Skip to main content


There are four basic components to the major:

  1. Foundation Courses
  2. P.S.T. Core Seminar (1 year-long course): 6 hours
  3. Area Studies: 18 hours
  4. Fourth Year Thesis and Thesis Workshops: 8 hours

Foundation Courses

Each student must complete at least six credits that deal with political and social thought or its historical foundations. It is helpful, but not required, to take one of the listed foundation classes prior to your application.

Below is a list of currently qualifying courses. Other courses may also qualify: because courses come in and go out from year to year, no list can be definitive. If you are interested in a course that does not appear on this list, but that you think might qualify, please send a query to the Director of PST, with the syllabus for the prospective class. Because the program already offers a great deal of flexibility in your program, we try to limit the number of foundation classes; this enhances the common experience of students in the program.

Expand content
Expand content

Current Qualifying Courses

  • AMST 4559 – Visualizing Racial Capitalism
  • ANTH 3010 – Theory and History of Anthropology (4 credits)
  • HIEU 3782 – Origins of Modern Thought, 1580-1943
  • HIEU 3812 – Marx
  • HIEU 3802 – Origins of Contemporary Thought
  • PHIL 2690 – Justice, Law, and Morality
  • PHIL 3670 – Law and Society
  • PHIL 3710 – Ethics
  • PHIL 3720 – Contemporary Ethics
  • PLIR 3310 – Ethics and Human Rights in World Politics
  • PLPT 3010 – Ancient and Medieval Political Theory
  • PLPT 3020 – Modern Political Thought
  • PLPT 3030 – Contemporary Political Thought
  • PLPT 4200 – Feminist Political Theory
  • RELG 3650 – Systems of Theological Ethics
  • SOC 3020 – Introduction to Social Theory
  • SOC 3100 – Feminist Theory
  • SOC 3056 – Culture and Power
  • WGS 3100 – Intro to WGS Theory
  • WGS 4820 – Black Feminist Theory

* All courses are 3 credits, unless otherwise noted.

P.S.T. Core Seminar

These courses are open to majors only. The 8 required hours are fulfilled by PST 4850PST 4870, and PST 4980-89Click here to see Course Descriptions.

Area Studies

Each student will be required to define three different area studies. An area is defined as a particular intellectual theme or subfield of interest to be investigated in the course of one’s studies. These areas can be derived from within, between, or outside traditional disciplines. Some examples of area studies might include: ancient (or modern, or contemporary) political thought; 18th-19th century intellectual history; applied ethics; human rights; church/state relations; feminist theory; issues in third world development; the modern welfare State; African-American movements in the postwar era.

For each area, the student must complete two relevant courses at or above the 300-level. The total of six courses necessary to fulfill the area requirements must be drawn from at least 3 different disciplines, programs, or departmentsBriefly put: 3 areas, 2 courses per area; 3 disciplines.

Taken together, the three areas of study should be (1) well thought-out and intellectually coherent; and, (2) form the general basis of study for the fourth year thesis. The three areas of study define the interdisciplinary character of the student’s program and must meet a rigorous standard of coherence. In consultation with their advisors and the program director, students will be expected to articulate the rationale of their choices in a brief written statement due by the end of the third year.

Fourth Year Thesis and Thesis Workshops

Over their entire fourth year, students write a substantially researched extended essay on a topic to be defined with their thesis advisor. During this period, they are enrolled in six course hours (PST 4998 and 4999). Theses vary in length from about 80-110 pages. Three copies of the the final product are due: one to each advisor and one to the PST office.

Note: The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at