Generally speaking, students will be introduced to political science through 100-level courses and will take more specialized preparatory work in fields at the 200-level before attempting the 300- and 400-level courses. The numbers attached to courses indicate the year in which it is probably most appropriate to take a course, the level of difficulty of the course, and the amount of preparation required. Thus, 400-level courses are not simply to be regarded as suitable for upper level students; they are designed for students who have had considerable preparation in the discipline or area.

First-year courses (all of which are semester-length, “H” or half courses) introduce students to concepts and issues in Political Science.

While the subject matter varies widely from course to course, the introductory courses share a number of goals. They introduce students to basic normative and empirical issues and to key concepts that constitute the core of the discipline. They develop analytical skills that prepare students to read scholarly literature rigorously and critically. And they emphasize the importance of writing coherently and persuasively.

First-year courses are set up to appeal to a broad range of students: those who may already have made a commitment to Political Science; those who may be considering entry into one of our programs; those who may want to take an additional two or three courses; and, those for whom an introductory course or two may be the only Political Science courses they take in university. For more information about how to construct a program in Political Science, please continue to the section on Course Sequencing. Second, options allow students to take courses in one field or across fields at the intermediate and advanced levels.