The Political Science Department offers three degree tracks in the study of politics and international affairs, consisting of the political science major (POLS), concentration in international relations (PSIR), or concentration in international development (PSDV) as well as the option to minor in political science or international development.
Political Science (General)
Political science majors (POLS) study governance, power and policy in a number of different contexts. Course offerings reflect the breadth of faculty expertise in this expansive discipline, which includes political theory, American politics, political research methods, comparative politics, and international affairs. Students receive a broad introduction to the major tools and approaches to the study of politics, and then apply these tools to understand the many facets of public life, from contemporary political thought to campaigns and elections, political behavior, public policy, political development, conflict and peace, and race, gender and politics. The study of Political Science at Tulane equips students with skills that are in high demand in public and civil service, business, law, journalism, the non-profit sector, and many other professions.
Political Science-International Relations
Our International Relations major (PSIR) focuses on global political, economic and cultural interaction, and addresses the behaviors of states, groups, international organizations, and non-state actors. Although majors are free to take any political science classes, a greater percentage of their electives must address the politics of the world and international realm. PSIR students gain an understanding of the implications of many global issues, such as armed conflict, security, trade, poverty, genocide, terrorism, human rights, and the environment. Majors must also complete an additional component of economics courses, and one level beyond minimum proficiency in a language other than English. The study of International Relations at Tulane equips students for careers in Foreign Service and diplomacy, international business and law, foreign correspondence, and military and intelligence analysis.
Political Science-International Development
PSDV is the most inter-disciplinary Political Science major track. It focuses on the analysis of unequal political, social, and economic development around the world and what might be done to improve the livelihoods of people in the Global South as well as underprivileged communities in the United States. This track offers students an education firmly rooted in a social science framework that allows them to explore multiple meanings of international development. Coursework within the department introduces students to the history, theories, and methods of the field, allows them to deepen their knowledge of at least one world area (Latin America, Africa, Middle East, or Asia), and offers in-depth study of policy areas including poverty, migration, human rights, transitional justice, gender, foreign aid, food and agriculture, health, and environmental sustainability.
Majors are required to complete one level beyond minimum proficiency in a language other than English, as well as introductory macroeconomics and international political economy courses. In recognition of the interdisciplinary nature of international development, majors and minors must complete electives in other departments. Choices include courses in Anthropology, Architecture, Asian Studies, Communication, Evolutionary Biology, Earth Science, Economics, History, Philosophy, Public Health, Sociology, Social Work, and Theatre.
The Department of Political Science strongly recommends that PSDV students take advantage of at least one study abroad opportunity while at Tulane. We also encourage students to seek relevant internship opportunities inside and outside of the United States.
This major prepares students to compete for Fulbright grants, study for professional and graduate degrees, and work for the U.S. government, international organizations, NGOs, foundations, and private firms.
Please see the degree requirements page for more information.
If you are planning to write an honors thesis this year, you are required to submit the form (linked below), with the requisite signatures, to the departmental office (316 Norman Mayer) by the 2nd Wednesday of the fall semester. We recognize that it is in advance of the deadline in the Honors Department for their form and prospectus.
Guidelines for POLS/PSIR Majors Planning to Study Abroad
1. No more than THREE classes for one-semester studied abroad or FIVE for a whole year will count toward fulfillment of the POLS/PSIR major.
2. We do not transfer classes at the 4000-level or above unless we have a direct equivalent in our catalog. The courses students take will typically transfer in at the 3000-level or below.
3. Students need to consult with Prof. Kiel, the departmental study abroad advisor, upon their return in order to have the classes taken abroad assigned numbers that will be recognized by the department (the number "5380," which is automatically assigned by the registrar, is NOT the official course number).