William & Mary

Undergraduate Program

Government courses are small or medium-sized, with heavy emphasis on interaction, research and writing.  All fall into one of political science’s four broad sub-fields–American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, or Political Theory.

Each year we offer several Govt. 150 Freshman Seminars, with 15 students each; some provide a broad introduction to a sub-field, but most help students understand political science by examining a specific topic.   The Department offers three Govt. 200-level Introductory courses in American (201), Comparative (203) and International (204) Politics.  Intermediate Govt. 300-level courses cover topics within those subfields, as well as in Political Theory and Political Methods.  Most 200 and 300 level courses have 30-35 students; the few with more break into small discussion sections once a week.  Finally, all Govt.  400-level Seminars have 15 or fewer students, focus on discussion, and require a major research paper.

We also offer Topics courses -- lectures (Govt. 391) or advanced seminars (Govt. 491) -- that allow us to deal with new issues or take advantage of a visiting faculty member’s specialization.  A one-credit version (Govt. 390) is used for short courses.  Students may also enroll for Independent Study (Govt. 494) under the direction of a faculty member, or write an Honors Thesis, a two-semester project typically written during their senior year (Govt. 495-6).  Through Govt. 498, students can earn credit for an academic project based on an Internship, provided they have Department approval in advance and a faculty member evaluate the resulting paper.

The Major requires students to complete a minimum of 33 credits of Government course work, including all three Government 200 level introductory classes–201, 203 and 204; a course in Political Theory (Govt. 303, 304,  305 or 392); Govt. 301, Research Methods; and any upper-level Seminar, numbered from Govt. 401 through Govt. 491.  Students are free to take any other combination of Government courses in order to reach the minimum of 33 credits.

Our course offerings are listed in the College catalog as well as on the Department website.