Political Science

Political Science @ Wellesley
American Politics
Comparative Politics
International Relations
Political Theory

Political science is the systematic study of politics.
And politics is about power.

Political scientists ask questions about the meaning of power, how power is gained or lost, organized or contested, used or abused. 

Our courses explore a wide range of issues about politics including:

  • the concepts and norms central to power and politics (e.g., authority, domination, gender, freedom);
  • the structure and operations of law and institutions (e.g., the U.S. Supreme Court, United Nations, non-citizen organizations);
  • the influence of politics on economics and vice versa;
  • the historical, sociological and cultural factors involved in political development; social movements and processes (e.g., revolution, women's movements, immigration);
  • comparative political systems (e.g., democracy, communism); political trends and transformations in various regions (e.g. Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Latin America);
  • interactions among countries, international organizations, ngos, and other non-state actors in the global system;
  • and analyses of current affairs in the many realms and contexts in which politics take place.

Political Science Curriculum Goals

Our curriculum is specifically designed to achieve several goals:

  • Provide majors with a broad background in the discipline of political science through the study of the four subfields that comprise it: American politics and law, comparative politics, international relations and political theory.
  • Help students develop the capacity to think critically about themselves and local, national, and global politics.
  • Train students to become informed and reflective citizens of a democracy, as well as knowledgeable about the global dynamics that influence the shape and content of political life.
  • Facilitate the acquisition of particular skills and tools, including the ability to read complex texts closely; write clearly and well; think critically and analytically; generate and test hypotheses; and  take and defend a position against the strongest counterarguments.


Contact Us

Department of
Political Science

Pendleton East 249
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

Tel: 781.283.2194
Fax: 781.283.3644

William A. Joseph
Department Chair

Lynda Davis Jeha 
 Jean M. Walsh

Administrative Assistants

Burke, Euben, Joseph, Just, Krieger, Moon, Murphy, Paarlberg

Associate Professors:  Candland, Goddard, Han, Scherer

Assistant Professors:  GrattanHajjMacDonald, Woolfalk

Senior Lecturer:  Wasserspring


Visiting Faculty: 
Dionne, Ben-Josef Hirsch


Transfer Credit Advisor: Joseph

Faculty on Leave:

2014-15: Burke, Hajj, Moon

Spring 2015: Just, Scherer




Sem App Deadline Mon, Nov 3 by 4:00 pm
Sem Admit/Wait lists posted Fri, Nov 7 by 4:30 pm

Senior Thesis
April 23, 2015 by Noon to the Registar's Office

Class of 2015 Honors Thesis Proposal
Application due date Mon, April 13, 2015

Political Science Writing Prize
Due Date TBA - mid April 2015