governments  Joseph LaPalombara

Interactions between large-scale firms that make international investments and policy makers and government officials in the “host” countries. National and subnational officials who work to attract investments (or not) and who set policies regulating global firms and their investments. Focus on less-developed countries. Theories as to why firms “globalize”; case studies of controversies created by overseas corporate investments; the changing economic landscape associated with investments by countries such as China, Brazil, and India.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm
* PLSC 153a / GLBL 293a, Diplomacy and International Order  Robert Trager

Study of the diplomatic interaction of states on issues of war and peace. Topics include: responsibilities of diplomats for conveying information about the states they represent; international agreements and conferences; the role of mediators; differing effects of signals sent through private and public channels. Fundamental knowledge of international relations and diplomatic history.  WR, SO
W 9:25am-11:15am
* PLSC 162a, Japan and the World  Frances Rosenbluth

The historical development of Japan's international relations since the late Tokugawa period; World War II and its legacy; domestic institutions and foreign policy; implications for the United States; and interactions between nationalism and regionalism.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm
PLSC 165b, International Security  Matthew Kocher

An introduction to international security. General theories of state interests and behavior; the causes, conduct, and regulation of violence among nations.  SO
PLSC 166b, The New Europe  David Cameron

European politics since World War II, with emphasis on postwar geopolitical settlement, the development of the European Community and Union, the demise of the Soviet Union and other communist regimes, and current challenges facing Europe.  SO
* PLSC 183a / EP&E 259a, Europe, the United States, and the Iraq Crisis  Jolyon Howorth

Examination of the contrasting relations between the main European powers and the United States in their approaches to Iraq in order to understand the divisions attending the 2003 war and the subsequent transfer of sovereignty. Topics include the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88), the first Persian Gulf crisis (1990–91), the sanctions regime (1991–2002), problems of peacekeeping and nation building, and the Obama exit strategy.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm
PLSC 191b / PHIL 180b, Ethics and International Affairs  Thomas Pogge

Moral reflection taken beyond state boundaries. Traditional questions about state conduct and international relations as well as more recent questions about intergovernmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the design of global institutional arrangements.  HU
MW 9:25am-10:15am
American Government
PLSC 205a, Law, Leadership, and the Political Development of the American Presidency Stephen Skowronek

Examination of the constitutional law, historical development, and current operations of the American presidency. Topics include formal powers, the organization and mobilization of popular support, the modern executive establishment, and the politics of presidential leadership.  SO
MW 11:35am-12:25pm
* PLSC 210a, Political Preferences and American Political Behavior  Greg Huber

Introduction to research methods and topics in American political behavior. Focus on decision making from the perspective of ordinary citizens. Topics include utility theory, heuristics and biases, political participation, retrospective voting, the consequences of political ignorance, the effects of campaigns, and the ability of voters to hold politicians accountable for their actions.  SO
T 9:25am-11:15am
PLSC 211b / AFAM 325b, Social Policy and the Politics of Inequality in the United States  Vesla Weaver

The contours and consequences of inequality in the United States, including explanations for why it has expanded over the past several decades and why Americans seem to tolerate more of it. The development of the modern welfare state and the causes of racialized poverty, segregation, and incarceration.  SO
* PLSC 212a / EP&E 390a / EVST 212a, Democracy and Sustainability  Michael Fotos

Democracy, liberty, and the sustainable use of natural resources. Concepts include institutional analysis, democratic consent, property rights, market failure, and common pool resources. Topics of policy substance are related to human use of the environment and to U.S. and global political institutions.  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm
PLSC 214b, The Politics of American Public Policy  Jacob Hacker

Public policy in the United States and the methodological and theoretical tools used to study the forces that shape it. Economic and political science perspectives on the policy process and contemporary American governance. Domestic policy issues such as health care, economic inequality, job insecurity, the federal debt, environmental protection, criminal justice, financial regulation, and primary and higher education.  SO
PLSC 215b / EVST 255b / F&ES 255b, Environmental Politics and Law  John Wargo

Exploration of the politics, policy, and law associated with attempts to manage environmental quality and natural resources. Themes of democracy, liberty, power, property, equality, causation, and risk. Case histories include air quality, water quality and quantity, pesticides and toxic substances, land use, agriculture and food, parks and protected areas, and energy.  SO
TTh 10:30am-11:20am
* PLSC 217a, U.S. National Elections  Eitan Hersh

An investigation of electoral realignments, voting for president and Congress, voter turnout, incumbency advantage, nominations, and campaign finance.  SO
Th 9:25am-11:15am
* PLSC 219b / EP&E 497b / EVST 247b, Politics of the Environment  Peter Swenson

Historical and contemporary politics aimed at regulating human behavior to limit damage to the environment. Goals, strategies, successes, and failures of movements, organizations, corporations, scientists, and politicians in conflicts over environmental policy. Focus on politics in the U.S., including the role of public opinion; attention to international regulatory efforts, especially with regard to climate change.  SO
* PLSC 220b / WGSS 220b, Women and U.S. Politics  Rachel Silbermann

The role of women in current U.S. political processes and institutions. Whether American women and men differ in their political opinions and behavior. Differences in leadership between women and men as legislators, executives, and judges. Why women continue to be underrepresented as officeholders despite their voting at a rate equal to or higher than men's.  SO
* PLSC 222a / AFAM 276a, Race and the Politics of Punishment  Vesla Weaver

Historical and contemporary issues surrounding race and punishment in the American criminal justice system, with a focus on research involving institutional development, policy history, and racial orders. The influence of racial perceptions on policy preferences; ways in which the criminal justice system defines and creates race; debates about black inclusion and equality and their relation to debates about crime and punishment.   SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm
* PLSC 224b, Political Leadership  Stephen Skowronek

Examination of political leadership as both a concept and a practice. Survey of classic works by Machiavelli, Carlyle, Weber, Lenin, and Schumpeter. Consideration of the difference between transformational leadership and transactional leadership, and between executive leadership and reform leadership. Issues include the conundrum of "democratic leadership" and the role of narrative in leadership.  WR, SO
* PLSC 225a, Policing in America  Dean Esserman

Examination of major innovations in policing over the past three decades. The effects of these changes on crime control and public safety; the extent to which new approaches have been implemented in police departments; dilemmas these approaches have created for police management. Analysis of critical issues that persist in the profession, including race, the use of force, and police deviance.  SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm
PLSC 229a, Election Rules and Campaign Strategy  Eitan Hersh

Examination of political campaigns in the United States. Factors that people use to make voting decisions; the influence of election rules on candidate strategy and on voters' decision-making processes; reasons candidates choose to pursue specific strategies, and the effectiveness of those strategies at winning votes; critical analysis of opinions voiced by campaign operatives and media personalities.  SO
TTh 1:30pm-2:20pm
* PLSC 232b, Information, Technology, and Political Power  Eitan Hersh

The role of information in the political process. Effects on politics of information generated through new and old technologies; the decision-making processes of voters, mass mobilizers, and government reformers, as well as elite political actors such as campaign operatives, bureaucrats, and members of Congress; political and moral issues related to information flows, including privacy, innovation, and collective action.  SO
PLSC 233b, Constitutional Law  Akhil Reed Amar

An introduction to the main themes of the American Constitution—popular sovereignty, separation of powers, federalism, and rights—and to basic techniques of constitutional interpretation. Special emphasis on the interplay of constitutional text, judicial doctrine, and constitutional decision making outside the judiciary.  SO
* PLSC 235a, Political Journalism and Public Policy  Derek Slap

The effects of political journalism on American public policy from 1960 to the present. Focus on changes in the media during the past few decades. The Dewey-Lippmann debate on the role journalism should play in politics, marketing in the 1968 presidential campaign, broadcast news and audience fragmentation in the 1970s, media dysfunction and the Clinton and Obama health care initiatives, the Internet, hyperpartisanship, media bias, and recent gun control initiatives.  SO
F 1:30pm-3:20pm
* PLSC 236b, Presidential Campaigns and the Media  Walter Shapiro

The intersection of two institutions in the midst of major transformations—the political campaign industry and the news business. Presidential campaign coverage during the last third of the twentieth century; the beleaguered economic structure of the news business in the twenty-first century; media coverage of the 2008 and 2012 presidential races, with emphasis on how campaigns adapted to the changed news landscape and to new ways of communicating with voters.  SO
* PLSC 237a, Persuasion and Political Communication  John Henderson

The history of political communication, persuasion, and demagoguery in the American political tradition, from the design and ratification of the Constitution to modern debates over terrorism and authoritarianism. The limits of democratic deliberation and representation; elite communication strategies that influence policy making and elections.  SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm
* PLSC 241b / SOCY 365b, The Making of Political News  Matthew Mahler

The processes through which political news gets made. How the form and content of political news are shaped in and through the ongoing relationships between political operatives and journalists; ways in which these actors attempt to structure and restructure such relationships to their benefit.  SO
* PLSC 244a / EP&E 324a, Journalism, Liberalism, Democracy  James Sleeper

The news media's role in configuring the democratic public sphere, from the early synergy of print capitalism and liberalism through the corporate consolidation of mass media and the recent fragmentation and fluidity of "news." Classical-humanist and civic-republican responses to these trends.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm
* PLSC 245a / AFAM 268a, Urban Politics and Policy  Cynthia Horan

Analysis of competing approaches to urban politics and political economy with a focus on how scholars debate the study of power, race, and space. Application of theories to contemporary policy issues such as policing, metropolitan disparities, and inner-city revitalization.  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm
PLSC 248a, Political Economy of Health Care  Peter Swenson

Political and economic factors that have influenced efforts to achieve quality, economy, and equality in the delivery of American health care since the early twentieth century; some attention to international comparisons. Medical licensing; drug regulation; malpractice law; provider payment and care management; guaranteed health insurance; emergence of the private, employer-based insurance system; recent legislative actions and controversies concerning the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care. Recommended preparation: introductory microeconomics.  SO
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm
* PLSC 251b / AMST 469b / EP&E 396b, Progressivism: Theory and Practice  Stephen Skowronek

The progressive reform tradition in American politics. The tradition's conceptual underpinnings, social supports, practical manifestations in policy and in new governmental arrangements, and conservative critics. Emphasis on the origins of progressivism in the early decades of the twentieth century, with attention to latter-day manifestations and to changes in the progressive impulse over time.  SO
* PLSC 253a or b / ENGL 467a or b, Journalism  Staff

The changing role and the practice of journalism. Challenges and opportunities related to the business model of journalism in a digital, global age. Emphasis on both imaginative and critical thinking as it applies to reporting and to creating a story for maximum impact. Optional field trips to New York. The core course for Yale Journalism Scholars. No prerequisites.  WR
PLSC 254a, Political Parties in the American System  John Henderson

The evolution of American political parties and the role of parties and partisanship in contemporary government and elections. Empirical and theoretical accounts of parties, including divided government, parties in Congress, realignment, responsible party government, party identification, and ideology. Elite-led polarization, decline and resurgence of strong parties, and the antiparty constitutional tradition.  SO
TTh 11:35am-12:25pm
* PLSC 256b / EP&E 248b, American Political Institutions  Michael Fotos

The origins and development of American political institutions, especially in relation to how institutions shape the policy process. Issues of temporality, policy feedback, and policy substance.  SO
PLSC 257b, Bioethics and Law  Stephen Latham

The treatment by American law of major issues in contemporary biomedical ethics: informed consent, assisted reproduction, abortion, end-of-life care, research on human subjects, stem cell research, and public health law. Readings include legal cases, statutes, and regulations. No background in law assumed.  SO
* PLSC 265a, Classics of Political Journalism  John Stoehr

Examination of presidential campaigns and campaign reporting as a window through which to gain a wider and richer understanding of American political history. Primary texts include: The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore H. White; Miami and the Siege of Chicago by Norman Mailer; The Selling of the President 1968 by Joe McGinniss; The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse; Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 by Hunter S. Thompson; Portrait of an Election by Elizabeth Drew; Political Fictions by Joan Didion; What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer; and “Up, Simba!” by David Foster Wallace.  SO
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm
* PLSC 280b / AFAM 270b, Poverty, Politics, and Policy in the American City  Cynthia Horan

Examination of how politics informs the formulation and implementation of policies to address urban poverty. Consideration of alternative explanations for poverty and alternative government strategies. Focus on efforts by local organizations and communities to improve their situations within the context of government actions.  SO
Political Philosophy
* PLSC 283b / EP&E 235b / PHIL 457b, Recent Work on Justice  Thomas Pogge

In-depth study of one contemporary book, author, or debate in political philosophy, political theory, or normative economics. Focus varies from year to year based on student interest and may include a ground-breaking new book, the life's work of a prominent author, or an important theme in contemporary political thought.  HU
M 3:30pm-5:20pm
* PLSC 285a / HUMS 311a / PHIL 321a, Political Theology  Steven Smith

Discussion of political theology as the foundation of political authority. The question of whether authority derives from reason or revelation, or from secular or religious sources. Examination of the dialectic of secularization and religious belief in some of the writings of Hobbes, Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant, Maistre, Schmitt, and Strauss. a course in political philosophy or intellectual history.  HU, SO
* PLSC 289b / HUMS 259b, Tocqueville  Bryan Garsten

A close reading of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, along with major influences, such as Rousseau, Pascal, and Montesquieu, and near contemporaries, including Constant, Guizot, and Marx. one course in political theory, philosophy, or intellectual history.   HU, SO
* PLSC 290a / SOCY 151a, Foundations of Modern Social Theory  Philip Gorski

Major works of social thought from the beginning of the modern era through the 1920s. Attention to social and intellectual contexts, conceptual frameworks and methods, and contributions to contemporary social analysis. Writers include Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber.  SO
* PLSC 291a / PHIL 464a, Justice, Taxes, and Global Financial Integrity  Thomas Pogge

Study of the formulation, interpretation, and enforcement of national and international tax rules from the perspective of national and global economic justice. Previous courses in one or two of the following: law, economics, political science, or political philosophy.  HU
M 3:30pm-5:20pm
* PLSC 298b / HUMS 275b / SAST 328b, Gandhi and His Critics  Staff

A survey of Gandhi’s social and political thought and the writings of his key critics and interlocutors such as Tagore, Savarkar, Nehru, Ambedkar. Through these exchanges, students explore the main currents of political thought in modern India. Topics include: modernity, the state, and violence; individual and collective swaraj; nationalism, diversity, and community; social reform and the critique of caste; religion, secularism, and toleration; democratic politics and the challenge of equality.  HU
* PLSC 300a, Revolutions, Rights, and Representation  Mark Somos

Historical overview of individual rights and representative government, using the American Revolution as a focal point for examining their long-term development from Antiquity to the twenty-first century.  SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm
* PLSC 303a / EP&E 270a, Ethics, Politics, and Economics in an Age of Extinction Risk  Staff

Interdisciplinary exploration of social and ethical consequences of emerging technologies that pose threats to the survival of humanity. Focus on how philosophies of technology, ethics of intergenerational responsibility, and theories of global catastrophic risk might be applied to future social, political, environmental, and economic impacts of synthetic biology, bioengineering, human enhancement technologies, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnologies.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm
* PLSC 306b / EP&E 255b / PHIL 462b, Sovereignty  Andrew March

The history of the concept of sovereignty, including current debates over its meaning in political philosophy, international relations, and jurisprudence. Discussion of how these debates relate to both historical and contemporary political problems.  SO
* PLSC 310b / EP&E 230b, Self-Interest and Its Critics  Andrew Sabl

Debates surrounding the concept of self-interest from the seventeenth century to the present. Defining self-interest, its nature, and its limits, and distinguishing it from other motives for behavior; advantages and disadvantages of assuming self-interested motives for human actions; current scholarship on economic rationality, rational choice in political science, and philosophical ethics.  SO
* PLSC 313a / EP&E 380a, Bioethics, Politics, and Economics  Stephen Latham

Ethical, political, and economic aspects of a number of contemporary issues in biomedical ethics. Topics include abortion, assisted reproduction, end-of-life care, research on human subjects, and stem cell research.  SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm
* PLSC 327b, Advanced Topics in Modern Political Philosophy  Karuna Mantena

The topic of empire and its role in the development of modern political thought. Focus on how the imperial experience—discovery of new peoples, conquest, colonial settlement, and global commerce—affected the formation of such central concepts of political theory as reason, freedom, rights, sovereignty, property, and progress. Readings include Vitoria, Montaigne, Locke, Montesquieu, Diderot, Kant, Burke, Mill, Hobson, Arendt. Substantial course work in intellectual history and/or political theory.  HU, SO
* PLSC 329b / EP&E 263b / HUMS 307b, Émigré Social Theory  Staff

Major works of social thought written in the wake of World War II by Central European émigrés and refugees. Theories of capitalism and socialism, interpretations of modern politics and history, critiques and defenses of Western intellectual traditions. Central texts include works by Arendt, Hayek, Horkheimer and Adorno, Polanyi, and Schumpeter.  HU
* PLSC 332a / EP&E 299a, Philosophy of Science for the Study of Politics  Ian Shapiro

An examination of the philosophy of science from the perspective of the study of politics. Particular attention to the ways in which assumptions about science influence models of political behavior, the methods adopted to study that behavior, and the relations between science and democracy. Readings include works by both classic and contemporary authors.  SO
W 9:25am-11:15am
* PLSC 334a / AFAM 301a / PHIL 325a, The Making of Black Lives Matter  Christopher Lebron

Intellectual history and philosophical underpinnings of black political and social thought relevant to the Black Lives Matter social movement. The works of black writers; the role of love in social justice; how artistic movements impact critical black thought; sexuality, gender, and invisibility; and whether the role of leaders is still relevant in black politics and movements.   HU
* PLSC 337b / AFAM 300b, Afrofuturism  Christopher Lebron

Survey of Afrofuturism from political and philosophical perspectives, with investigation of alternative forms of narrative and social critique to bear on contemporary questions of race, imagination, and social justice. How black writers, thinkers, and musicians have turned to speculative genres to observe American history and politics as well as urgent moral dilemmas.
Analytical Political Theory
PLSC 326a / PHIL 474, Borders, Culture, and Citizenship  Seyla Benhabib

The contemporary refugee crisis in Europe and elsewhere; new patterns of migration; increasing demands for multicultural rights of Muslim minorities in the West; and transnational effects of globalization faced by modern societies. Examination of these issues in a multidisciplinary perspective in light of political theories of citizenship and migration, as well as laws concerning refugees and migrants in Europe and the United States.  SO
MW 2:30pm-3:20pm
* PLSC 341b / GLBL 195b, The Logic of Randomized Experiments in Political Science  Alexander Coppock

Instruction in the design, execution, and analyzation of randomized experiments for businesses, nonprofits, political organizations, and social scientists. Students learn to evaluate the impact of real-world interventions on well-defined political, economic, and social outcomes. Specific focus on randomized experimentation through field and survey experiments, with design and analysis principles extending to lab and so-called "natural" experiments. Any introductory probability or statistics course.  QR
PLSC 342b / EP&E 220b, Strategic Models of Politics  Milan Svolik

Introduction to formal political theory including application of rational choice and game theoretic analysis. Key topics and findings include: why voters vote in elections; how candidates choose platforms; why common resources tend to be overexploited; whether the state is needed for public good provision; how electoral systems shape politicians' and voters' behavior; whether voters can hold politicians accountable for their performance in office; how constitutions affect politicians' incentives to compromise; and why countries fight wars.  SO
* PLSC 343b / ECON 473b / EP&E 227b, Equality  John Roemer

Egalitarian theories of justice and their critics. Readings in philosophy are paired with analytic methods from economics. Topics include Rawlsian justice, utilitarianism, the veil of ignorance, Dworkin's resource egalitarianism, Roemer's equality of opportunity, Marxian exploitation, and Nozickian procedural justice. Some discussion of American economic inequality, Nordic social democracy, and the politics of inequality. Recommended preparation: intermediate microeconomics.  SO
PLSC 344a / EP&E 295a, Game Theory and Political Science  Deborah Beim

Introduction to game theory—a method by which strategic interactions among individuals and groups in society are mathematically modeled—and its applications to political science. Concepts employed by game theorists, such as Nash equilibrium, subgame perfect equilibrium, and perfect Bayesian equilibrium. Problems of cooperation, time-consistency, signaling, and reputation formation. Political applications include candidate competition, policy making, political bargaining, and international conflict. No prerequisites other than high school algebra. Political Science majors who take this course may not count ECON 159 toward the major.  QR, SO
TTh 1:30pm-2:20pm
PLSC 346b / GLBL 180b, Game Theory and International Relations  Alexandre Debs

Introduction to game theory and its applications in political science and economics, with a focus on international relations. Standard solution concepts in game theory; case studies from important episodes in the history of international relations, including World War II, the Cuban missile crisis, and the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Recommended preparation: introductory microeconomics.  QR, SO
Comparative Government
* PLSC 347a / AFST 347a / EP&E 484a / GLBL 243a / LAST 348a, Post-Conflict Politics  David Simon

Consideration of a range of issues and challenges faced by countries emerging from domestic conflict. Focus on elements of peace-building—disarmament and demobilization, post-conflict elections, institution-building, and reconstruction—as well as modes of transitional justice and mechanisms for truth and reconciliation.  SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm
* PLSC 351a / SOCY 322a, European Fascism  Staff

Fascism in Europe, in its variety of national manifestations, between 1918 and 1945. Topics include the range of theories about the social, intellectual, and political origins of Fascism; regime forms implemented by Fascists; crimes perpetrated by Fascist movements in Europe; and the long-term effects of Fascism on political debates in contemporary Europe.  SO
* PLSC 353a, State and Society in Contemporary Ukraine  Staff

Functioning of the state and society in post-Soviet Ukraine. The formation and subsequent transformation of the state, including the constitution, the branches of government, the party system, elections, foreign policy, education, and social welfare. Various facets of society such as religion, media, language use, gender relations, poverty, and racism considered. Particular attention paid to the Orange Revolution and Euromaidan.  SO
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm
* PLSC 354a / EP&E 250a, The European Union  David Cameron

Origins and development of the European Community and Union over the past fifty years; ways in which the often-conflicting ambitions of its member states have shaped the EU; relations between member states and the EU's supranational institutions and politics; and economic, political, and geopolitical challenges.  SO
T 3:30pm-5:20pm
* PLSC 366b, European Politics  David Cameron

Comparison of the political systems of the major European countries. Topics include political institutions, electoral politics and political parties, public policies, and contemporary problems.  SO
* PLSC 368a, Global Politics  Stathis Kalyvas

Major issues in current international politics, from political economy to international security, with a broad geographic focus. Emphasis on analytic and synthetic skills. Themes include the politics of economic crisis, global governance, state failure, and political and economic development.  SO
T 3:30pm-5:20pm
* PLSC 372a / EP&E 242a, Politics and Markets  Peter Swenson

Examination of the interplay between market and political processes in different substantive realms, time periods, and countries. Inquiry into the developmental relationship between capitalism and democracy and the functional relationships between the two. Investigation of the politics of regulation in areas such as property rights, social security, international finance, and product, labor, and service markets. Topics include the economic motives of interest groups and coalitions in the political process.  SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm
* PLSC 374b, Language Politics  Staff

Various aspects of language politics on the levels of the state, international organizations, non-state entities, and individual citizens. Analysis of official documents, everyday practices, and underlying beliefs informing them. Examination of various domains such as education, public administration, media, churches, workplace, and family.  SO
* PLSC 375a / GLBL 215a / LAST 386a / MGRK 237a, Populism from Chavez to Trump  Paris Aslanidis

Investigation of the nature of the populist phenomenon and its impact on politics, society, and the economy in various regions of the world. Conceptual and methodological analyses are supported by comparative assessments of various empirical instances, from populist politicians such as Hugo Chavez and Donald Trump, to populist social movements such as the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.  SO
* PLSC 376b / ER&M 376b / MGRK 304b / SOCY 307b, Extreme and Radical Right Movements Paris Aslanidis

Extreme and radical right movements and political parties are a recurrent phenomenon found in most parts of the world. Discussion of their foundational values and the causes of their continuous, even increasing, support among citizens and voters.    SO
* PLSC 377a / EP&E 249a / MMES 377a / RLST 288a, Islam and Democracy in the Modern Middle East  Andrew March

The development of regimes of government in Muslim countries since the nineteenth century. Early constitutional movements, the rise of political Islam, the management of religion in various twentieth-century states, the Iranian revolution, and the growth of Salafi ideas, culminating in the ISIS "caliphate."  SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm
PLSC 378b / LAST 214b / SOCY 170b, Contesting Injustice  Elisabeth Wood

Exploration of why, when, and how people organize collectively to challenge political, social, and economic injustice. Cross-national comparison of the extent, causes, and consequences of inequality. Analysis of mobilizations for social justice in both U.S. and international settings. Intended primarily for freshmen and sophomores.  SO
PLSC 382b, Comparative Politics in Latin America  Susan Stokes

Introduction to major theories of political and economic change in Latin America, and to the political and economic systems of particular countries. Questions include why the continent has been prone to unstable democratic rule, why countries in the region have adopted alternatively state-centered and market-centered economic models, and, with the most recent wave of democratization, what the remaining obstacles might be to attaining high-quality democracy.  SO
PLSC 385a / AFST 385a, Introduction to African Politics  Jason Stearns

Themes in contemporary African politics, including the impact of colonialism, the challenges of geography, and the effects of economic and political reform attempts and of efforts at resistance. Comparative introduction to the politics of various African countries.  SO
MW 10:30am-11:20am
* PLSC 392b / MGRK 303b, The Greek Civil War  Paris Aslanidis

An in-depth look into the Greek civil war, one of the major European civil wars of the twentieth century, including its relation to World War II and the Cold War. Focus on readings from the field of history, with some attention to other disciplines and areas such as anthropology and fiction.  SO
* PLSC 393a, Comparative Constitutionalism and Legal Institutions  Steven Calabresi

Introduction to the field of comparative constitutional law. Constitutional texts, materials, and cases drawn primarily from those constitutional democracies that are also members of the Group of Twenty Nations and that respect judicial independence.  SO
Th 9:25am-11:15am
* PLSC 396b / EAST 404b, Contemporary State Building in Asia  Marc Opper

Consideration of the legacies of war and revolution in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, and other areas of Southeast Asia. Exploration of the process and consequences of political strategies in wartime and the establishment of political institutions, with empirical focus on the Chinese Revolution and how the legacies of that conflict shaped the modern Chinese state.  SO
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm
* PLSC 398b, Comparative Political Economy  Frances Rosenbluth

Introduction to issues in political economy across time and place. The field's diverse theoretical underpinnings and its place in the context of political science and of the social sciences more generally; theoretical perspectives such as materialism, institutionalism, and cognition/culture/beliefs; interactions between government and the economy in democratic and nondemocratic regimes and in developed and developing countries. Enrollment limited to senior Political Science majors.  SO
* PLSC 409a or b / GLBL 261a or b, Civil Conflict  Bonnie Weir

Forms of civil conflict and political violence and theories about reasons for and implications of these types of violence. Natural and philosophical foundations of political violence; the potential roles of ethnicity, economic factors, territory, and political institutions and structures in the onset and dynamics of civil conflict; problems of conflict termination.
* PLSC 413b / AFST 413b / GLBL 328b, Governance in Africa  Malte Lierl

International donor agencies, along with global and local NGOs and civil society groups, invest heavily in promoting “good governance” in developing countries. Investigation of governance problems in developing countries and the disconnect between ideas and concepts of international development organizations, perspectives of academic researchers, and perception of citizens in developing countries. Regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. Prerequisite: Basic understanding of social science research methods is assumed.
* PLSC 414b / AFST 432b, Development and Democracy in Africa  David Simon

Introduction to development challenges in Africa. Use of current social science research to examine the driving forces behind Africa's poor development outcomes and to explore options for changing Africa's development trajectory. The effectiveness of democratization as a broad development tool. Evaluation of micro-level projects designed to tackle specific problems.  SO
PLSC 415b / SOCY 172b, Religion and Politics  Sigrun Kahl

Challenges to the view of religion as an archaic force destined to dwindle away in a secularized society. A historical and comparative investigation of the relationship between religion and politics in Europe and the United States, with comparisons to the Muslim world.  SO
* PLSC 420a / ANTH 406a / EVST 424a, Rivers: Nature and Politics  James Scott

The natural history of rivers and river systems and the politics surrounding the efforts of states to manage and engineer them.  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm
* PLSC 423b / EP&E 243b / GLBL 336b / LAST 423b, Political Economy of Poverty Alleviation Ana De La O

Overview of classic and contemporary approaches to the question of why some countries have done better than others at reducing poverty. Emphasis on the role of politics.  SO
PLSC 424a / AFAM 195a / SAST 440a, Gandhi, King, and the Politics of Nonviolence  Karuna Mantena

A study of the theory and practice of nonviolent political action, as proposed and practiced by M. K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  The origins of nonviolence in Gandhian politics and the Indian independence movement; Gandhian influences on the Civil Rights movement; King’s development of nonviolent politics; the legacies and lessons for nonviolent politics today.  SO
TTh 11:35am-12:25pm
PLSC 430a / AFST 420a / LAST 406a, The Politics of Development Assistance  David Simon

Study of development assistance, a dominant feature of the political economies of some of the world's poorest countries. The motivations and politics of aid from donors' perspectives; the political and economic impact of aid on developing countries. Proposals to make aid a more effective instrument of development.  SO
MW 11:35am-12:25pm
* PLSC 436a / GLBL 361a, Violence: State and Society  Matthew Kocher

Examination of large-scale violence, generally within sovereign states. Why violence happens, why it takes place in some locations and not others, why it takes specific forms (insurgency, terrorism, civilian victimization), what explains its magnitude (the number of victims), and what explains targeting (the type or identity of victims).  SO
W 9:25am-11:15am
PLSC 439b / GLBL 263b, Challenges of Young Democracies  Ana De La O

Challenges faced by young democracies, such as organizing free and fair elections, controlling government corruption, building an accountable system of governance, sustaining development, and curtailing conflict and violence. Factors that lead to the consolidation of democratic politics or to stagnation and a return to nondemocratic political systems.  SO
* PLSC 446b / EP&E 258b / SOCY 369b, Welfare States across Nations  Sigrun Kahl

How different societies counterbalance capitalism and deal with social risks. Welfare state regimes and their approaches to inequality, unemployment, poverty, illness, disability, child rearing, and old age. Why the United States has an exceptionally small welfare state.  SO
* PLSC 448a / EP&E 496a, Business and Government after Communism  Ian Shapiro

Reassessment of business's place in society—and its relations with government—in an era when alternatives to capitalism are moribund. Topics include the role of business in regime change, corruption and attempts to combat it, business and the provision of low income housing and social services, and privatization of such core functions of government as prisons, the military, and local public services.  Prerequisites: three courses in political science.  SO
T 3:30pm-5:20pm
* PLSC 466b / EP&E 236b, Ethics and the Multinational Business Firm  Susan Rose-Ackerman

Ethical challenges facing modern business leaders, with a focus on multinational corporations conducting business in developing countries. Topics include the normative basis of the market and firm, labor rights, environmental harms, corruption and fraud, and obligations of managers to shareholders and to other stakeholders. Priority to junior and senior majors in Ethics, Politics, and Economics.  SO
Statistical and Mathematical Methods
PLSC 452a / EP&E 203a / STAT 102a, Introduction to Statistics: Political Science  Jonathan Reuning-Scherer

Statistical analysis of politics, elections, and political psychology. Problems presented with reference to a wide array of examples: public opinion, campaign finance, racially motivated crime, and public policy.  QR
TTh 1pm-2:15pm
PLSC 453a / EP&E 209a / STAT 103a, Introduction to Statistics: Social Sciences  Jonathan Reuning-Scherer

Descriptive and inferential statistics applied to analysis of data from the social sciences. Introduction of concepts and skills for understanding and conducting quantitative research.  QR
TTh 1pm-2:15pm
Advanced Courses
* PLSC 471a and PLSC 472b, Individual Reading for Majors  David Simon

Special reading courses may be established with individual members of the department. They must satisfy the following conditions: (1) a prospectus describing the nature of the program and the readings to be covered must be approved by both the instructor and the director of undergraduate studies; (2) the student must meet regularly with the instructor for an average of at least two hours per week; (3) the course must include a term essay, several short essays, or a final examination; (4) the topic and/or content must not be substantially encompassed by an existing undergraduate or graduate course. All coursework must be submitted no later than the last day of reading period.
* PLSC 474b, Directed Reading and Research for Junior Intensive Majors  David Simon

For juniors preparing to write yearlong senior essays as intensive majors. The student acquires the methodological skills necessary in research, identifies a basic reading list pertinent to the research, and prepares a research design for the project. All coursework must be submitted no later than the last day of reading period.
* PLSC 480a or b, One-Term Senior Essay  David Simon

For seniors writing the senior essay who do not wish, or are unable, to write the essay in a department seminar. Students must receive the prior agreement of a member of the department who will serve as the senior essay adviser, and must arrange to meet with that adviser on a regular basis throughout the term.
* PLSC 490a, The Senior Colloquium  Greg Huber

Presentation and discussion of students' research proposals, with particular attention to choice of topic and research design. Each student frames the structure of the essay, chooses research methods, begins the research, and presents and discusses a draft of the introductory section of the essay. Enrollment limited to Political Science majors writing a yearlong senior essay.
M 9:25am-11:15am
* PLSC 491b, The Senior Essay  David Simon

Each student writing a yearlong senior essay establishes a regular consultation schedule with a department member who, working from the prospectus prepared for PLSC 490, advises the student about preparation of the essay and changes to successive drafts. Enrollment limited to Political Science majors writing a yearlong senior essay.
* PLSC 493b, Senior Essay for Intensive Majors  David Simon

Each student in the intensive major establishes a regular consultation schedule with a department member who, working from the prospectus prepared for PLSC 490, advises the student about preparation of the essay and changes to successive drafts, as well as reporting the student's progress until submission of the final essay. Enrollment limited to Political Science intensive majors.


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How to Apply

All applicants for freshman admission must submit one of the following:

  • The Coalition Application with Yale-Specific Questions
  • The Common Application with Yale-Specific Questions
  • The QuestBridge National College Match Application

Additional requirements for all freshman applicants:

  • $80 Application Fee or Fee Waiver
  • Two Teacher Recommendations
  • One Counselor Recommendation
  • School Report (including Transcript)
  • Standardized Test Results
  • Mid-Year Report (due when first semester/term senior grades are available at your school)

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