Political Science


Political science applies theories, concepts, and methods to the study of political phenomena. It uses historical, philosophical, and empirical perspectives to understand political problems and policy issues. Traditionally, political science splits into four sub-fields: (1) the study of politics in the United States; (2) the comparative study of political systems and individual nations around the globe; (3) the study of relations among states and peoples; and (4) the philosophical study of political ideas. What distinguishes Political Science at Brown is our exploration of the broad questions about political life in ways that cross traditional sub-fields. The concentration in Political Science exposes students to approaches to the study of politics ranging from ancient Greek philosophy to modern quantitative techniques of policy evaluation, in both domestic and international contexts.

Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Gain an understanding of the nature and history of important issues in contemporary politics
  • Grasp the major theories underlying political systems
  • Learn the methodological approaches relevant to one or more subfields in political science
  • Develop advanced rhetorical and writing skills
  • Produce original research in the form of a seminar paper


Click here for a list of the Political Science concentration requirements. For more information about this concentration, please visit the department's website.

Honors and Capstones

View Honors website

All concentrators must complete a capstone course in the form of a Senior Seminar in the department. Admission into the Honors course of study is restricted to students who have given evidence of superior work in Political Science.  At the completion of 5 semesters, an average of at least 3.6 in graded political science courses is required.  Since the application is due prior to the end of the 6th semester, it is understood that you will have completed 8 Political Science courses before the honors seminar starts at the beginning of your 7th semester. Please visit the Political Science website for complete information on the requirements for Honors.


  • American
  • International and Comparative
  • Theory

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Expand your reading skills
  • Collaborate fully
  • Understand differences among cultures
  • Engage with your community
  • Learn what it means to study the past
  • Evaluate human behavior
  • Work on your speaking and writing

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

Back to Focal Point


Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors
201073 73 
201182 82 
201279 79 
201373 73 

Alumni Pathways

Political Science has a wide range of applications and provides a useful preparation for a variety of career options. Most graduates have pursued careers in law, government service, business, industry, teaching, communications, and hospital administration.

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

Dept. Undergraduate Group

Student Leaders:

  • Rebecca Mears

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact focal_point@brown.edu, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.