Trinity Logo
Students  Alumnae/i  Faculty/Staff

Academic Catalog '12-'13 | Political Science

Political Science


Dr. Shelley Tomkin, Professor of Political Science (program chair)
Ms. Barbara Kennelly, Distinguished Professor of Political Science
Dr. Kathleen McGinnis, Professor of Political Science


The Political Science Program emphasizes both the study of political science as a discipline and the active, practical participation of students in the political process. In addition to course work, students participate in a wide variety of internships and fieldwork classes in Washington, D.C., to learn politics through direct observation and involvement.

The major in political science is designed to help students effectively fulfill their expanding roles in public life. Knowledge of governmental affairs in combination with communication and research skills can open a wide vista of challenging opportunities. Trinity looks to its political science majors to provide the much-needed dedication and leadership qualities aimed at achieving an enriched and more just society.

Political science provides students with grounding in several fields including American government, comparative political systems, international relations, political theory, and field experience afforded by Trinity's location in the nation's capital. This resource serves students in two ways: first, through utilization of the city's political and governmental institutions as learning laboratories and second, by providing students with professional contacts and networking opportunities well before they graduate. In addition, political science majors can combine a thorough grounding in political science theory and methodology with a self-directed focus on selected public policy topics and/or with multidisciplinary course selections through the general education curriculum and complementary courses in other disciplines.

An analysis of the many aspects of leadership as well as the concept itself is woven into every political science course. The Political Science Program is also sensitive to the needs of women not only through gender-specific courses but also through many other courses that address issues and processes of special significance to women. The comparative politics sequence and international relations courses in particular provide an essential resource for the development of multicultural awareness.

Courses in the Political Science Program fall into the following categories: international relations (IR), comparative politics (COMP), political theory (PT), American politics (AMER), field experience/internship (FD), and advanced seminars (SEM). Each course taken may be counted to fulfill only one distribution requirement for the major, even if the course falls into two categories.

The Political Science Program supports a major and minor in the College of Arts and Sciences.


Major Requirements (39-40 credits)

ONE introductory course chosen from:

POLS 101 Politics, Power, and You: Democracy at the Crossroads
POLS 103 The American Political Process

TWO courses in international relations (IR)
TWO courses in comparative politics (COMP)
TWO courses in political theory (PT)
TWO courses in American politics (AMER)
TWO courses in internships or field work (FD)*
ONE approved research methods course such as MATH 110 Introduction to Statistics or additional field work in political science
TWO advanced seminars (SEM)

* Students may take either one field work course and one internship, two internships, or two fieldwork courses.

Minor Requirements (18 credits)

Students pursuing the minor should complete 18 credits of political science courses. Internships cannot be counted toward the minor.

Program Policies

Advanced Placement:
Advanced Placement credit will be accepted by the Political Science Program in American government and comparative politics at the 4 or 5 level.

CLEP Policy:
Students wishing to receive credit for CLEP examinations should consult the Program Chair.

Grades in Major Courses:
Students are required to earn a grade of "C-" (1.7) or better in all courses counted to fulfill requirements for the major.

Pass/No Pass:
Courses fulfilling the major requirement may not be taken pass/no pass, except for POLS 491 Internship Internship.

Senior Assessment:
Students must achieve a passing grade on the senior comprehensive examination in order to graduate with a major in political science.

TELL Policy:
Students may receive no more than 12 political science elective credits through the TELL Program.

Transfer Credits:
No more than 15 credits in courses equivalent to those required for the major may be accepted toward the major in political science. No more than nine credits may be accepted toward the minor in political science.

Course Descriptions

POLS 213 Women and Politics
POLS 503 Congressional Power Dynamics and the American Election Process
POLS 322 District of Columbia Govt and Poltics
POLS 330 Comparative Politics: Europe
POLS 342 International Conflict & Cooperation
POLS 363 US Intelligence and World Affairs
POLS 363A Field Work: Legislative Tracking
POLS 365 Field Work: Political Parties, Campaigns, and Elections
POLS 367 Field Work: Public Opinion Polling
POLS 369 Field Work: Political Advocacy
POLS 399 Honors Seminar: Food, Feast and Famine
POLS 403 Political Power: Interest Groups, Lobbying, and Public Policy
POLS 405 Seminar in Public Policy: Children
POLS 431 Seminar in Comparative Politics and International Relations
POLS 443 Seminar on Conflict Theory and Management
POLS 471 Politics and The Media
POLS 491 Internship
POLS 498 Independent Study
POLS 353 Modern Political Thought
POLS 351 Political Thought: Plato to Rousseau
POLS 343 United States Foreign Policy I
POLS 337 Comparative Politics: Africa
POLS 341 International Law and Organizations
POLS 311 Constitutional Law
POLS 313 Religion, Law and Politics in the United States
POLS 305 Public Policy
POLS 274 Politics, Literature, and Film
POLS 275 Politics and Fiction
POLS 277 Personality and Political Leadership
POLS 299 Honors Seminar: The Political Lives of Women
POLS 301 Congress and Policy Making
POLS 250 Politics, Literature, and Film
POLS 243 The Politics of Globalization
POLS 241 Introduction to International Relations
POLS 231 Introduction to Comparative Politics
POLS 211 Women and the Law
POLS 103 The American Political Process
POLS 201 Civil Rights and Liberties
POLS 102 Politics and Citizenship
POLS 101 Politics, Power, and You: Democracy at the Crossroads

Trinity reserves the right to change, without prior notice, any policy or procedure, tuition or fee, curricular requirements, or any other information found on this web site or in its printed materials.

Questions may be directed to Virginia Broaddus, Ph.D., Provost at

For teacher education courses, check Continuing Education  Archived Course Descriptions and Schedules.



Getting to Campus

Directions to Campus

Parking on Campus

Campus Map

Shuttle from Metro


Campus Tours & Open Houses

Prospective students can request a campus tour by calling 800-492-6882. Learn More

Online Campus Tour

Office of Admissions

Events at Trinity

Meeting & Conference Rentals

Room Rentals

Trinity Center

Calendar of Events

Fitness Center

Brookland residents: learn about discounted memberships at the Trinity Center.

 - Current Fitness Classes

 - Facilities


CAS Programs

EDU Programs

NHP Programs

SPS Programs

BGS Programs

Academic Life


Student Life