Politics

Our faculty are focused on preparing you to take on the political challenges of the future, which we pursue by maintaining a strong commitment to continued excellence in teaching.

The core of the politics major includes two streams. The first stream ensures that you are well-grounded in the key subfields of the discipline: American politics, international relations, comparative politics and political theory. The second stream provides you with practical skills via the A.R.T.S. inventory, which requires you to develop the ability to make political Arguments, conduct political Research, leverage political Theory and engage in political Simulations.

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90%
of 2017-2019 graduates from the politics program reported a career outcome within six months of graduation.
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Careers
Government is the second-largest economic sector in America, representing approximately 9% of all jobs. Many of our students pursue careers in-and-around-government, while others become lawyers or educators.
Outcomes

Almost 50 percent of Earlham alumni enter graduate or professional school within 10 years. Recent graduates have pursued advanced study at such institutions as Oxford, McGill, Georgetown, Michigan and Indiana.

Developing morally sensitive leaders for future generations

At Earlham, you will develop close relationships with our faculty and will have frequent opportunities to engage in student-faculty research. Recent examples include a group of students working on African citizenship who published a paper in a peer-reviewed journal and another group worked with a faculty member in writing a book exploring how empowering America’s urban population will be critical to restoring democracy and equity in the coming decades.

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Off-campus study

The opportunity to study abroad is a critical component in developing a comprehensive world view. Our faculty often lead off-campus study and research programs like the semester program with the Washington Internship Institute and Border Studies.

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Collaborative research

Student-faculty research opportunities are commonplace in the politics major. They often lead to the drafting of full-length research papers that are then distilled into posters presented at Earlham’s Annual Research Conference. Particularly good projects have also regularly been entered into the undergraduate poster sessions at the Midwest Political Science Association conference in Chicago, which is the second most important annual meeting of political scientists in America.

Our faculty

Our faculty are teacher-scholars that have diverse teaching and research interests. We offer a wide-ranging collection of courses that ensure that you can think critically about the world of politics and engage with it from a variety of perspectives.

Program details

Our graduates seek out lives of consequence, choosing career paths in public policy, diplomacy, government, law and teaching.

You will receive a solid grounding in the discipline as a result of completing our core curriculum and your required electives. One thing that makes our program unique is the emphasis on real-world skills, which are introduced via our A.R.T.S. curriculum:

  • “A” for Argument: courses where you learn disciplinary definitions and practice constructing political arguments;
  • “R” for Research: courses where you must demonstrate an ability to conduct case-study research and propose practical solutions to real-world problems;
  • “T” for Theory: courses where you practice effectively summarizing and properly citing theoretical material, and;
  • “S” for Simulation: courses where you will work in groups to actively participate in either real-world or simulated debates and activities.
    This curriculum was designed to help ensure that you will succeed after you leave Earlham.

As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which you will cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects you to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of your general education, you will complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, you will meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Politics, you must complete the following courses, in addition to general education requirements.

A required minimum of 11 courses in politics that must include the following:

Two introductory courses:

  • POLS 111 Introduction to Comparative Politics and International Relations
  • POLS 121 Introduction to American Politics and Policy

One of the following quantitative courses:

  • ECON 101 Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • ECON 103 Introduction to Microeconomics
  • MATH 120 Elementary Statistics
  • POLS 329 Social Science Research Methods
  • POLS 339 Approaching Political Puzzles

The capstone course:

  • POLS 488 Senior Capstone Experience: Project
  • POLS 488 Senior Capstone Experience: Portfolio

You must also have the following:

  • One course in each of the four major subfields:
    • American (US)
    • Comparative (CP)
    • International Relations (IR)
    • Theory (T)
  • Four courses that meet the four designations of the A.R.T.S. Skill Themes
  • A significant co- or extra-curricular activity

You are expected to achieve both depth and breadth of knowledge in the field and are strongly encouraged to have a public service internship and/or international study experience.

We also encourage you to take courses in related social sciences, including history, economics, sociology/anthropology and psychology.

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Yes! To earn a minor in politics, you must complete a minimum of six courses that includes:

Two introductory courses:

  • POLS 111 Introduction to Comparative Politics and International Relations
  • POLS 121 Introduction to American Politics and Policy

Four additional courses, one in each of the A.R.T.S. skills areas.

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

You will be equipped to work in a range of fields, including government, education, community and social services, law, research and administration.

You can continue on to pursue graduate degrees in public policy, international affairs, urban planning, public administration, law and more.

Earlham has a close relationship with the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Bloomington, which is the top public affairs graduate school in the nation. We also have a new and growing relationship with Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, another top-ranked public affairs program.

Our graduates have been successful in pursuing Fulbright fellowships and recent graduates have landed jobs as legislative aides and in political campaigns.

Through our 3+1 Education Program, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and teaching license—all in just nine semesters.

You’ll leave Earlham with two degrees, licensed to teach grades 5-12 in Indiana. (And it’s easy to transfer your license to other states—many of our graduates do!)

Learn more about our 3+1 program.

If you enjoy grappling with current issues, conducting research and developing a compelling argument, and if you’re passionate about making change in society, whether through politics, the legal system or nonprofit and NGO work, the politics major can prepare you to understand political systems and how to successfully navigate them.

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