Government

The Government Department offers an A.B. in Government, as well as a minor in Government.

Major in Government

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE A.B. IN GOVERNMENT

Government majors are required to take ten courses: four foundational courses and six electives. The foundational courses are:

  • U.S. Political Systems (GOVT-020, previously GOVT-008)
  • Comparative Political Systems (GOVT-040, previously GOVT-121)
  • International Relations (GOVT-060, previously GOVT-006)
  • Elements of Political Theory (GOVT-080, previously GOVT-117)

The six electives must include a second course in political theory and at least one Department Seminar (generally taken in the junior or senior year). Both Department Seminars and political theory electives are searchable by attribute in the Class Schedule Search page; the attributes are "College/GOVT: Dept Seminar" and "College/GOVT: Pol Theory," respectively.

The Department encourages majors to take a course in statistics. GOVT-201 Analysis of Political Data is particularly recommended because it focuses on statistical methods particular to political science. GOVT-201 counts as an elective in the major and also counts towards the College core requirement in math/science as a class in mathematics.

Note about MATH-040: GOVT-201 and MATH-040 are mutually exclusive; students cannot take both courses for credit. Effective Fall 2017, with entering Class of 2021, MATH-040 will not count as an elective in the major. For students in the Classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020, MATH-040 will only count as an elective in the major if taken in Spring 2018 or earlier.

Students may transfer a maximum of two courses from outside of Georgetown to the major, inclusive of study abroad and any summer courses taken elsewhere. An exception is made for transfer students, who may transfer a maximum of five courses to the major, inclusive of coursework at their previous institution(s) as well as study abroad and additional summer coursework taken elsewhere.

Any course cross-listed with Government in the Schedule of Classes will count as an elective in the major. Courses not cross-listed with Government can only count with approval of the director of undergraduate studies. 

Integrated Writing Requirement

Students acquire and practice a variety of political science research methods and writing skills across the introductory courses in the major. Through short- to medium-length assignments, they gain experience in writing data-analytic papers, policy briefs, comparative case studies, and argumentative and persuasive essays.

In addition, in their advanced coursework (normally numbered 300 and above, and designated as Departmental Seminars), students undertake longer (generally 25 pages or more) writing assignments and individual research. These courses feature intense class discussion and substantial reading and writing assignments, designed to help students write persuasively on political topics. Therefore, all Government courses label "Department Seminar" fulfill the College’s requirement for one “Integrated Writing” course in the major.

Government Honors

The Government Honors Program is an intensive, three-semester program of closely mentored research and writing that culminates in a Senior Honors Thesis.

A call for applications from interested juniors is issued in the fall.  The Honors Program begins in the spring semester of junior year. Note: Students studying abroad in the spring of their junior year are not eligible for the Honors Program.

Prerequisites for the program include a declared government major and a minimum GPA of 3.5 overall and in government courses. 

In the initial semester, students take an advanced seminar in Political Theory—which satisfies the requirement for a second political theory course in the major—and GOVT-201: Analysis of Political Data I (unless they have already taken the course). Students prepare a thesis proposal in the fall of their senior year, in the Honors Research Seminar, and complete the thesis, in a three-credit tutorial with their mentor, in the spring. The thesis satisfies the requirement for a Department Seminar. All four required Honors courses count as electives for the major.  

Students defend their work in an oral examination at the conclusion of their last semester.  Those the faculty deem to have succeeded in writing an Honors quality thesis receive Honors in the major at graduation.  

GOVERNMENT Minor 

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR

Students who minor in government must take the four foundational courses of the Government major and any two electives. Students can receive minor credit for no more than one course taken outside of the university; transfer students may receive minor credit for up to two political science courses taken at another college or university.  

More Information

For more information about the requirements for a major or minor in Government, please see the Undergraduate Program Handbook.