Political Science Major Handbook
Modified 2012-08-24 JMM
Table of Contents
The Nature Of The Discipline.......................................................................................................... 1
The Political Science Program.......................................................................................................... 2
Political Science As A Community................................................................................................... 4
Majoring in Political Science............................................................................................................ 6
Frequently Asked Questions........................................................................................................ 6
Requirements For The Major....................................................................................................... 7
Political Science Requirements Elaborated:.................................................................................. 7
Divisional and College Requirements........................................................................................... 8
Life After Political Science At Reed................................................................................................. 8
Internet Resources.......................................................................................................................... 10
Appendix A: Department Policies.................................................................................................. 11
Waitlist Priority Policy............................................................................................................... 11
AP Credit Policy........................................................................................................................ 11
Policy Regarding Transfer Of Credits For Political Science...................................................... 11
Political Science Policy on Interdisciplinary Ad Hoc Majors..................................................... 11
Appendix B: The Junior Qualifying Examination.......................................................................... 14
Appendix C: The Thesis In Political Science.................................................................................. 15
Appendix D: Summer Internships.................................................................................................. 17
Appendix E: The Three Reed Political Science Faculty Traditions................................................. 18
The intellectual scope of Political Science is unusually broad, since it relies on the analytical resources of so many other fields. Thus, a well-trained political scientist must be knowledgeable about a wide variety of powerful and compelling intellectual perspectives. This kind of broad knowledge is, on some influential accounts, a virtual definition of what it means to be an educated person.
It is also a source of great pleasure. Political scientists are always conscious and critical of their own intellectual tools. They are perhaps uniquely equipped to approach a problem from a variety of perspectives. And they understand especially well the strengths and weaknesses of various intellectual traditions as manners of thinking about the real world.
Political science is fun because most of us are �political junkies�—we just like to talk about politics! In this respect, our interests often overlap. For example, all of us are interested in power, though some of us think about it mainly in terms of the state, while others marriage, and others torture, elections, or nuclear weapons. Not surprisingly, we have fabulous arguments because these give us different vantage points on what power and politics is about.
Naturally, this means we all learn how to recognize good and bad arguments, even as we learn about the world. Political scientists also quickly learn how important it is to be familiar with statistics and economic arguments. Good and bad arguments also come in numerical forms. And we encourage our majors to learn languages and collaborate with faculty on summer research projects.
See Appendix E: The Three Reed Political Science Faculty Traditions for more.
The Political Science program at Reed offers students a theoretically, empirically and conceptually oriented course of study within the context of a traditional liberal arts education. The focus is on political science as a manner of thinking, rather than an accumulation of facts. The breadth of the program lies in the variety of intellectual strategies that are utilized in trying to understand the world of politics and public affairs. The faculty represent a diversity of interests and professional specialties, but all share a deep commitment to understanding and clarifying the intellectual and theoretical foundations of the discipline.
What we will teach you are all the ways political scientists think about politics. Politics itself is a vast field of study, and your specific interests are likely to range far beyond the course offerings of the department. This is why, from freshman to senior year, we try to provide many opportunities for you to initiate and pursue what interests you in the study of politics. To take advantage of the many opportunities available for independent research, you do not have to be an upper class person or for that matter, a major. Rather, the earlier you begin planning ahead and discussing potential projects with faculty, the more opportunities you will have to engage your interests in-depth. Here are some of the possibilities:
Class Projects. We specifically shape our classes so you can do detailed research on projects of your own choosing. Many of the upper-level courses offered are taught as �seminars,� where students work on a single research project within the course�s subject matter for a substantial part of the term, eventually presenting their work to the class, and receiving feedback from their peers as well as their professors. Professor Paul Gronke guides students through designing a public opinion poll of the Reed student body in Public Opinion. Students in most of Professor Gronke�s classes work with public opinion and congressional voting datasets as well. Professor Alexander Montgomery combines his two sections of Introduction to International Politics class into a single three-day nuclear arms control negotiation; students are assigned to a bureaucracy within each of the ten countries and must research and attempt to enact their particular country and bureaucracy's position on a contemporary nuclear arms control issue.
Summer Internships. The Department has three programs to fund student summer work, the Ducey and Fautz-Ducey Internships and the Corbett Collaborative Grants (which are administered with the Goldhammer Collaborative Grants in Economics, affectionately known as the �Corbhammers�). In each case, students receive summer fellowships sufficient to match the income from a �good� summer job. Both are full-time commitments, i.e., 40 hours per week for ten weeks. You can learn more about these in Appendix D.
Working on a Grant. We are often applying for grants to study things that interest us, and if these interest you too, you might find a great opportunity to work with a professor on a major research grant. Here are some recent examples. In 2003, Professor Darius Rejali was named a Carnegie Scholar and awarded a grant to support the development of his forthcoming book, Approaches to Violence, to be published by Princeton University Press. Paul Gronke has established the Early Voting Information Center at Reed, conducting research on and about American voters who vote before Election Day. In 2007, he received a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts to act as a consultant to electionline.org and to study over- and under-voting in American elections.
Studying Off-Campus. Sometimes, a student�s research interests are better satisfied by spending a semester at another institution. With careful planning, you can study off-campus on a number of the College�s approved programs, including Oxford University, the University of East Anglia, Sussex University and Trinity College Dublin—all of which offer political science courses in English. Students have also studied off-campus at Sarah Lawrence College and Howard University in the United States. Political Science students with foreign language proficiency can take a wide variety of coursework in political science from Reed�s programs in Morocco, Costa Rica, Germany, France, Egypt, Ecuador, Italy and Israel. The Office of International Programs (E-203) has full information on all of these and other programs.
Junior Qual. As part of the requirements of the Junior Qualifying Examination, every political science major must write a comprehensive literature review, evaluating current research on a topic of their choosing. Then they must use this review to design a plausible research project (although they don�t execute it, just propose the design). Junior political science majors select a class in which to write their Junior Qual, and, in collaboration with the professor, devise a topic that allows them to pursue independent research. The Qual requirements take the place of some of the regular written assignments for the class. Just as in the senior thesis, students are expected to work closely with the teacher of the class in which they are writing their Qual. Our role is to teach you how to do research and to make sure you learn research skills. Your role is to study what interests you.
See Appendix B: The Junior Qualifying Examination for more.
Senior Thesis. The senior thesis in political science at Reed is designed to flow out of the curriculum and requirements completed in the first three years of study. Research and analytic skills cultivated in coursework and other departmental requirements (such as the junior qualifying exam), are given their fullest expression (and test) in the senior thesis. In addition, students often choose to research questions for their thesis that arose out of political science coursework.
The thesis is, in many ways, the broadest test of both the students' abilities and of the department's success at teaching and preparation. Students are tested through the thesis on their ability to pose important but researchable questions about politics, and then attempt to answer that question in a significant piece of research and writing. Defining the project is often as difficult for students as conducting the research and writing the final product. All are important skills that the department aims to cultivate in the preceding years. The department matches students to appropriate faculty advisors to the greatest degree possible, and monitors their progress carefully over the year. The processes and products that emerge from each year's thesis projects are good indicators of what the department is doing well and where it needs to improve.
The department's curriculum is designed to prepare students for senior thesis. The course requirements for the major are organized methodologically, not substantively, so that by their senior year all students have been exposed to the tools for conducting research in at least three of the four introductory classes. In addition, the department requires a course on the use of statistics, although it is not offered within the department. Finally, the department requires all majors to complete a junior qualifying examination, which is an important skill-developing requirement prior to the senior year.
The college and the department offer a range of resources for students writing thesis. All seniors are given thesis desks in the library, which are theirs for the senior year alone, and extended check-out time for library materials. Students are able to use computers in the Public Policy Workshop (PPW) for writing and researching of their regular coursework and senior thesis projects. In addition, the college has funds to which seniors may apply for financial assistance with research needs, such as telephone calls, travel, survey data collection, and the like.
See Appendix C: The Thesis in Political Science for more.
Research Funds. The College has a fund to assist students in course-related research, which is administered by the Undergraduate Research Committee. The Department of Political Science also has limited funds available to aid students conducting research in political science. The Department requires that the student apply through regular College channels (e.g. the Undergraduate Research Award) before or in conjunction with applying to the department.
Aid is available only to political science majors (that is, students who have already declared their major) and must have relevance to coursework (including thesis work) being done in political science. Examples of such aid may include bus or train tickets to nearby research libraries or government in Oregon and Washington, aid to conduct surveys and experiments, and registration for students who participate in a conference as panelists. Aid will not be provided to students for the purchase of regular class materials, internships at other organizations, room and board during trips, travel to conferences for the sake of interest, or summer research (which by definition is not course-related). The Department evaluates applications for such aid on an ongoing basis. Interested students should write a letter of intent outlining what the request is for, how it relates to coursework in political science, and a proposed budget.
The Public Policy Workshop. The Political Science Department hosts and administers the Public Policy Workshop, in collaboration with the Economics and Sociology Departments. This facility is located in Eliot 110, with an adjacent office that is sometimes used by research assistants.
The PPW serves primarily as a research laboratory, but also serves as a computer facility, teaching facility, and gathering place for social scientists. The PPW has a number of dual-boot Intel Mac workstations, a printer, and a scanner. It has a wired conference table and a projector for meetings and small classes. Specialized social scientific software is installed at the PPW, including geographical information systems, time series, network analysis, and most statistical software packages. Students also have substantially more storage space available on PPW computers than on their home space on the Reed computer system.
The PPW is not an IRC, and is not a part of the College computer system. It is, therefore, not open to anyone, but only to authorized users who have been granted access. Keycard access is granted by the PPW Director, on application to the PPW Manager, whose name and e-mail address are posted on the door to E110. Eligible key holders are limited to social science students and faculty.
The PPW is open 24 hours on an honors system basis. Occasionally, the PPW is used for other purposes, such as classes. Students should consult the bulletin board as to times the PPW is available for use. The PPW Manager handles all special scheduling of the PPW authorized by the Director. Nevertheless, special scheduling is infrequent, so the PPW remains a good place to work on papers, etc., without interruption.
The Political Science Department engages a wide variety of students who are interested in politics, some of whom aren�t political science majors, but who nevertheless are political science junkies: they take lots of our courses. We love this! We like to encourage broad interest in what we do.
Special Lecturers. We have a vigorous lecture schedule. Under the auspices of the Public Policy Lecture Series, we bring between five and eight speakers to campus each year from all over the United States and beyond. While many of these lectures are selected for their relevance to current events of political interest, they are also meant to show you what it is that practicing political scientists do. To this end, the department attempts to bring a mix of speakers, from distinguished academics to activists and politicians who show you other ways of being involved in the world of politics. Recent examples include Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, Ambassador Dennis Ross, author (and alum!) Tamim Ansary, Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki, and scholars such as Francis Fox Piven, Larry Diamond, Joseph Nye and Robert Putnam. The Munk-Darling Lecture in International Affairs brings to campus someone engaged in international affairs. The Robinson Lecture brings a specialist in the area of human rights, and the Twohy-Benezet Lecture brings to campus young dynamic speakers who choose a different road in politics than academia (i.e., as journalists or activists). In addition to their lecture, the Twohy-Benezt speaker offers a workshop for students on the work they do.
Mailing List. We keep a group list on e-mail (updated each semester) for all students, from freshman to seniors, whether majors or just want to know what�s going on in the Political Science Department. We post to this virtual bulletin board lectures, open houses; visits of departmental job candidates, as well as important deadlines and events for majors. If you are a freshman or sophomore, it will give you a sense of the Department, its rhythm, and requirements. It has been enormously successful in that even students who choose to major in another department stay on the list until they graduate. The Department also has a REAL bulletin board where we post information and incriminating photographs from Department events. This is located on the second floor of Eliot.
Open House/Ducey Intern Presentations. Once, or sometimes twice, a year we have an open house. One of these open houses includes presentations from the previous summer Ducey Interns, and provides you, whether you are a major or not, with valuable insights into how the summer internships work.
Corbett and Goldhammer Presentations. Recipients of Corbett and Goldhammer grants must present their work, usually at the end of the summer. This is a great opportunity for you to see how other social scientists work and think.
Other Events. The Department occasionally interviews job candidates for faculty positions. Students, whether they are majors or fellow travelers, are asked to attend these talks and give us their written feedback, which we take quite seriously. At Renn Fayre, students organize a softball team. In 2006, Political Science won the softball tournament.
Summer Opportunities. Reed College is a very different place in the summer months. A temporary reprieve from teaching duties allows faculty to devote time to research that goes beyond the course reading list. This focus also presents a unique opportunity for political science majors, as many faculty members employ student research assistants to lend a hand with their projects. Working side by side with a professor in this manner provides an insight into the activities of a Political Scientist that is rarely found in the classroom. Additionally, in collaboration with the rest of the Social Sciences, the department has organized research presentations by faculty/student teams every week. These talks not only provide a forum for constructive criticism of ongoing projects, but also expose students to the skills involved in research presentation.
Alumni. We are pleased that many alums stay in touch with us. As your interests become clearer, we are more than happy to direct you to people whom we think would really interest you. Alums can be sources of inspiration, not to mention networking.
When should I declare my major? Students may declare a major any time after completing 13 Reed units (excluding PE), preferably at the end of the second year, and must declare after completing 16 units. At the end of your sophomore year is ideal, but you should start thinking about majors you�re interested in before that. It is always helpful to speak with department faculty, even if you haven�t taken courses with them. Even if you haven�t taken a PS course, but plan to, we are always happy to talk to students and walk you through the process.
What is your waitlist priority policy? All Political Science courses are taught as conferences; in order to ensure that students who need to take particular classes to satisfy requirements, we apply priority criteria to all POL classes when enrollment exceeds 24. Generally speaking, POL and ICPS-POL majors have priority over other majors. Note that Reed does not allow for an official declaration of major until after completing 13 units. Sophomores and Freshmen who intend to declare as POL or ICPS-POL majors may change their (unofficial) major status on IRIS before that time by visiting the Registrar's office in person. There is no official form to change this status. See Appendix A: Department Policies.
What is your policy towards AP Credits? The Political Science Department will consider requests for awarding credit to students entering Reed who receive either 4 or 5 on the comparative or American politics advanced placement exams. All petitions must be submitted by the end of the sophomore year. The department will not consider AP petitions after this point. See Appendix A: Department Policies.
What is your policy towards transfer of credits? The Political Science Department's Policy for transferring credits differs if you are a transfer or a non-transfer student. Transfer students are students who have attended some university or college prior to enrolling at Reed and who are transferring credits from that university. Non-transfer students are students who began and are continuing their studies at Reed but who plan to take classes elsewhere (while on leave or over the summer). See Appendix A: Department Policies.
What is your policy towards ad hoc majors? Requests for ad hoc interdisciplinary majors will require a clear and compelling rationale, and will not normally be approved. Students requesting them must not only find two advisors from the participating departments, but must also receive written approval from both departments as specified in the Faculty Code. In order to receive such approval, the student must formally petition the department. See Appendix A: Department Policies.
When should I change my advisor to a PS Department member? Certainly by the time you declare, if not earlier. Remember that PS introductory courses are capped and prospective majors have priority. One way the Registrar can tell if you are prospective is by your advisor. Another way is if you go to the Registar and have them change your �proposed major� to Political Science from whatever it was you designated before you came to Reed (which is there automatically). These steps will put you ahead in the priority line for capping, and you should do these as soon as you know you plan to major in Political Science.
Is there a form for declaring a major? Yes, it is called a Declaration of Major Statement and it is available at the Registrar�s Office. When you fill out this form and your advisor signs it, you�re formally a major in your department of choice. It�s not a formal contract by any means, not even the major, but it is a serious planning process and usually does mean plotting a road map to your graduation. Everyone wants to make sure all will turn out well.
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, Political Science 311, 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.
In drawing up your schedule here are some things to think about:
1. Are you taking three introductory courses in political science by the end of your junior year? Remember you can have one in progress in the second semester of the junior year, but you are required to finish all three before you can start your thesis.
2. Are you taking an upper level political science course in the second semester of your junior year? Remember every major must take a junior qualifying examination in the second semester of their junior year. In political science, this is tied to a course in the department, and so you need to make sure you�re registered for an upper level course. You cannot do your junior qual in an introductory course.
3. Do you plan to go on leave? If so which semester? Speak about this with your advisor. Keep in mind that the Office of Off Campus Programs also has sample schedules for each major, including political science, showing you how to plan if you are going on leave in your sophomore or junior year.
4. Don�t forget your statistics and economics requirements. The purpose of the statistics requirement is to ensure that our majors have a basic grasp of the statistical techniques that are now widely employed in political science and related disciplines. You can meet your statistics requirement in several different ways, and if you are unsure which way is better for you, consult your advisor. Different statistics courses at Reed have different priorities and some may be more suited to your needs. While all of the social sciences are central to the study of political phenomena, we believe that economic analysis is particularly important. It is also a technical field, and therefore requires systematic study. Political science majors may, and usually do, use this course to help fulfill their Divisional requirements.
For the official divisional and college requirements, see the College catalog. In drawing up your schedule here are some things to think about:
1. Make sure that you have covered your divisional as well as group requirements The Division of History and Social Sciences requires that all students complete two units in three fields within the Division (one of which can be political science). There are restrictions on which courses fill this requirement in each field, so students should consult the College Catalog carefully. Some requirements for the major may double as meeting group or divisional requirements. Remember to ask your advisor. Also remember, that even if you�re unsure you will be a political science major, but you KNOW you will be in the Division of History and Social Sciences, you will still need to complete all your divisional requirements. So all things considered, it is important to put a priority on meeting these.
2. Students should consult the Catalog or the Senior Handbook published by the Office of the Registrar for complete details details on College requirements. Remember that in your senior year, you must pass a minimum of six units. This includes the 2 units for Thesis, PS 470.
3. How many group requirements have you completed? What remains? Remember no senior is happy taking �intro Anything� so it is best to put a priority in getting these out of the way as well.
4. In counting your courses, consider that you need 30 units to graduate. About 11 of these are group requirements, and 11 are PS (3 intros plus four upper levels, plus statistics, economics and 2 for thesis). So at a minimum you have 8 electives, which is a full year of electives. Ask yourself how you want to distribute these across the years (for example, all at once, say during your leave in Florence?) In practice you are likely to have more space than this because some courses may meet two requirements. For example, the courses you take for Group X may also map onto divisional requirements.
Reed College is an undergraduate institution that offers an education in the liberal arts and sciences. Its purpose is to help produce people who are broadly educated, not narrow specialists. The Political Science Department aims not to create political scientists, but rather, liberally educated individuals who happen to have majored in political science. In a sense, it doesn�t matter what your major is or what you do with your life after Reed. We believe that all subjects are equally interesting, that all majors are compatible with a wide variety of career options all of which are legitimate and praiseworthy. You do not have to major in political science in order to become a political scientist, go into politics or government, go to law school and the like. Of course, we regard advising on curriculum choices, as well as any career and other personal decisions you wish to raise as fundamental parts of our roles as teachers, and welcome such conversations anytime. The point is that these are choices each student controls. We will help in any way we can, but in the end, you are the responsible party.
It is nonetheless true that political science graduates tend to follow certain career tracks. Reed is nationally known for having lots of students who choose careers in academia and political science is no exception. Recent graduates enrolled in Ph.D. programs at Harvard, Brandeis, Berkeley, University of Michigan, UCLA, Duke, Illinois, McGill, Johns Hopkins, York, Northwestern, Chicago and Massachusetts.
While we are proud of these students, we are also proud of the Reedies who have chosen quite different careers. Although majoring in political science is certainly not necessary for law school, that is what many of our graduates choose. Our grads have enrolled at many law schools, including Boalt Hall (UC Berkeley), Chicago and Harvard. A number of other students have pursued advanced degrees in public policy. Schools of public policy—e.g., the Kennedy School at Harvard and the Wilson School at Princeton—generally offer Master�s degrees (and Ph.Ds) that often lead to excellent policy analysis jobs in both the private and public sectors, as well as academic appointments. Still other students have pursued graduate degrees in business administration. And, of course, many political science graduates have gone directly into the (more or less) real world—in business, government, journalism, computers, bartending, ceramics and the like. Political activism seems to attract quite a few with internships or other positions with advocacy groups of various kinds. We hope, and believe, that all of them have learned how to think at Reed College, and have used the ability to good advantage in their lives after Reed. Many of them report that this has, in fact, been the case.
The Department has surveyed as many of our graduated majors as possible to find out where they have gone, what they have done and what advice they have to offer current majors. While a statistically valid picture is not feasible, we can pass on a bit of advice from two of our respondents. First, two pieces of advice from a student who went on to do a Ph.D. at Cornell University�s School of Government, for those thinking of pursuing an academic path:
Learn statistics while you are at Reed: Most political scientists crunch numbers. Even if you don�t plan to be that kind of political scientist, in the profession, everyone around you will be a �quantoid.� Like it or not, you need to talk to these people. That means learning their language.... Grad school is a bad place for liberal artists to learn basic math. Take your lumps now in the relatively forgiving environment at Reed.�
Learn a language at Reed: Except for Americanists, most political scientists use a second language as part of their work. Indeed, I think many Americanists are Americanists because they only speak American. This is a bad reason to circumscribe your intellectual and professional development. Language classes are a pain. But the sooner you can claim fluency in another language, the sooner you can get grants to travel to cool places and do research. Think about it—do you want to spend your summers in the archives at the University of Virginia or do you want to be in Berlin?�
Second, these encouraging words from a Reed Pol Sci major who went on to work in a variety of education-related jobs in Washington, DC, and then as Education Program Manager for the San Francisco Conservation Corps: �As a political science major, your options are really more numerous than you think. Don�t think you�ll be relegated to menial work. As a political science major, I was taught to think critically and analytically about all the various systems that involve human interaction and the art of creating policies and decrees that dictate or lead the lives of others. It has also taught me to be confident in pursuing any field I want, in other words, you�re not doomed to one and one �techne� alone (see Darius for a better explanation).... In my case, the system that dictates educational standards for the young people of this country is the one I�ve decided to focus on.�
Thesis and �After Reed.� There is no necessary connection between what you do for thesis and what you do afterward. Perhaps that is as it should be. Thesis is a wonderful opportunity for you to explore what really interests you without constraints; those kinds of opportunities are rare. Sometimes, looking back, there was something in a thesis topic that turned out to be powerful in shaping your subsequent life. It would have been difficult to see it at the time, but it was there nonetheless. Sharing some recent alumni case histories may give you an idea of how things can happen. The cases are students whose subsequent career bears a clear yet unexpected mark of their work as political science majors. In the cases below, there seem to be a lot of messages: Do what you are passionate about. Use thesis to learn new skills. Don�t rush yourself into doing what you feel you have to do. Get to know yourself through your thesis. Here are a few:
�ET wrote her senior thesis on the social and political significance of anorexia, drawing heavily on the work of Giddens to analyze the political significance of bodies. After a brief period of sheep farming in Germany and some paralegal work in Portland, ET enrolled in one of the leading nurse/midwifery programs in the country. She plans to start her own midwifery organization, and she credits her interest in organizational management and public health policy to her thesis.
�MV came to Reed at 16 and graduated at 20. He was fascinated with postmodern theories of communication and computers. For his thesis, he decided to write on the Freedom of Information Act, that is, the extent to which government could withhold information from the public on the basis of national security. After some six years working in theater management, MV enrolled in law school and became a legal specialist in computer programs as intellectual property.
�JM was quite philosophically oriented and he wrote his thesis on Habermas� theory of communication and particularly on the idea of ideal speech communication. After graduation, JM took various jobs, most recently as a fundraiser for a local community radio. This year, he decided his real passion was in being a conflict mediator, and he enrolled in a graduate conflict mediation program. He attributes his interest in this area as a direct outgrowth of his interest in ideal speech communication.
�BM was an uncertain political science major. He returned from his junior year in Japan with a curiosity about copyright theft in Asia. This he turned into his thesis on intellectual property rights and conflicts between Asia and the United States in this area of trade policy. After graduation, he was immediately hired by a consulting firm in Washington, DC that specialized in intellectual property, and he then went to become the firm�s Southeast Asia representative.
�JM did his thesis on the initiative process in Oregon, which required him to do a great deal of open-ended interviewing and to master qualitative research techniques. He became an investigator for a Portland law firm utilizing essentially the same methodological skills he learned in his thesis experience.
The Department of Political Science maintains a website: http://academic.reed.edu/poli_sci/
The website contains links to many valuable information resources, including:
1. Information on the department�s curriculum and requirements for the major.
2. Faculty and staff directory, including links to personal web pages and email contact information.
3. An updated catalog of course offerings complete with class descriptions.
4. Resources for students
(Approved May 2008)
All Political Science courses are taught as conferences; in order to ensure that students who need to take particular classes to satisfy requirements, we apply priority criteria to all POL classes when enrollment exceeds 24.
We have slightly different criteria for introductory courses (2x0) and upper-level (3xx and 4xx) courses, since POL and ICPS-POL majors are required to complete all three of their introductory courses by the end of their junior year. Since our introductory courses are often required for our upper-level courses, for non-majors we give priority to those earlier in their Reed careers. Finally, we reserve a third of the slots for all introductory classes for freshmen.
Note that Reed does not allow for an official declaration of major until after completing 13 units. Sophomores and Freshmen who intend to declare as POL or ICPS-POL majors may change their (unofficial) major status on IRIS before that time by visiting the Registrar's office in person. There is no official form.
Introductory course waitlist priority (for the 2/3 of the slots not for freshmen):
Upper-level course waitlist priority:
(Revised June 2008, July 2010)
The HSS Division and Administration committees manage Divisional and Group requirements. Department policies regarding AP credits are contained below:
A student who has received a 4 or 5 on either the AP Comparative Politics exam or the AP American Government exam or both may:
1. Waive one of the three introductory courses required for the major; the student must take at least two introductory courses at Reed even if both exams are passed, and still must take seven political science courses. Students who are taking Political Science for Divisional or Group B requirements are still required to take at least one introductory course regardless of AP credits.
2. Use either exam to satisfy a prerequisite for a generic �200-level POL course� for upper-division classes. The AP Comparative exam may also be used as a prerequisite in place of Pol 220. The AP American Government exam is NOT comparable to Pol 210, and will not substitute as Pol 210 for the purposes of prerequisites.
(Approved September 12, 1996; Amended Sept. 24, 1997; Amended August 24, 2007; Amended February 22, 2009; Amended July 2010)
Students must submit their requests for transfer units within one year of arriving at Reed. The Political Science Department's Policy for transferring credits depends on whether a student is majoring in Political Science or not, and when the credits are earned for majors.
Non-majors. All non-majors must take at least one introductory (200-level) course at Reed College to satisfy Group B or Divisional requirements through Political Science. Consequently, even if you take multiple Political Science courses at another university before or after arriving at Reed, only one course can be transferred to count towards these requirements regardless of which courses you take, introductory or not.
Transfer students majoring in Political Science. The Department recognizes that transfer students may face difficulties in completing all the requirements for a major in a timely way. Depending on a transfer student's past courses, the Department may consider petitions that grant transfer students greater flexibility in their program.
If you are a transfer student who plans to become a Political Science major, the Department requires that at least two introductory courses be completed at Reed if you are transferring in as a sophomore. Two introductory courses are highly recommended if you are transferring in as a junior.
All Political Science Majors. Sometimes, majors take political science courses at another university in the United States or overseas after matriculation. If you plan to do so, you should discuss your courses in advance with the Department. Present the Department with course descriptions and, if available, a syllabus. The following rules apply to course pre-approval requests for all Reed study abroad programs as well as credits transferred from non-Reed approved programs.
If you are a major, you may take a maximum of two upper level courses at another university to meet your upper level political science course requirements. Majors will note that some 200-level courses are offered once a year, and they may not be able to take the course either due to a schedule conflict or enrollment in study abroad programs. In these cases, upon the advisor's recommendation, the Department will consider granting credit for courses that are equivalent to Pol 200 level courses taken at other universities. But generally the department strongly prefers that majors take all three required 200 level courses at Reed.
(as approved by the department on 10/17/02)
Requests for ad hoc interdisciplinary majors will require a clear and compelling rationale, and will not normally be approved. Students requesting them must not only find two advisors from the participating departments, but must also receive written approval from both departments as specified in the Faculty Code. In order to receive such approval, the student must formally petition the department.
Requirements of the petition:
This petition must state the educational goals and benefits of the ad hoc major and how these goals could not be met within a traditional major. Barring unusual circumstances, such petitions much be received by the first Monday following the break of the first semester of a student�s junior year (normally, the first Monday after fall break
1. The ad hoc major MUST include the following:
a. 3 gateway courses (200 level Political Science courses).
b. 3 upper division Political Science courses (i.e, 300 or 400 level).
c. Econ 201 or any of the approved quantitative courses listed in the catalog as satisfying the Political Science statistics requirement
d. The regular Political Science junior qualifying exam.
2. If the ad hoc major is outside the HSS Division, then at least two courses in another HSS department.
Political Science is interdisciplinary by its very nature. Substantively, it focuses on political decision making by individuals, groups, and governments; but its methodology and theoretical underpinnings draw on psychology, sociology, economics, history, anthropology and philosophy. The Reed Political Science major reflects this in its structure, requiring both breadth within the major (the �gateway courses�) and outside the major (the HSS distribution requirements, plus Econ 201, and statistical reasoning). For these reasons, we believe that the Reed Political Science curriculum is flexible enough to allow students to pursue their special interests within the context of our major and that ad hoc majors are unnecessary.
Ad hoc majors are time-consuming for faculty and potentially confusing and troublesome to administer. For these reasons, and because we believe that the political science major is already well-suited for interdisciplinary work, ad hoc majors require a clear and compelling rationale and are best suited for students with exemplary academic records.
The Junior Qualifying Examination in Political Science is taken very seriously by the faculty. The Department has experimented with several forms of the examination over the past twenty years, finally settling on the current version about five or six years ago. The examination is taken by most students in the spring, but accommodations are routinely made for those returning from leave, doing a spring-fall thesis, or who otherwise cannot take it at the usual time. Students are required to have completed at least two of the three required introductory courses by the time they take the qualifying exam and are permitted to have the third in progress at that time, although accommodations can be made for students who are unable to schedule all three classes due to irresolvable conflicts. Junior qualifying examinations may receive one of three possible grades: pass, fail or conditional pass. The conditional pass requires that the student retake a portion of the exam in which he or she was deficient or to undertake further scholarly activity of some other sort to strengthen his or her knowledge in that area. Most of our students pass their junior qualifying examination, but not all.
The examination is taken in a 300- or 400-level course, and consists of five parts: An initial short written proposal, discussed at lunch with the faculty of the department of the proposal; a two-hour library certification by the Social Science librarian; an annotated bibliography that on the literature relevant to the student's proposal and an outline of the literature review; a draft research design based on that review, presented at a mini-oral lunch; and the final product, which includes the completed literature review, revised research design, and complete bibliography. These tasks are completed in lieu of part of the work for a course, usually the final paper; the subject of the examination is expected to be compatible with the subject material of the course.
The examination is an important Reed institution that serves vital needs in assessing thesis readiness, consistent with the Faculty Code. It also serves important intellectual socialization purposes and assists students in preparing for the initial stages of the thesis. The outcome of the qualifying examination is therefore that faculty are aware of readiness on an individual student basis and that students are better prepared for thesis by virtue of having practiced research and writing skills that are required for the initial part of the thesis through the qualifying examination process. The qualifying examination gives the department's faculty an opportunity to assess the degree to which students have retained some basic knowledge of important issues in the discipline. It also gives the faculty an opportunity to assess writing and reasoning skills, and to identify weaknesses for students to work on. Each member of the department reads every exam. The evaluation itself takes place in a lengthy departmental meeting, in which the members of the department discuss each examination, arrive at a departmental decision, and then determine the kinds of commentary that each student should receive.
There are significant advantages to the current design of the qualifying examination. Taking the qualifying examination in an upper-level course instead of in a separate research design course means that students are actively engaged in a particular literature during the examination, which increases student interest and allows for greater focus. Moreover, by allowing for the substitution of the qualifying examination for other work in the particular course, we are in compliance with the Faculty Code, which specifies that "the Faculty does not expect that a student's preparation for it will draw a substantial amount of time away from his or her regular work." Often, multiple students will qualify in the same course, and so can provide each other with support.
However, there are also some disadvantages to the current qualifying examination. Due to staffing shortages, there is currently no separate course in which students learn the principles of research design, and so often students must learn these on the fly. Moreover, while a research design is a relatively well-defined concept in empirically-focused examinations, the wide variety of potential designs for a theoretically-focused qualifying examination often makes it difficult to guide students who are taking the examination in a political theory course and to evaluate their designs. While the examination is good preparation for writing the thesis, it does not actively assess whether a student has achieved a full grasp of the basic principles of political science. The department is actively engaged in attempting to address these shortcomings.
Please see the Political Science Junior Qualifying Examination Handbook on the department website for further elaboration.
Thesis is a two-credit course that you take with a professor. It is an exciting experience precisely because you have the opportunity to work closely with a professor on a one-to-one basis. Treat it as a class. Give yourself the time to prepare before you see your advisor so the time spent is worthwhile for both of you.
Remember that you need to work with your advisor to find the kind of supervision that works for the two of you. Often students need different things from advisors. Some students are concerned whether they have enough data; others need someone to bounce ideas off of. Others use the thesis to explore broader issues, such as, �what is a political scientist and should I go to graduate school to become one?� Some students drop in once a week with material to discuss. Others treat it as an independent study; we definitely do not recommend this. Some students want structure and formality; others prefer a less formal style of supervision. Whatever your needs, you need to find the relationship that is most comfortable for you and your advisor. There should be regular consultation between you and your advisor as every advisor has his or her own expectations. Usually, you should agree to set up regular meetings (thesis conferences), expectations for chapter drafts and other benchmarks of progress.
The best advice for selecting a topic is to talk—with anyone, but certainly with faculty—about things that interest you. Talk with other students, attend lectures, make some notes about ideas, pay attention in class (faculty will often comment �that is a good thesis topic�—don�t let those hints pass). The key is that settling on a topic is a process and a dialogue. A brilliant and very specific topic may suddenly occur to you, or you may actually have had one in mind for years, but that is rare. Do not forget to review the past theses in Political Science in this appendix. If a title interests you, look it up in the Library. Reed theses are rarely �the last word� on any topic, and any thesis may spur a completely different idea. Usually good topics emerge from conversations over time, and it is up to you to initiate them.
Keep your topic simple, but not simplistic. A good topic addresses a basic question or puzzle in the discipline. Often the more complicated the question, the more evasive it seems. For example, what is Foucault�s connection to Bataille and Nietzsche can be thoroughly interesting, but you still need to answer the question: what does it matter? What conceptual issue or puzzle does this topic address in political science or political theory? Grounding yourself in this way will give you a star to navigate by. It will make it easier for you to separate what is important to write about and what you can ignore. And you will find that the clearer your focus, the more you can write.
Keep your perspective on what you are writing. You are not writing Hegel�s Phenomenology of Spirit. While we hope you write a wonderful thesis, we know that you will learn a great deal in the process of researching, writing, discussing and rewriting your thesis—regardless of how happy you are with the final product that you have produced when time runs out at the end of Spring term. Remember that thesis is as much about process as product, and that you are evaluated not only on what you wrote, but on what you did over the entire year.
The thesis process has its own rhythm, which accelerates as the year proceeds. Usually, the first chapter takes the longest time to write precisely because you are setting out the topic, but as you proceed, you become more sure-footed and the chapters are written more quickly. As an exercise, count back from the first draft deadline (usually the beginning of April) and figure a month per chapter. Balance your schedule accordingly.
Write, write, write! Writing and thinking are not exclusive categories. Often when we write, we also think more clearly. You may end up using only a fraction of what you write in the end, but it is better to pick and choose what you will include than to write a great deal all in a hurry. As an exercise, try to set aside 15 minutes a day to write down thoughts on your thesis and go over them occasionally.
Do not put the details off to the last moment. Work on your bibliography when you have time, writing it up in the proper format, or make use of bibliographic software available for Macs and PCs. Make sure you are familiar with the proper footnoting format. If you don�t know whether you are using proper format, check Turabian�s A Manual for Writers.
Among the skills we hope you master in the course of thesis is the ability to edit and tighten your own work. When we submit our materials to journals and publishers, they commonly ask us to cut 1/3 or 1/4 of our �finished material.� We know how valuable this exercise is, and painful though it is, it has taught us how to edit. We believe mastering this skill will assist you in writing graduate school essays, op-eds for newspapers, or journal articles and will generally increase the likelihood that strangers will read your work with interest. The greater the economy of thesis, the easier it will be for you to submit it to national student journals and conferences.
Please see the Political Science Senior Thesis Handbook on the department website for further elaboration.
The Department has three programs to fund student summer work, the Ducey and Fautz-Ducey Internships and the Corbett Collaborative Grants (which are administered along with the Goldhammer Collaborative Grants in Economics, affectionately known as the �Corbhammers�). In each case, students receive summer fellowships sufficient to match the income from a �good� summer job. All are full-time commitments, i.e., 40 hours per week for ten weeks. The Corbhammers also include a small expense allowance in addition to the stipend, but the Ducey�s and Fautz-Ducey�s require the host organization to provide necessary resources beyond the stipend. Both require a formal proposal and are highly competitive so that interested students should begin thinking about this well in advance of the proposal deadline which is announced annually (usually in mid February). All also require a formal presentation to a gathering of interested people in the semester following the internship or fellowship and both require a written report to be archived with other Corbett and Ducey papers. Each is open only to students who will be returning to Reed the next academic year, effectively meaning that seniors are not eligible. They are highly competitive so the proposal process should be taken seriously and developed over enough time to do it well. Students are eligible for only one Corbhammer or one Ducey during their Reed careers. Although most interns and fellows are political science or economics majors, the program is open to all Reed undergraduates regardless of major.
The Duceys and the Corbhammers are funded through endowments provided by generous gifts from the Corbett and Goldhammer families and the late Elizabeth Ducey all of whom have strong interests in public policy and �good government� in its best sense. We are very fortunate to have these opportunities available. The Corbhammers and Duceys are described briefly below, but more information and the deadline schedule are available in brochures published annually and available from Lois Hobbs, HSS Faculty Secretary, CC-112, or from any political science or economics faculty member.
The Corbhammers support a summer research project in public policy for a faculty member and one or two students working collaboratively as a team. They were formally known as the �Hewletts� because of an initial grant from the Hewlett Foundation, so you may hear them referred to by that name. The Corbhammer emphasis on �collaborative� requires meaningful research roles for all participants (faculty and students) detailed in a formal proposal prepared jointly by the student(s) and the faculty member. Two summer Corbetts are normally granted, but more are possible if the proposals are extraordinary (in addition to the Goldhammers). Faculty also receive a stipend and are expected to make this a major part of their summer work.
The Ducey and Fautz-Ducey Internships are different in that they do not involve a faculty member except as an informal advisor. The Fautz-Ducey must be served in Washington, DC; while Ducey internships may be served anywhere in the world. The Duceys provide a stipend for a student to work with an agency outside the College for the summer. The goal of the Ducey Internships is to provide students with the opportunity to spend their summers working and researching full-time in a policy-making institution of their choice, typically a governmental agency or a non-profit organization that develops, influences or implements policy. Ducey summer interns are expected to participate in real policy making or research during the course of their internships. Some routine clerical work, manning tables, etc., is inevitable, but that alone will not qualify and must be incidental to the purpose of the Ducey Internship. In particular, Ducey Interns must not participate in direct solicitation of funds. Like the Corbhammers, the Duceys require a formal proposal prepared by the students and the agency or organization which will host the internship. The Department does not arrange the organizations—that is up to the student, although it will pass on any inquiries it receives from outside organizations. One to two Ducey Internships are planned each summer, and one additional Fautz-Ducey is usually awarded.
Qualifying institutions are government agencies, political parties and organizations that have 501(3)c or 501(h) status in the United States or the equivalent status in a foreign country. Examples include the World Affairs Council, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Democratic Party, the NAACP, the ILO and NOW. However, prominence of the agency will not have any bearing on the judging the merits of the proposal, and applicants are encouraged to contact small community based non-profits if that is where their interests lie. More details are available in the Ducey Brochure available from Lois Hobbs in CC-112 or any department member.
There are three traditions of Reed political science, the �McKinley tradition,� the �Noble tradition,� and the �Goldschmidt tradition.� Charles McKinley, a professor at Reed from the 1930s to the 1960s, was a distinguished figure who served a term as President of the American Political Science Association. He was an expert in nuts-and-bolts policy analysis and public administration, and made his reputation less as a traditional publishing scholar than as a consultant and advisor. The McKinley tradition emphasizes practical, hands-on engagement with public affairs.
George Noble represents the faculty�s long involvement in international and comparative politics. Noble, who was a Rhodes Scholar, taught at Reed from 1922 to 1946. He focused on international organization and law in the contemporary world. In 1919, after he finished his scholarship at Oxford, he served on the U.S. Peace Commission of Paris. These experiences served as part of his later book, Policies and Opinions at Paris 1919 (1935). Noble was selected as a Carnegie Fellow in International Law and during World War II, served on the War Labor Board. The Noble tradition emphasizes both scholarship and practice and, in particular, the relevance of political theory to the pressing concerns of world politics.
Maure Goldschmidt was a Reed alumnus and Rhodes Scholar who taught at the College from 1946 to 1977. Like McKinley, he was not really a publishing scholar. Nonetheless, he had a national reputation as a teacher and once served as Vice President of the APSA. He was an expert on Rousseau, and was generally and widely knowledgeable about philosophy. The Goldschmidt tradition emphasizes political theory and the history of political thought, and casts a quite critical eye upon the behavioralism and scientism of post-war American political science.
All three traditions are alive at Reed today. Our intellectual differences are based on a deep mutual respect, and contribute constructively to the curriculum. We are all proud to be faculty members at Reed. We think we compose a strong Department of scholar/teachers, but that�s ultimately up to our students to decide.