Requirements (for Classes through 2026)

Students in class years through 2026 majoring in Politics must declare a focus area, choosing one of the five in the major. You can read the description and learning goals for the focus areas here. In order to complete a Politics major, a student must do the following:

  • Five courses listed in the declared focus area, including
    • No more than one 100-level course
    • At least one 300-level course
  • Three courses not listed in the declared focus area.
  • Two courses listed in any focus area
  • A senior thesis (which also satisfies the W3 requirement)
    • Equalling eleven courses that count for at least 10.5 credits in total

The following stipulations apply:

  • No more than two 100-level courses in total towards the major
  • No more than one Short-Term course towards the major
  • At least two 300-level seminars, one of which must be listed in the focus area
  • An FYS course may count toward the major only if taught by a Politics professor. If one is used for the major, it counts as a 100-level course and is subject to the same limitations as other 100-level courses.
  • All courses for the focus area must be taught by Bates Politics faculty.
  • One course in the major can be taken pass/fail. However, this course can be at only the 100 or 200 level.
  • AP and IB credits may not substitute for any of the eleven required courses, however they may be used to substitute for prerequisites for courses in the department with instructor approval.
  • Subject to the approval of the department chair or associate chair, transfer students may receive credit for up to four courses toward the major taken prior to their arrival at Bates. Such students must take at least seven courses in the major on the Bates campus, including the 300-level seminar in the focus area and senior thesis (457 or 458).

Under certain conditions, courses from outside the Bates Politics Department may count for the major. The following stipulations apply for such courses:

  • No more than two courses in total taught by faculty outside the Bates Politics Department may count toward the major.
  • Because courses from outside the Bates Politics Department may not count for the focus area, they can be applied only to the other categories of courses (the three courses outside the focus area and the two courses from any focus area). One or both may be applied towards the three courses outside the focus area only at the discretion of the department chair or associate chair.
  • Up to two may be non-Bates courses (e.g., through Global Education/Study Abroad). Please visit this page for more information about off-campus study and the Politics major.
  • No more than one of those may be an approved Bates course outside of Politics. For a list of currently approved non-Politics Bates courses, please visit this page.