Academic program

Politics is the study of the processes that define, produce, and distribute power, authority, and values. Political studies inherently subvert the naturalness and inevitability of what is, by looking historically and cross-culturally at what has been in other times or places, and what might be. Politics is a heterogeneous scholarly field that utilizes a range of research methods and a variety of diverse forms of evidence, both qualitative and quantitative. The discipline analyzes political processes at individual, local, national, and international levels. Students consider topics such as states, political institutions, social movements, political ideologies, identities, cooperation, conflict, war, and diplomacy. Courses engage multiple disciplinary approaches and cultural perspectives, stressing the importance of the diversity of political experience, including a global range of politics that address the roles of race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender in political life. More information on the politics department is available on the website (bates.edu/politics).

Major Requirements for the Class of 2023. Students majoring in politics must complete eleven courses including:

1) Five courses in a politics major concentration (see "Politics Major Concentrations" below), which include:

a) no more than one 100-level seminar, which should be taken prior to beginning the senior research and writing experience (PLTC 456, 457, or 458);
b) at least one 300-level seminar, which should be taken prior to beginning the senior research and writing experience (PLTC 456, 457, or 458).

2) Three courses in politics not listed among the courses in the student's chosen politics major concentration. These courses must be taken from at least two different concentrations.

3) Two additional courses in any politics major concentration.

4) One senior research and writing experience, which can be completed through the senior thesis seminar (PLTC 456) or through a thesis project guided through independent study with a faculty member in politics (PLTC 457 or PLTC 458).

All of the above requirements are subject to the following stipulations:

Students must take at least two 300-level seminars, at least of which must be in the student's major concentration. These seminars should, ideally, be taken before the Senior Research and Writing Experience (PLTC 456, 457, or 458).

Students may count no more than two Short Term courses toward the major.

Courses not taught at Bates may count toward requirements in categories (2) or (3). One approved non-politics Bates course can only count toward requirements in category (3). Requirements in category (1), the student's major concentration, must be completed with Bates politics courses.

Subject to the approval of the department chair, transfer students may receive credit for up to four courses toward the major taken prior to their arrival at Bates, and must take at least seven courses in the major on the Bates campus. The seven courses include the 300-level seminar in the concentration and senior thesis (457 or 458).

For additional information for the Class of 2023 and beyond, see the section below entitled "Considerations for Majors of All Class Years."

Major Requirements for the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022. Students majoring in politics must complete eleven courses including:

1) Five courses in a politics major concentration (see "Politics Major Concentrations" below), which include:

a) no more than one 100-level course;
b) at least one 300-level seminar, and;
c) senior thesis (456, 457, or 458) on a topic related to the politics major concentration.

2) Three courses in politics not listed among the courses in the student's chosen politics major concentration. These courses must be taken from at least two different concentrations.

3) s49 (Political Inquiry: Elements of Research Design), which must be taken in the sophomore or junior year and is a prerequisite for the senior thesis (456, 457 or 458).

4) Two other courses in any politics major concentration.

All of the above requirements are subject to the following stipulations:

Students must take at least one 300-level seminar, which must be in the student's major concentration.

Students may count no more than two Short Term courses, including s49, toward the major.

Courses not taught at Bates may count toward requirement (2) or (4). One approved non-politics Bates course can only count toward requirement (4). Requirements (1) and (3) must be completed with Bates politics courses.

Subject to the approval of the department chair, transfer students may receive credit for up to four courses toward the major taken prior to their arrival at Bates, and must take at least seven courses in the major on the Bates campus. The seven courses include s49, a 300-level seminar in the concentration, and senior thesis (457 or 458).

Considerations for Majors of All Class Years

Students may count no more than two 100-level courses total toward the major, and only one 100-level course can count toward the student's chosen politics major concentration.

A first-year seminar may count toward the politics major if and only if it is taught by a member of the politics faculty. First-year seminars courses count as 100-level courses.

Students may not count internships or courses transferred from other colleges or universities toward the major concentration.

Subject to the approval of the department chair, students may apply no more than two courses taken outside of the Bates politics department to the major. This option may include up to two courses not taught at Bates (e.g., study abroad or summer study). To receive approval for these courses, students must provide evidence of their content and to the work completed to the politics department chair. Within this category of courses taken outside of the Bates politics department, students may receive credit for no more than one Bates course that is not within the politics curriculum. The list of approved courses can be found at
www.bates.edu/politics. This list is updated annually.

Politics Major Concentrations. As politics is a heterogeneous scholarly field that utilizes a range of research methods and a variety of diverse forms of evidence, both qualitative and quantitative, and as students have opportunity to study topics such as state, political institutions, social movements, political ideologies, identities, cooperation, conflict, war, and diplomacy, the major is designed to ensure that students have exposure to and can explore a variety of themes, topics, and methods. Concentrations emphasize approaches ranging from statistical analysis, to qualitative case studies or close reading of a variety of texts.

Students majoring in politics must declare a concentration within the major. Concentrations enable students to focus on a particular area of interest while also ensuring that they can acquire a broad breadth of engagement with topics across the discipline. The major concentrations are:

Institutional Politics (IP): Courses examine how formal and informal organizations, rules, and norms structure behaviors, social interactions, and outcomes of the political process.

Identities and Interests (II): Courses examine how power relations and political choices are both embedded in and constructed by conceptions of ideologies, interests, and identities.

Political Economy (PE): Courses examine how political and market institutions interact to create and distribute wealth locally, nationally, and internationally.

Philosophical, Literary, and Legal Studies (PLL): Courses examine the normative core and fundamental questions of politics with particular attention to power, value and authority.

Security, Cooperation, and Conflict (SCC): Courses examine the nature and dynamics of political conflict, contention, and resolution, with a particular focus on war, peace, civil strife, international cooperation, conflict resolution, protest, and dissent.

Declaring a Major in Politics. To declare a major in politics, the student must complete both the college's process on Garnet Gateway and the department's major declaration form, which is available on the politics department website. The student must meet first with the department chair, who assigns the major advisor, and then with the major advisor to discuss the contents of the politics declaration form.

A new form must be completed and approved by the department chair and major advisor if the student's politics major concentration changes.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may be elected for one course applied toward the major. This course must be below the 300 level.