Political science is known as the study of laws and governments, yet it includes much more.

Why did the U.S. invade Iraq and allow Russia to influence events in the Syrian civil war? Why do many U.S. citizens feel animosity toward immigrants? What is the relationship among race, gender, and politics? What are the advantages and disadvantages of globalization for developing countries? In what manner are human rights abused around the globe, and what can be done about it? What are the causes and consequences of political violence and state terrorism? What are the political aspirations of citizens in Muslim-populated countries?

These are a few of the many interesting questions that a political science student explores at Purchase College.

The political science program offers students the opportunity to engage in a variety of courses in American, comparative, and international politics. Students also study age-old political questions concerning equality, rights, and justice and learn how to conduct political science research.

The political science program closely collaborates with other interdisciplinary programs at Purchase College, including Latin American, Caribbean, and LatinX studies, Global Black Studies, Environmental Studies, and Gender Studies. Because politics are intertwined with economic and social issues, many students choose to double-major in Sociology, History, or Journalism. Members of the political science faculty have broad and diverse backgrounds, have won numerous awards, and have published more than 50 books and articles.

The major in political science is particularly designed for students who:

  • are interested in exploring different social and political issues by taking a range of American and internationally-based courses, or
  • want to have a focused study of human rights or Islam and the Middle East.

Senior Thesis

The program culminates in a two-semester senior thesis in which each student develops an original in-depth perspective on a topic of their choice, which is supervised by a faculty sponsor.

About Our Graduates

Students graduating with a degree in political science often enter public service, working for government agencies, nonprofit or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), or elected officials. Many political science alumni enroll in law school or graduate programs that focus on international affairs, while others may enter the fields of teaching or journalism.


In addition to meeting General Education requirements and other degree requirements, all political science majors must complete a minimum of nine courses with a grade of C or higher, plus a two-semester senior seminar and an 8-credit senior project (40–45 credits total) as follows:

  1. POL 1570/Introduction to U.S. Politics (3 credits; freshman  or sophomore year)
  2. POL2110/Introduction to Political Theory (4 credits)
  3. An economics course (4 credits)*
    *One of the following is strongly recommended:
    – ECO 1500/Macroeconomic Theory I
    – ECO 2280/Environmental Economics
    – ECO 3080/Game Theory
  4. Two courses in U.S. politics and law, 2000-level or above (6–8 credits)
  5. Three courses in comparative politics and international relations, 2000-level or above (9–12 credits)
  6. POL 3880/Junior Seminar in Political Science (4 credits)
  7. POL 4885Political Science Senior Seminar I (1 credit)
  8. POL 4890/Political Science Senior Seminar II (1 credit)
  9. SPJ 4990/Senior Project I (4 credits)
  10. SPJ 4991/Senior Project II (4 credits)

Refer to The Senior Project for additional information.

Note: In addition, students are expected to take courses appropriate to their specific interests in political science in order to fulfill degree requirements for upper-level coursework.

Optional Concentrations

New and reinstated courses may be added to the lists in the following concentrations. Students should consult their advisor to determine whether a new or reinstated course counts toward a specific concentration.

Concentration 1: Islam and the Middle East (42–47 credits)

Political science majors who declare a concentration in Islam and the Middle East must fulfill requirements 1 through 10 listed above. In meeting requirement 5, students in this concentration select four courses from the following list:

POL 2105/Citizens Living Under Islamic Laws
POL 2115/Islam: Culture and Politics
POL 2350/Free Speech, Heresy, and Gender in Islamic Societies
POL 3255/Islamic State, Gender, and Sexuality
POL 3430/Politics of South Asia
POL 3740/The Middle East

Concentration 2: Human Rights (42–47 credits)

Political science majors who declare a concentration in human rights must fulfill requirements 1 through 10 listed above. In meeting requirements 4 and 5, students in this concentration select four courses from the following list: 

POL 2080/Environmental Justice
POL 3075/Women and Politics in Global Perspective
POL 3235/Globalization, Development, and Poverty
POL 3245/Gender and Health: International Issues
POL 3307/Politics and Memoir
POL 3315/Constitutions and Rights: U.S. and China
POL 3361/Cuba, Latin America, and the U.S.
POL 3570/Human Rights
POL 3573/Human Rights and Literature

Minor requirements:

The minor in political science is designed to provide a broad knowledge of institutions, processes, and theories of politics in the U.S. and international context.

Students interested in this minor should arrange a conference with the Chair of the political science program, then submit a completed Application for a Program of Minor Study.

Prerequisite: A minimum 2.0 (C) GPA

Academic Requirements for the Minor in Political Science

Five courses, to include:

  1. POL 1570/Introduction to U.S. Politics
  2. Plus four political science electives in the following two areas (two courses in each area):
    1. United States politics and law
    2. Comparative politics and international relations

Related Minors:

Environmental Studies
Gender Studies
Global Black Studies
Latin American, Caribbean, and LatinX Studies


  • Assistant Professor of Political Science
    • B.Sc. (Hons), The University of the West Indies (Mona), Jamaica
    • M.A., The City College, CUNY
    • M.Phil., The Graduate Center, CUNY
  • Assistant Professor of Political Science
    • BA, Purchase College, SUNY
    • MA, The University of Chicago
    • PhD, The University of Chicago
  • Lecturer, Political Science
    • BA,  Arizona State University
    • PhD Candidate, Rutgers University
  • Lecturer of Political Science
    • BA at School of Oriental and African Studies (London)
    • MA at The New School for Social Research
    • PhD (ABD) at The New School for Social Research