Political Science


Why do Hindus and Muslims live in harmony in one city and fight bitterly in another just a few miles away? Why is the U.S. the only industrialized nation without a complete national health insurance? What is the legacy of slavery in the U.S.? Why are there so few women in Congress? How is radicalism in the Middle East changing? Why and how does democracy flourish? Just what is democracy? How do emotions shape our political behavior? What do war movies tell us about the USA? Would less government lead to more social justice? What is social justice? How does smuggling (of drugs, guns, and people) reshape international relations? How do immigrants see the American Dream? What is the American dream?

Political science is about questions like these. You can grapple with every one of them –and many more— in the classrooms of the Brown political science department. We study how people –nations, regions, cities, communities— live their common lives. How people solve (or duck) their common problems. How people govern themselves. How they think, talk, argue, fight, and vote. Students passionate about social challenges may also choose to pursue the Engaged Scholars Program, which allows them to connect theory and practice and gain hands-on experience working with community partners.

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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.

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

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Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors
201373 73 
201468 68 
201567 67 10 
201687 69 15 
201757 57 

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:

  • Jordan Waller
  • Abigail Borges

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.