Political Science

At Hanover, political science helps students become independent thinkers and tomorrow’s leaders. You'll study governments, public policies and political processes in classes small enough for informal, in-depth discussions.

Maybe you'll discuss the causes of war or the place of law in society. Maybe you'll explore politics and film, or society in contemporary Africa. Because your professors know you, they often will tailor instruction to your interests. If you like good food with your politics, you’ll want to join the group that meets regularly for sessions called Pizza and Politics.

Meet the policy-makers

In alternating years, Hanover offers two Spring Term courses that take students to the sources of some of the most important policies impacting the United States and the world:

  • Field Study of Washington, D.C., is an immersive course in policy-making at the federal level. It includes individual directed research and a series of interviews with policy-makers in the legislative, executive and judicial branches.
  • Field Study of the United Nations helps students understand the functions and operations of the United Nations. Students interview diplomatic officials from around the world.

What do political science majors study?

  • American politics
  • History of political thought
  • Research methods
  • Other topics that interest you, from natural resources policy to constitutional law to political parties

Previous graduates' career and professional placements have included:

  • Attorney (Indianapolis, Lexington)
  • Army JAG
  • Clerk for Federal District Court (Miami)
  • Ph.D., University of Maryland

Graduate school placements have included:

  • Washington University
  • Florida State University
  • Ohio State University
  • Indiana University
  • George Washington University
  • University of Notre Dame

Courses

Number
Name
Credits
Description
PLS 118
Comparative Politics
1
A survey of one of the major subfields of the discipline focusing on fundamental concepts explored in cross-national comparisons. Includes a substantial political economy component.
PLS 161
Democracy
1
A survey of the ideas, institutions and controversies of political science. Special emphasis is given in this course to the example of the United States. Partially satisfies Modern Society LADR.
PLS 162
Modern Politics: Power and Ideas
1
Examination of the political and economic ideologies of the modern West. Topics include democracy, capitalism, imperialism, nationalism, socialism and communism. Partially satisfies the Modern Societies LADR.
PLS 163
Politics, Society, and Film
1
Explores modern social institutions, cultural controversies, and theories of politics as portrayed in movies and documentaries. Additional focus on the use of film as a political tool. Partially satisfies the Modern Society LADR.
PLS 212
American Foreign Policy
1
Examines post-World War II American foreign policy and the challenges that lie ahead. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 213
Introduction to Public Policy
1
An introduction to the tools of analysis and challenges inherent in public policy formation. Cost benefit analysis and game theory are introduced as ways of understanding issues related to the environment, poverty, law, and freedom. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Fulfills an elective requirement for the major.
PLS 215
American Political Thought
1
Analysis of political thought from Puritans to present period.
PLS 217
Latin American Politics
1
Current Latin American politics studied within its historical, cultural, and international contexts. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
PLS 218
European Politics
1
An examination of the governmental process in the major European countries of Britain, France, and Germany, including frequent comparisons to American politics. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 219
Middle Eastern Politics
1
An examination of the political systems of the Middle East, including the role of Islam and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
PLS 222
U.S. Legislative Process
1
An examination of the Congress and the state legislatures in their governmental and political contexts. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 225
Women in the Developing World
1
Examines the effects of gender inequality in education, health, culture, economy, media, religion, and politics on women in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
PLS 226
Urban Politics
1
An examination of politics within cities, neighborhoods, and interpersonal networks, with special attention to social, human, and financial capital. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Offered in alternate years.
PLS 231
World Politics
1
The foreign policy-making process; problems of the world community and how nations attempt to deal with them. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
PLS 232
The Problem of Order: Law, Politics
1
An examination of the uses and abuses of law, and of formal vs. informal systems of order. Case studies of the "lawless" 19th century Western U.S., modern Peru, and community rules. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 235
History of Political Thought
1
An examination of representative political theorists from Plato to Marx. Identical to Phi 338. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 236
Contemporary Political Thought
1
An examination of major political theorists of the recent past. Identical to Phi 236.
PLS 238
Toqueville in America
1
An examination of Democracy in America, one of the most important works written about the conditions needed for democracy and the inevitable difficulties it faces. Some off-campus travel. Offered in Spring Term in alternate years.
PLS 239
Research Methods
1
The range of phenomena dealt with by political and other social scientists; methods of data collection and analysis.
PLS 315
Political Sociology
1
An examination of the sociology of power and community at the national and international levels. Identical with Soc 315. Offered alternate Fall terms. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160 or a sociology gateway course.
PLS 320
American Pol. Thought, 1950 to Pres
1
Analysis of contemporary U.S. political theory. The course will serve as an elective for non-majors. Offered Spring Term.
PLS 321
Natural Resources Policy
1
Application of current theories in collective action and policy formulation to evaluate various policy solutions. Case studies involving air, water, and endangered species. Prerequisite: any 100-level Political Science course except 160. Offered in alternate years.
PLS 322
Political Parties & Interest Groups
1
An examination of the role of political parties and interest groups in the U.S. political process, including candidate recruitment, campaign finance, and policy making. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 325
Campaigns and Elections
1
A study of the criteria voters use in making choices in elections, and how the electoral system structures these choices. Prerequisite: a 100-levelPolitical Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 326
Constitutional Law
1
An examination of the place of rights in U.S. society and the role of the courts as a constitutional contract and political institution. Prerequisite: a100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 327
Field Study:Washington, DC
1
Interviews with governmental, interest group, and political party officials and individual research. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Offered Spring Term in alternate years.
PLS 328
Challenge of the American Founding
1
Examines the people, ideas, and institutions foundational to our current republic. Special emphasis is placed on the political theory of two monumental works from this time period: the Federalist Papers and Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. The tools of constitutional political economy and collective action theory are used to distill principles from the American founding that might guide future attempts to constitute a self-governing society. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 331
International Law & Organization
1
Origin, nature, development, structure, and functions of international law and organization. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 335
International Political Economy
1
An examination of the political and economic forces shaping the international system today, centering on the issue of order vs. justice at the global level and exploring topics such as the changing role of the state, trade competition, technology transfer, aid and debt, the global ecology, revolution and counter-insurgency, and the changing international security (war) system. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Offered alternate years.
PLS 337
Field Study United Nations
1
Briefings and senior thesis of the handling of world issues in and through the UN. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 359
Social Movements
1
An examination of theories of movements of protest, reform, and revolution, and of resistance to change. Comparison and contrast of case studies, including movements such as abolition, temperance, civil rights, and environmentalism. Identical to Soc 359. Alternate Fall Terms. Prerequisites: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160 or a sociology gateway course.

Faculty