Jun 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science

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Professors: Ahrensdorf, Menkhaus, Rigger, Roberts, Shaw
Associate Professors: Ceka (Chair), O’Geen, G. Bullock
Assistant Professors: Bersch, Crowder-Meyer, Murray, Toska
Visiting Assistant Professor: B. Crandall, Yesnowitz


Cultural Diversity Requirement

Political Science 226, 290, 291, 293, 318, 342, 343, 344, 347, 351, 353, and 374 are options for satisfying the cultural diversity requirement.

Major Requirements (A.B. Degree)

Ten courses in political science, as follows:

  1. Students must take at least one course in each of the following sub-fields. Seminars do not count toward sub-field requirements. The same course cannot count for two sub-fields. Courses numbered 290-299 and 390-399 apply to more than one sub-field (students choose in which sub-field to apply the course). Transfer credit cannot be used to satisfy sub-field requirements. 
    1. Political Theory–POL 101-119, 202-219; 301-319;
    2. American Politics–POL 120-139; 220-239; 320-339;  
    3. Comparative Politics–POL 140-159; 240-259; 340-359;
    4. International Politics–POL 160-179; 260-279; 360-379;
    5. Methodology–POL 182.
  2. A seminar numbered 400 to 479. Seminars may have specific prerequisites and usually require prior course work in that sub-field.
  3. A major paper. This paper will be written under the supervision of a Davidson College Political Science faculty member. An oral defense may be expected. This requirement can be met by the completion of an honors thesis or by the writing of a paper (at least 20 pages) done in the context of a seminar or an independent study. Not all seminars offer this option; check with the faculty member offering the course. A grade of C- or better must be earned on the paper to satisfy this requirement.


  1. POL 182 and a seminar must be taken at Davidson. 
  2. Courses transferred from abroad as POL 199 count toward the Political Science major. Students may petition to have a course transferred as UNS 199 count toward the major by asking the department chair to review the syllabus and other course materials. Courses transferred from abroad do not satisfy subfield requirements.
  3. European Union Politics (FRE 389 or POL 199), taken on the Davidson College in France program, counts as an elective course for the major.


Honors Requirements

Juniors or seniors who meet the general college honors requirements, who have made a 3.5 G.P.A. on at least four political science courses, and who can furnish convincing evidence of a special interest in and capacity for research may be admitted to the departmental honors program. Each successful applicant will develop an individualized plan of work in consultation with a professor in the department. This plan must include, in addition to the normal major requirements, the preparation of an honors thesis (POL 488). Those who maintain a 3.5 G.P.A. in all political science courses through the senior year and who produce a thesis that is judged of high quality by the department will be awarded “Honors in Political Science.”

In the case of an exceptional academic record, together with a thesis of the highest quality, the department may confer high honors.

Rationale for Course Numbering

Courses at the 100-level provide a general introduction to one area of the discipline of Political Science.

Courses at the 200- or 300-level may be appropriate for any student.  Courses at the 200-level address broad topics; courses at the 300-level are more narrow in focus.  There is no standard progression or consistent difference in difficulty between one level and the next. 

Courses at the 400-level are seminars, most of which require instructor permission.  Students wishing to take any of those courses should consult the professor directly as to suitability, given the student’s prior study.

Courses whose second digit is 0 or 1 count for the Political Theory sub-field, except 201.  

Courses whose second digit is 2 or 3 count for the American Politics sub-field.

Courses whose second digit is 4 or 5 count for the Comparative Politics sub-field.

Courses whose second digit is 6 or 7 count for the International Politics sub-field

Courses whose second digit is 8 do not confer sub-field credit.

Courses whose second digit is 9 can be used to satisfy the sub-field requirement in either of two sub-fields. See the course description for which sub-fields can be satisfied by a particular course. Students choose the sub-field to which they wish to apply credits in this category. 

All courses are open to non-majors. 

Political Science Courses

All 100-level POL courses are open to first and second year students in regular registration and to juniors in drop-add.  They are not open to seniors except with permission of the instructor.

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