Requirements for the Major in Politics

The Politics major has a four-tier structure. Each tier marks a distinct level of engagement with political concepts, processes, and institutions. After acquiring content knowledge and methodological skills at the lower levels, students progress to the upper levels and continue to develop their own perspectives on politics.

Thirteen courses are required for successful completion of the Politics major. Distributions and prerequisites for these courses are outlined in the table below, followed by a list of courses meeting the requirements under each tier of study. For updated course listings that meet these requirements, email

Tier I: Core Classes

Students must take one course in three of the following four subfields:*

U.S. Politics, which focuses on the politics of the United States and the Americas in domestic and global context. Courses include
LPOL 2015 Constitutional Law
LPOL 2018 Gender, Family, State in American Politics
LPOL 2120 Power and Politics in the U.S.

Comparative Politics, which examines the politics of one or more countries or alternate units of analysis through a comparative lens. Courses include
LPOL 2017 The Nation-State and Its Discontents
LPOL 2031 Power and the State
LPOL 2501 The Nation-State Is Dead. Long Live the Nation-State.

International Relations and Global Politics, which focuses on relations between countries and the increasing ambiguity of the nation-state as a pertinent unit of analysis. Courses include
LPOL 2019 Everybody Wants to Rule the World
LPOL 2033 Politics of Globalization
LPOL 2806 Conflict and Inequality in International Affairs

Political Theory, which examines normative, conceptual, analytic, and diagnostic questions through the lens of political thinkers from ancient through contemporary times. Courses include
LPOL 2016 Imagining the Good Society
LPOL 2023 Introduction to Political Theory: Reframing the Political
LPOL 2500 Critiques of Domination

*One core course requirement can be fulfilled with a ULEC course or Freshman Seminar taught by a Politics professor. At least two core courses must be LPOL 2000-level courses (or transfer equivalent).

Tier II: Interdisciplinary and Experiential Classes

This tier allows students to draw on relevant coursework in economics, history, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, psychology, humanities, and the arts to develop their knowledge of politics and power. It also invites students to put into practice their knowledge of politics by doing an internship or taking a civic engagement or study abroad course.

Students must take three courses from an approved list of non-LPOL classes. At least one of these courses must be an internship, study abroad experience, or civic engagement course.

Sample 2013-2014 courses fulfilling the interdisciplinary requirement (email for updated lists by semester):   

LANT 2815 The Politics of Giving
LCST 3782 Feminist and Queer Affect Studies
LECO 3011 Poverty and Inequality
LEDU 3101 Refugees, Immigrants, and Education
LHIS 2844/2854 History, Authority, and Power
LINA 3150 Organizing for Freedom: Community Mobilizing Through Art and Education
LMUS 3104 How Race Defines American Music
LREL 3069 Buddhism and Human Rights
LSOC 3095 "The Ghetto"
LURB 3040 Social Justice and the City
UENV 4520 Urban Food Systems
UGLB 2110 [Dis]order and [In]justice

Tier III: Upper-Level Electives

Students can take any six LPOL classes at the 3000 and 4000 levels. Students must complete two core classes (one in the relevant subfield) or attain junior or senior status to enroll. Sample courses:

LPOL 3007 Contesting Economic Inequality
LPOL 3011 Studying Power Through Fieldwork
LPOL 3016 Borders and Walls
LPOL 3029 Biodiversity and Politics
LPOL 3033 Utopia and Urbanism
LPOL 3038 China in Revolution and Reform
LPOL 3041 Resistance

Tier IV: Capstone

In the fourth and final tier, students choose between writing an individual honors thesis and joining a senior capstone seminar.

The honors thesis is written under the direct supervision of a Department of Politics faculty member and provides students with valuable experience conceptualizing, researching, writing, and presenting an original scholarly work in politics. The honors thesis is researched and written over the course of an academic year; upon completion, students develop and deliver a public presentation of their findings in a suitable academic forum. Students electing to write an honors thesis must meet minimum GPA requirements and receive approval from a supervising faculty member.

The capstone seminar offers students an opportunity to produce original work that may include research, political intervention, education, or institution building. Reflecting on the political knowledge acquired in previous courses, students (either individually or collaboratively) design a unique project. The shape and substance of the project will vary depending on the year and the instructor. Examples include

  • A website to educate the public about the oppressive military government in Burma (Myanmar) and the struggle for democracy there
  • A voter registration drive focusing on New York City high school seniors and college students
  • Public opinion research (using student-designed surveys) on attitudes toward immigrants and multiculturalism
  • A study comparing rates of election of women to higher office in Europe, Asia, and the United States
  • In-depth interviewing and participant-observation research among striking restaurant delivery workers in New York City
  • An intensive reading of one or more works of political theory

Requirements for the Minor in Politics

Undergraduate students from any college in the university who are not majoring in Liberal Arts can elect to minor in Politics. Five courses are required for successful completion of this minor:

  • Two 2000-level Tier I core courses. Students must take one course in two of the following subfields:*
    • U.S. Politics
    • Comparative Politics
    • Global Politics
    • Political Theory
    * See descriptions and sample courses above under Tier I Major Requirements. As with majors, one core requirement can be fulfilled with a ULEC or freshman seminar taught by a Politics professor. 
  • Three 3000- or 4000-level Tier III elective courses
    Students can take any three LPOL classes at these levels. Students must complete two core classes (one in the relevant subfield) or attain junior or senior status to enroll. See descriptions and sample courses above under Tier III Major Requirements.

Self-Designed Major (BA or BS, Liberal Arts)

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts cannot elect an academic minor; however, they can pursue deeper study in this subject area through the self-designed major. To explore this option, contact an academic advisor and read more about the self-designed option at Lang.