University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Political Science

Political Science, You and UVM

The Political Science Department at UVM provides students with the best of both worlds: a faculty with wide-ranging research interests and national reputations in their fields, but devoted to undergraduate teaching. We do not have a graduate program in political science, so our faculty’s teaching efforts are exclusively focused on our undergraduate students. With the exception of a few courses each semester offered by adjunct faculty with substantial professional experience in their fields, every course in the Political Science Department is taught by full-time faculty. No courses are taught by graduate students. Every student has an adviser who is a full-time faculty member, available during regular office hours or by appointment.

The discipline of political science is divided into four sub-fields: American politics, political theory, international relations and comparative politics (the study of the domestic politics of countries other than the United States). The UVM department offers a range of courses in each of these sub-fields. Students who major in political science take the introductory level course in each of the sub-fields and upper division courses in at least three of the four sub-fields.

In the American politics field, the Department offers courses on the presidency, Congress, the courts, media and politics, parties and elections, public opinion, constitutional law, civil rights, gender issues, women in politics and political leadership. Students can take courses in ancient, medieval and modern political theory as well as theory courses organized around themes like global justice, ethics, citizenship and religion and the state. In the international field courses are offered on international environmental issues, international organizations, international political economy, American foreign policy and the causes of war along with courses on the regional international politics of East Asia, the Middle East and the European Union. Comparative courses include surveys of politics in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, and Russia and the states of the former Soviet Union, as well as thematic courses on democratization, political development, religion and politics, gender and politics, and ethnicity.

The Department is particularly strong in the field of American constitutional law and legal issues. We have three full-time faculty whose research and teaching focus is the law field, and a number of other faculty whose work touches on aspects of the American legal system.

Another of the Department’s strengths is the breadth of its offerings. It is unusual for a department devoted exclusively to undergraduates to be as large as ours – over 20 full-time faculty members. We can therefore offer a broader range of courses than is usually available at liberal arts institutions. Our range of courses is much more similar to that of a major research university, with the difference that none of our courses is taught by a graduate student. Students can take courses on almost every major world area, on a range of global topics, on almost every aspect of American politics, on gender issues from American and global perspectives.

Last modified August 16 2010 01:00 PM