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 study topics such as states, political institutions, social movements, political ideologies, identities, cooperation, conflict, war, and diplomacy. Our 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. 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 (457 or 458) on a topic related to the politics major concentration.

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

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

4) Two other courses in any politics major concentration.

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

Students may count no more than two 100-level courses total toward the major.

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

A first-year seminar may count toward the politics major if and only if it is taught by a member of the politics faculty.

Students may not count internships or transferred courses toward the major concentration.

Subject to the approval of the department chair, students may receive credit for up to two relevant off-campus courses. To receive approval, students must provide evidence of the content of the course and of the work completed. Non-Bates courses may count toward requirements (2) or (4) above. Requirements (1) and (3) must be completed with Bates 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).

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 evaluate approaches ranging from statistical analysis, to comparative and 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. (Concentration previously named Governance and Conflict (GOCO).)

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 and may not be s49.