Political scientists, and government majors, grapple with the most important questions governing our political lives: What sorts of checks exist on the arbitrary authority of chief executives? Under what conditions do democracies tend to break down? What causes wars to begin and to end? How can individual freedom be reconciled with community needs?

Each of these questions pertains to one of the four major subfields of U.S. political science: American, comparative, international, and theory. At Wesleyan, each government major chooses one of the four subfields as a concentration.

Students who complete the government major should be able to explore systematically a range of political problems and arguments, drawing on the knowledge, analytical skills, and quantitative or qualitative methodologies they acquire in their courses. This learning will prepare them for lives of contribution in public service, education, law, business, journalism, and other fields.

What You'll Study

  • The American concentration examines political behavior, public policy, and U.S. political institutions like the presidency, congress, the courts, the bureaucracy, and federalism.

  • The comparative concentration investigates political institutions, political conflict, and political and economic development in countries around the world.

  • The international concentration explores how countries interact with one another through diplomacy, economic relations, and conflict, as well as the structure of the international order.

  • The political theory concentration focuses on normative aspects of politics and the history of political thought.

  • The government major has a depth requirement: Four of the nine courses required to complete the major must be in the major concentration. It also has a breadth requirement: Government majors must take at least one course in three of the four concentrations.