The word “politics” in ordinary conversations may refer to struggles for power or justice among antagonistic individuals or groups; the types of regimes by which people are governed; the ties that bind subjects to rulers or citizens to states; the election of representatives, passage of laws, and voicing of public opinion in democratic societies; and international relations among different polities, whether they be empires, multinational federations, or nation-states. The phrase “international politics” encompasses the waging of war and conducting of peace, the pursuit of national interests in competition with other states, norms of interaction among sovereign states, projects of humanitarian intervention, and collective efforts to enhance state security, global order, and human rights. Therefore, the study of such a complex subject has traditionally been divided into four overlapping fields: political theory, American politics, comparative Politics, and international politics. We offer courses in all four fields, as well as courses that cross the lines between them.
See the Politics chapter of the course catalog and our student resources page for more information. All courses are designed to contribute in various ways to the College’s learning goals and the Politics Department Learning Goals.

Politics Major

A major in politics consists of a minimum of 32 credits and includes courses in American politics, comparative politics, international politics, and political theory.

Politics Minor

A minor in politics consists of a minimum of 16 credits at the 200 level (four courses) in at least two of the department’s four subfields: American politics, comparative politics, international politics, and political theory. At least 4 credits have to be at the 300 level.

Data Science Nexus

The Nexus in Data Science integrates computational, programming, and statistical skills in applications across a range of fields. Data Science uses different types of data to create an accessible narrative and helps pose new questions, identify patterns, visualize trends, and make predictions using new techniques. The Data Science Nexus track offers students a basic foundation in data science with courses in computer science, statistics, and a domain in which they apply data science.

Development Studies Nexus

Explore the relationship among history, politics, economics, and power that shape the world. The Development Studies Nexus track gives you the analytical skills to understand the complexities of global poverty, inequality, and injustice and strategies that state and non-state actors have used to improve the well-being of the people.

Global Business Nexus

Economic life is increasingly impacted by the forces of globalization. Becoming knowledgeable about the contemporary cooperate world, the role of global markets, and debates about appropriate regulation and long-term implications. Explore the tools of the corporate leadership, the sociology of organizations, and models of regulation through the Global Business Nexus. Pursue internships with national or international for-profit corporations.

Journalism, Media, and Public Discourse Nexus

Examine the world with an educated, critical eye. Become knowledgeable and articulate across a wide array of subjects in the liberal arts, hone your creativity, and develop superior writing and analytical capabilities. With the Journalism, Media, and Public Discourse Nexus master the nuts and bolts of reporting and fact-checking a news story, examine the history of the New York Times, or analyze the role of media in contemporary society.

Law, Public Policy, and Human Rights Nexus

Learn about policies and legislation and how you can help to shape the future. Form a deep understanding of how relationships between local and national political processes create public policies and form legislation. Choose courses from several departments, including politics, economics, history, and sociology. Examine how both law and public policies are imbedded in a much larger social, historical, and economic realities through the Law, Public Policy, and Human Rights Nexus.

Non-Profit Organizations Nexus

Make a life out of making a difference. Learn how to be a successful leader in the non-profit sector and equip yourself to become a changemaker. The Non-Profit Organizations Nexus track combines the study of economics, philosophy, complex organizations, politics, and more with your personal interests in the charitable, religious, scientific, or educational fields.

Joint BA/MA Program in Geneva

Eligible students have an opportunity to complete a BA at Mount Holyoke and an MA from the  Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in five years, instead of the usual six years.

Participating Mount Holyoke students will spend the fall semester of their senior year at the Graduate Institute in Geneva participating there in the first semester of the MA program. They will return to Mount Holyoke for the spring semester of their senior year and for graduation and then go back to the Graduate Institute for their fifth year of study to complete their Master’s degree.

Deadlines for filing an application to Mount Holyoke are the February prior to the senior year. Please see the Joint BA/MA webpage on the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives website for more information

Teacher Licensure in Politics

Students interested in pursuing licensure in the field of politics can combine their course work in politics with a minor in education. In some instances course work in the major coincides with course work required for licensure; in other cases, it does not. For specific course requirements for licensure within the major of politics, please consult your advisor or the chair of the politics department. Further information about the minor in education and the Teacher Licensure program is available in other sections of the catalog, and consult Professor Lawrence in the psychology and education department.

Licensure also requires a formal application as well as passing scores on the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL) in both the literacy component and the subject matter component. Copies of the test objectives for the MTEL are available in the politics department and in the Department of Psychology and Education.

Additional information about the Licensure Program, including application materials, can be found on the Teacher Licensure Program website.