For Incoming & Premajor Students

As a political science major, you will have the chance to complete a curriculum of study in one of the top political science departments in the country. The introductory courses give students a broad, solid grounding in the discipline. In the more advanced courses, students interact and work closely with a diverse faculty engaged in cutting-edge research. Current faculty projects include, for example, the challenge of democratic transition, the persistence of inequality in democracies, and the impact of the media on voting behavior. In their junior and senior years, students pursue independent studies and senior research projects to hone critical skills. Beyond the campus, students can integrate internships and study abroad programs to gain real-world experience. Students who major in political science will think analytically about public affairs, and will emerge better prepared to make professional choices.

Recommended First-Year Courses

  • POLSCI 89S First Year Seminar: Autobiography and American Democracy
  • POLSCI 89S First Year Seminar: Women and Politics
  • POLSCI 120D Challenges of Living an Ethical Life
  • POLSCI 175D Introduction to Political Philosophy

Focus Program

Duke's Focus Program for first-year students provides clusters of courses designed around an interdisciplinary theme. Topics for study include the cognitive sciences, ethics and global citizenship, genomics, knowledge in the service of society, global health, international politics, contemporary and medieval cultures, and social ideals. Focus faculty are leading researchers in their fields and come from academic departments within Arts & Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering.

Focus programs directed by faculty members in the Department of Political Science include “Visions of Freedom” (Professor Michael Gillespie) and “Modeling in the Economic and Social Sciences” (Professor Scott de Marchi).

Visit the FOCUS Program website.

Global Education

Approximately one third of our majors and minors participate in global education, fulfilling part of their political science coursework at universities around the world including in such countries as Argentina, Australia, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Visit the Global Education website for specific information about the programs available to Duke students.

Research Opportunities

We offer a wide range of research opportunities to our students, including independent study, an honors program, the Duke American Grand Strategy Fellows Program, the Ralph Bunch Summer Institute and others. Visit the undergraduate Research and Programs pages.