There are four basic components to the major:

1. Foundation Courses: 6 hours
2. P.S.T. Seminars: 8 hours

3. Area Studies: 18 hours
4. Fourth Year Thesis: 6 hours

Foundation Courses

Each student must complete at least six credits that deal with political and social thought or its historical foundations. Normally, three of these credits ought to be taken before your admission to PST.

Below is a partial list of qualifying courses. Many other courses may also qualify: because courses come in and go out from year to year, no list can be definitive. If you are interested in a course that does not appear on this list, but that you think might qualify, please send a query to the Director of PST, along with a list of the courses and professors that you already have on your transcript and on your schedule, as well as an indication of your interests. Be sure to indicate clearly the mnemonic, level, and course title of the course you are interested in (e.g. “PST 4850, Core Seminar in PST“), as well as the name of the professor who will be teaching it, and the same information for courses that you are considering as alternative choices.

  • ANTH 3010 – Theory and History of Anthropology (4 credits)
  • HIEU 3782 – Origins of Modern Thought, 1580-1943
  • HIEU 3812 – Marx
  • HIEU 3802 – Origins of Contemporary Thought
  • PHIL 2690 – Justice, Law, and Morality
  • PHIL 2770 – Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 3670 – Law and Society
  • PHIL 3710 – Ethics
  • PHIL 3720 – Contemporary Ethics
  • PLIR 3310 – Ethics and Human Rights in World Politics
  • PLPT 3010 – Ancient and Medieval Political Theory
  • PLPT 3020 – Modern Political Thought
  • PLPT 3030 – Contemporary Political Thought
  • PLPT 4200 – Feminist Political Theory
  • RELG 3650 – Systems of Theological Ethics
  • SOC 3020 – Introduction to Social Theory
  • SWAG 3810 – Feminist Theory

* All courses are 3 credits, unless otherwise noted.

PST Seminars

These courses are open to majors only. The 8 required hours are fulfilled by PST 4850PST 4870, and PST 4980-89Click here to see Course Descriptions.

Area Studies

Each student will be required to define three different area studies. An area is defined as a particular intellectual theme or subfield of interest to be investigated in the course of one’s studies. These areas can be derived from within, between, or outside traditional disciplines. Some examples of area studies might include: ancient (or modern, or contemporary) political thought; 18th-19th century intellectual history; applied ethics; human rights; church/state relations; feminist theory; issues in third world development; the modern welfare State; African-American movements in the postwar era.

For each area, the student must complete two relevant courses at or above the 300-level. The total of six courses necessary to fulfill the area requirements must be drawn from at least 3 different disciplines, programs, or departmentsBriefly put: 3 areas, 2 courses per area; 3 disciplines.

Taken together, the three areas of study should be (1) well thought-out and intellectually coherent; and, (2) form the general basis of study for the fourth year thesis. The three areas of study define the interdisciplinary character of the student’s program and must meet a rigorous standard of coherence. In consultation with their advisors and the program director, students will be expected to articulate the rationale of their choices in a brief written statement due by the end of the third year.

Fourth Year Thesis

Over their entire fourth year, students write a substantially researched extended essay on a topic to be defined with primary and secondary advisors from two fields. During this period, they are enrolled in six course hours (PST 4998 and 4999). Theses vary in length from about 80-110 pages. Three copies of the the final product are due: one to each advisor and one to the PST office.