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Political Science

Our faculty and students profit from the many outstanding institutes, centers and programs at Brown that relate to the study of politics.

The Department of Political Science covers the four main subfields in the discipline:

  • American politics focuses on the behavior of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government; state and local politics; the influence of public opinion, interest groups, and political parties on decision-making; and issues of race and gender.
  • Comparative politics focuses on the comparative study of the behavior of governments and political institutions, non-governmental actors across the world, and on the relationships between political and economic factors in different cultures and societies.
  • International politics considers how political decisions are made in a world without a central authority above the nation-state. Recent emphases include a significant role for international law, norms, and organizations.
  • Political theory seeks to analyze both historically and philosophically the origins and underpinnings of political values.

Additional Resources

Our faculty and students profit from the many outstanding institutes, centers, and programs at Brown that relate to the study of politics. These include the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions, the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the Master of Public Affairs program, the Urban Studies Program, the Center for Contemporary South Asia, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Political Theory Project, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, Middle East Studies, Development Studies, the Population Studies and Training Center, and Africana Studies.

Admission Requirements

  • Writing Sample: Required
  • GRE General: Required
  • GRE Subject: Not required

Application Deadline: December 18

Ph.D. Completion Requirements

The Ph.D. requires passing thirteen graduate level courses with a grade of B or better of which at least 10 courses must be taken within the Political Science department (two may be taken from a related discipline), including Research Methods POLS2000, Statistics I POLS2580, two field proseminars (choose two of four – POLS2100 American, POLS2110 Comparative, POLS2120 Theory, POLS2130 IR); a theory course, and Prospectus writing POLS2050 and POLS2051. Students must also pass written and oral preliminary examinations in two subfields; written and oral presentation of a dissertation proposal; and written and oral presentation of a dissertation. A minimum of two semesters as a teaching assistant is also required.

Department of Political Science
Brown University
Box 1844
[email protected]

Visit the Department of Political Science


Department Chair: Eric Patashnik

Director of Graduate Studies: Wendy Schiller