Focus on the new major of the department of political science



Recently, the University’s Department of Political Science introduced a new BS major for undergraduates who wish to study the science side of politics.

“The motivation for this major is that Rochester’s Department of Political Science pioneered the technical study of politics worldwide. We invented positive political theory here in the 1960s and since then it has been one of the central departments in the world of political science using formal theory, game theory, rational choice theory and methods statistics to invest in the study of politics,” said Gerald Gamm, professor of political science and history, co-chair of the political science department and director of undergraduate studies at the University of Rochester.

This major, similar to UR’s Bachelor of Political Science, would require students to take five core courses in addition to two breadth courses and three electives. The difference lies in the need for policy analysis tools. Students attempting to receive the BS degree will be required to take five courses in Policy Analysis Tools instead of two. “The requirement for analytical tools ranges from two courses of [the] Five-course BA major for the BS major. It pushes students to use a lot more tools and better understand [in] statistical methods, formal theory and argumentation,” Gamm said.

According to the Department of Political Science website, students should also plan to take two semesters of a calculus sequence and either a programming course or a linear algebra course. “That computational work is going to be essential for the higher-level work that they’re going to do with their tools,” Gamm explained.

This major of about a month has already attracted new students to the technical and mathematical study of political science. Junior Marla Litsky, who double majors in political science and data science, says she decided to major in political science because the program involves more analytical coursework and has a heavier math requirement that puts her at risk. would allow for future research. . “I hope to do research, and people I’ve talked to say it would be best to do the BS if you want to do research,” Litsky says.

This new major for undergraduates also highlights the study of political science at the graduate level. “Our graduate students come here because of our technical programs, but until we developed the BS, we hadn’t provided an opportunity for undergraduates who also wanted to see this technical work. […] the BS therefore allows us to bring this technical side of our department to students who want it”, explains Gamm. For Litsky, the opportunity to take graduate courses is another reason that attracted her to this program. “I like that I was able to take more graduate-level modeling courses, more analysis courses from a political science perspective,” Litsky says.

Similar to the other three majors in the Department of Political Science (BA in Political Science, BA in International Relations, BA in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics), the BS in Political Science prepares students for careers in fields such as politics, diplomacy, education and law. “The BS major […] prepares students who want to pursue careers in more mathematical fields, like potentially big data or working for companies that conduct surveys, or it gives them additional preparation if they want to get a PhD,” says Gamm.

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