Political Science

Christopher Darnton

Comparative politics, international relations, Latin American politics.

Paul Gronke

American politics, public opinion, legislative politics. On leave 2008-09.

Tamara Metz

Political philosophy, liberal theory, feminist theory.

Alex Montgomery

International relations, environmental politics, technology and politics. On leave 2008-09.

Darius M. Rejali

Political philosophy, social theory, comparative politics.

Marcus Schaper

Comparative politics, environmental politics, European politics.

Peter J. Steinberger

Political philosophy.

Rafi Youatt

International relations, environmental politics, political theory.

The program in political science is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to the discipline, viewed as a set of specific strategies for understanding political life. These strategies—conceptual, historical, structural, institutional, and behavioral—are approached in the light of their theoretical presuppositions and in terms of their respective research approaches. The emphasis is less on learning the facts of politics than on being able to recognize, evaluate, and use intelligently the intellectual tools of the discipline.
Specifically, the curriculum is designed to provide:

  • A basic understanding of the modes of inquiry in political science: normative, empirical, and comparative analysis. The department's distribution requirements and the structure of the introductory course sequence reflect a strong and continuing commitment to this goal. All majors are required to take three of the four basic introductory courses: Introduction to Political Behavior, Comparative Politics, Political Philosophy, and International Politics.
  • Research opportunities. Students are encouraged to explore quantitative and qualitative techniques of data collection and analysis. These efforts may be facilitated by the college’s excellent computer resources and by our access to the vast data archives of the Inter-University Consortium for Social and Political Research. The department’s public policy workshop (PPW) has Windows and Macintosh computers and a variety of software and is available to students and faculty members for research.
  • Opportunities for applied research.
  • Specialized knowledge in one or more particular facets of politics. This is provided by the department’s upper-level course offerings and by the senior thesis experience.

Students have found that Reed’s political science program prepares them for careers in academia, government, law, nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, and other fields. Further information is available in Reed’s career services office.

Requirements for the major

  1. Three of the four introductory courses, two of which must be completed before taking the junior qualifying examination. The third may be in progress at that time.
    a. Introduction to Political Behavior (210).
    b. Introduction to Comparative Politics (220).
    c. Introduction to Political Philosophy (230).
    d. Introduction to International Politics (240).
  2. Economics 201.
  3. Statistics: one of Mathematics 141, Economics 311 or 312, Sociology 311, or Psychology 348. Students are strongly encouraged to complete this requirement in their sophomore year or first semester of their junior year.
  4. Political Science 470.
  5. Four additional units in political science.
  6. Junior qualifying examination. Students will write a junior literature review and research design in a regular course in place of a portion of the other assignments for that course. Course choice is left to the student, but this must be completed during the junior year in a 300- or 400-level course. Specific requirements are stated on the department website, http://academic.reed.edu/poli_sci/resources.html.


Competence in a foreign language is strongly recommended for all majors, especially for those with interests in comparative and international politics.

All courses in political science are offered as conferences. Some incorporate occasional lectures or a seminar format. Political Science 470 (thesis) may include one or more fall semester conferences made up of all political science thesis students and faculty members, depending upon enrollments.

Political Science Course Descriptions



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