Majors, minors + certificates

Minor in Political Science (POLSMIN)Department of Political Science

Students on Summer 2019, Fall 2019, or Spring 2020 requirements.


The Minor in Political Science provides students an introduction to the theory and practice of government and politics, both in the U.S. and internationally. This minor offers a deepened perspective on many other majors offered at Indiana University.

Minor requirements

The minor requires at least 18 credit hours, including the requirements listed below.

  1. Area requirement. At least two (2) courses in one of the following areas and at least one (1) course from one of the other two areas:
      • The United States is unique among developed countries in not having a national health service. What we have instead are several health care sectors that vary according to which services are provided, by whom, to which beneficiaries, at whose expense. Each sector exhibits a distinctive pattern of politics. In this course we will compare and contrast the patterns of politics that surround different sectors of health policy. (3 credit hours.)
      • Theories of American party activity; behavior of political parties, interest groups, and social movements; membership in groups; organization and structure; evaluation and relationship to the process of representation. (3 credit hours.)
      • Examines public bureaucracy, with special emphasis upon the United States, as a political phenomenon engaging in policy-making and in the definition of the terms of policy issues. Considers the role of bureaucratic instruments in promoting social change, and in responding to it. (3 credit hours.)
      • Processes and institutions involved in the formation of public policy in American society. (3 credit hours.)
      • American political powers and structures; selected Supreme Court decisions interpreting American constitutional system. (3 credit hours.)
      • Extent and limits of constitutional rights; selected Supreme Court decisions interpreting American constitutional system. (3 credit hours.)
      • Comparative study of politics in the American states. Special emphasis on the impact of political culture, party systems, legislatures, and bureaucracies on public policies. (3 credit hours.)
      • Constitutional foundations, political development, organizational and functional process and growth, and current problems of Indiana government. Readings, case studies, problems. (3 credit hours.)
      • Political behavior in modern American communities; emphasizes the impact of municipal organization, city officials and bureaucracies, social and economic notables, political parties, interest groups, the general public, and protest organizations on urban policy outcomes. (3 credit hours.)
      • Analysis of fundamental tensions between democratic values and the requirements of national security. Topics include homeland security and civil liberties in an age of terror, civil-military relations, oversight of intelligence operations, effects of interventions and wars on democracy abroad and at home, and debates over the morality of United States security policies. (3 credit hours.)
      • Examines the processes of social decision reconciling human demands on the natural world with the ability of nature to sustain life and living standards. Analyzes the implications for public policies in complex sequential interactions among technical, economic, social, and political systems and considers the consequences of alternative courses of action. (3 credit hours.)
      • Analysis of the relationship between personality and politics. Use of major psychological theories and concepts to understand the attitudes and behavior of mass publics and political elites. (3 credit hours.)
      • The nature of public opinion on major domestic and foreign policy issues; mass political ideology; voting behavior and other forms of political participation; political culture; and the impact of public opinion on political systems. (3 credit hours.)
      • Determinants of voting behavior in elections. The nature of public opinion regarding major domestic and foreign policy issues; development of political ideology; other influences on the voting choices of individuals and the outcomes of elections; relationships among public opinion, elections, and the development of public policy. (3 credit hours.)
      • Examination of the American presidency both in historical setting and in contemporary context. Topics such as presidential elections, roles and resources of the president, structures and processes of the presidency, presidential leadership and behavior, relationships of the presidency and other participants in policy making. (3 credit hours.)
      • This course offers students the opportunity to study the legislative branch of American national government. It includes the structure and process of the Senate and House of Representatives, the roles of parties, interest groups, and lobbyists, the legislative process, and the relations of Congress with the other branches of government. (3 credit hours.)
      • Examines the American judicial system in the contemporary context. Analysis of the trial and appellate courts with a focus on the United States Supreme Court. Topics include analyses of the structure of the judicial system, the participants in the system, and the policy making processes and capabilities of the legal system. The course concludes with an assessment of the role of courts in a majoritarian democracy. (3 credit hours.)
      • Examines the contemporary relationship between the media and politics, including use of the media by politicians and public officials, media coverage of governmental activities, and media coverage of campaigns and elections. Course focuses primarily on the United States, but includes comparative perspectives. (3 credit hours.)
      • Analysis of women in contemporary political systems, domestic or foreign, with emphasis on political roles, participation, and public policy. Normative or empirical examination of how political systems affect women and the impact women have on them. Topics vary semester to semester. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours. (3 credit hours.)
      • Examines the African American political condition, with special emphasis on political thought and behavior. The course analyzes not only how the political system affects African Americans, but also the impact African Americans have on it. Themes for this course may vary. (3 credit hours.)
      • Values and social welfare policy. Development, current status, politics and proposals for reform of social security and private pensions, income maintenance policy, health care, and housing. The future of the welfare state. (3 credit hours.)
      • A survey of minority group politics in the United States. The course examines the socioeconomic position and political history of various demographic groups and highlights key public policy debates central to the future of ethnic politics and race relations in the United States. Compares theories of racial formation in the context of a political system predicated on majority rule. (3 credit hours.)
      • Compares public policies and policy making among both advanced industrial democracies and the developing world. Surveys policy areas such as immigration, health care, education, and workers' rights. (3 credit hours.)
      • Place of theory and method in examining public policies in relation to programs, institutional arrangements, and constitutional problems. Particular reference to American political experience. (3 credit hours.)
      • Explores the politics of crisis and reform from a comparative and international political economy perspective. In addition to learning general theories of crisis and reform, students will study in-depth case studies of important crisis episodes in the era of industrial capitalism, and seek to understand both the causes and consequences of crisis events. (3 credit hours.)
      • Examines the global challenges faced by democracy, including the difficulties encountered in the effort to build them and the hallowing of mature democracies through challenges posed by the forces of populism, nationalism, and authoritarianism. (3 credit hours.)
      • Political process and government structure in the Russian state. Political institutions inherited from tsarist empire and the Soviet state (1917–1991), history of subsequent political reform. Political problems of ethnic conflict, creating democratic institutions, and of transition from socialism to market economy. (3 credit hours.)
      • Explores contemporary politics and policy issues in the People’s Republic of China. Influence of revolutionary practice and ideology; analysis of contemporary economic, political and social organizations; examination of policy issues including social reforms, economic growth, and democratization and globalization. (3 credit hours.)
      • Political development of Japan, with emphasis on changing attitudes toward modernization; cultural and sociological factors affecting the functioning of contemporary political institutions; and the implication of Japanese experience in modernization of other developing societies. (3 credit hours.)
      • Development, structure, and functioning of political systems, primarily in France, Italy, and Germany. Political dynamics of European integration. (3 credit hours.)
      • Covers the governmental organization, and the political behavior and traditions, of countries in the South East Asian region. Addresses regional issues of political and economic development, and international issues regarding the relationship of the region to the rest of the world. (3 credit hours.)
      • Comparative analysis of political change in major Latin American countries, emphasizing alternative explanations of national and international developments; examination of impact of political parties, the military, labor and peasant movements, Catholic Church, multinational corporations, regional organizations, and United States on politics; public policy processes in democratic and authoritarian regimes. (3 credit hours.)
      • Explores politics in Sub-Saharan Africa. Examines relevance of "traditional" political systems; impact on colonialism; building new nations and states; authoritarian regimes; process of democratization; management of ethnic, regional, religious and class conflict; political challenges of economic development; role of international actors, including the United States, United Nations, World Bank, and non-governmental organizations; and globalization. (3 credit hours.)
      • Political culture and change in selected Middle Eastern and North African countries. Topics include political elites, traditional cultures, modern political ideology, institutions of political control, conflict management, and social reform policies. (3 credit hours.)
      • Compares political change in the East European states, and emphasizes the legacies of authoritarianism and communism and the post-communist transition to democracy. Topics include the building of political institutions, the inclusion of citizens into the polity, the reform of the economy, the management of ethnic and social conflicts, and integration into the European Union. (3 credit hours.)
      • Comparative study of Fascism, Nazism, and communism as institutional arrangements for governing modern societies. The political process in the one-party "movement regime." (3 credit hours.)
      • A survey of human rights: their content and recognition, protection in national and international laws, and their violation by state and nonstate actors. The effectiveness of political and judicial institutions in curbing these violations is also considered, as is the global diffusion of norms in support of essential human rights. May be repeated once for a total of 6 credit hours. (3 credit hours.)
      • Examines the key debates and issues regarding how "poor" countries develop economically and socially. Analyzes the interactions between politics and economics in the development process at the global, national, and local levels. Cases for comparison will include countries from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. (3 credit hours.)
      • Examines modern civil wars, focusing on their causes, dynamics, and consequences. Introduces theories to explain how civil wars begin and progress, as well as case studies to test those theories in specific contexts. Also considers ways of preventing civil wars and mitigating their consequences. (3 credit hours.)
      • Analysis of major modern revolutions. Focus on the social, economic, and political causes of revolutions; the rise of revolutionary movements; and the strategies for gaining and consolidating power. (3 credit hours.)
      • Focuses on politics in the developing world (Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East). Comparison of political history; experiences of colonialism and post-colonial authoritarian systems; political economy; development and globalization; democratization and management of protest and conflict; and interactions with international actors and transnational social movements. (3 credit hours.)
      • Survey of the German political system including governmental institutions, the origins and role of political parties, opportunities for citizens to participate in politics, and current political culture. Special attention is paid to the question of how well Germany's democracy functions after experiencing several regime changes. (3 credit hours.)
      • Comparative study of major twentieth-century genocides. Examines the political conditions, ideologies, and movements leading up to mass murder, and the ethnic and global context of genocide. Focuses on the question of responsibility and accountability from the viewpoints of perpetrators, victims, and bystanders in the national and international communities. (3 credit hours.)
      • Study of the politics of the European Union (EU). Assesses past and present dynamics of economic and political integration in Europe, the structure and work of European Union institutions, and EU public policies such as the Single Market, the common currency, common foreign and security policy, and trade. (3 credit hours.)
      • May be taken alone or in conjunction with related political science courses. A course tied to simulations of international organizations such as the European Union, the United Nations, or the Organization of American States. May be repeated for a maximum of 3 credit hours. (1–3 credit hours.)
      • Examination of the socioeconomic conditions and political ideologies leading up to the Holocaust, and the political, administrative, and social context for the genocide from the vantage of perpetrators, victims, and bystanders. Focus on the individual, national, and international responses to and responsibilities for the Holocaust. Consideration of the Holocaust's legacies for the postwar world. (3 credit hours.)
      • Exploration of how different social, economic, and political practices have influenced the construction of gender and sexuality outside of the United States. Examines the interplay between gender relations and characteristics of public and private institutions. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours. (3 credit hours.)
      • Introduction to the legacy of British colonialism in South Asia, to the development and decay of political institutions, to questions of economic growth, to social movements, and to regional conflicts. (3 credit hours.)
      • Analysis of institutions and processes involved in the formation and implementation of American foreign policy. Emphasis is on post-World War II policies. (3 credit hours.)
      • Theories used in the study of international politics: systems theory, field theory, conflict theory, alliance and coalition theories, balance-of-power theories, and an introduction to game and bargaining theory. (3 credit hours.)
      • The region studied will vary with the instructor and the year. Current information may be obtained from the Department of Political Science. May be repeated once for credit, with permission of the departmental undergraduate advisor. (3 credit hours.)
      • Compares factors that influence foreign policy and the foreign policy process. Focuses on domestic or internal sources of foreign policy behavior, including impact of individual leaders, group decision-making processes, bureaucratic politics, ideology and political culture, historical experience, and type of political system. Classroom simulations are central to the course. (3 credit hours.)
      • International organizations as lateral extensions of the Western state system, exercising influence in accordance with a variety of strategies. Strategies employed by the United Nations in the political and security area. (3 credit hours.)
      • Critique of foreign policy issues: communism, containment, imperialism, and others. Research papers and classroom presentation for critical discussion. (3 credit hours.)
      • Sources and consequences of international law; relationship to international organizations and world order; issues of national sovereignty, human rights, conflict resolution, international property rights, world trade, environmental change, and other topics. (3 credit hours.)
      • R: POLS-Y 332. Behavior of Russia and U.S.S.R. in world affairs from 1945 to the present. Emphasis on impact of geographic assets and vulnerabilities, historical experience, domestic politics, and the changing international environment. (3 credit hours.)
      • R: POLS-Y 109 or equivalent. Introduction to the systematic study of international politics, focusing on the major approaches of decision making (microanalysis) and the international system (macroanalysis) and on a number of specific methodologies, such as game theory, content analysis, simulation, and quantitative/ statistical techniques. (3 credit hours.)
      • Examines assumptions about the causes, functions, results, and structures of international (intergovernmental) organizations. Theory is combined with case study of the United Nations particularly. The European Community and regional organization examples provide a basis for understanding an evolving phenomenon. (3 credit hours.)
      • The nature of war. Theories and evidence on the causes of war. Discussion of the ways in which war has been conceived and perceived across time and of methods employed to study the phenomenon of war. (3 credit hours.)
      • Theories about the interaction between the international economic and political systems are the subject of this course. Works from each of the main traditions—liberal, Marxist, and statist—will be assigned. Specific topics covered will include (among others): the politics of trade, aid, foreign investment, and international monetary affairs; theories of dependency and imperialism; the politics of international competition in specific industries; the stability/ instability of international economic regimes. (3 credit hours.)
      • Origins and evolution of the UN; principal UN bodies, how they operate and what they do; who finances the UN; controversies and voting patterns in the UN; attitudes toward the UN and debates within member countries regarding its role; impact of UN activities and programs (e.g., conflict resolution and mediation, peacekeeping and peace enforcement; nation building, development aid, weapons proliferation, human rights, health, environment). Credit given for only one of NELC-N 398 or POLS-Y 399. (3 credit hours.)
      • Exploration of issues and themes in the field of comparative politics. Includes advanced methodological, empirical, and theoretical approaches. Topics vary. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours (3 credit hours.)
      • This course examines the ethical responsibilities of public officials in democratic societies. It explores such topics as the meaning of moral leadership, the appeal to personal conscious in public decision making, and the problem of "dirty hands" among others. A special concern is how institutional arrangements affect moral choices. (3 credit hours.)
      • An exposition and critical analysis of the major political philosophers and philosophical schools from Plato to Machiavelli. (3 credit hours.)
      • An exposition and critical analysis of the major political philosophers and philosophical schools from Machiavelli to the present. (3 credit hours.)
      • Explores the evolution of American political ideas from colonization through ratification of the Constitution and its implementation. (3 credit hours.)
      • Explores the evolution of American political ideas under the Constitution of the United States, and its promises and problems. (3 credit hours.)
      • Focuses on the various ideologies and strategies informing the African American political struggles in the United States. Readings focus on thinkers and activists from the rebellion against slavery to the contemporary debates about institutional racism and reparations. Features work by African American thinkers associated with a broad range of movements. (3 credit hours.)
      • Origin, content, and development of Marxist system of thought, with particular reference to philosophical and political aspects of Russian Marxism. (3 credit hours.)
      • Introduction to methods and statistics used in political inquiry, including measures of central tendency and dispersion, probability, sampling, statistical inference and hypothesis testing, measures of association, analysis of variance, and regression. Credit given for only one of ANTH-A 306, CJUS-K 300, ECON-E 370 or ECON-S 370, MATH-K 300 or MATH-K 310, POLS-Y 395, PSY-K 300 or PSY-K 310, SOC-S 371, SPEA-K 300, or STAT-K 310, STAT-S 300, or STAT-S 301. (3 credit hours.)
      • P: One course in political science at the 200 level or above. R: ECON-E 201. Introduces collective choice and game theory for understanding how societies make political decisions. Examines how institutions, or the political context in which decisions are made, affect group choices. Theories of individual and group decision making, collective choice, and social dilemmas. Applications to congressional politics, intergovernmental relations, and parliamentary democracies. (3 credit hours.)
      • Centers on conflicting interpretations of justice, liberty, and equality, as well as certain problems of democracy, including the tension between majority rules and minority rights, and the correlation of rights and duties. Topics vary. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours. (3 credit hours.)
  2. Electives. Additional credit hours as necessary (Only 3 hours of credit in POLS-X 476 or POLS-X 477 may be counted toward the minor).
  3. GPA, Minimum Grade, and Other Requirements. Each of the following:
    1. At least 9 credit hours in the minor must be completed in courses taken through the Indiana University Bloomington campus or an IU-administered or IU co-sponsored Overseas Study program.
    2. At least 9 credit hours in the minor must be completed at the 300–499 level.
    3. Except for the GPA requirement, a grade of C- or higher is required for a course to count toward a requirement in the minor.
    4. A GPA of at least 2.000 for all courses taken in the minor—including those where a grade lower than C- is earned—is required.
    5. Exceptions to minor requirements may be made with the approval of the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies, subject to final approval by the College of Arts and Sciences.


  • * Students who complete the Major in Political Science may not also complete this minor.
  • * Non-majors may complete up to two minors offered by Political Science as long as they follow the College policy on Counting a Course toward Multiple Degree Objectives.