Political Science


William D. Rose, chair and associate professor.
B.A., 1981, J.D., 1987, University of Toledo; Ph.D., 1999, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Appointed 2001.

Elizabeth Ben-Ishai, assistant professor.
B.A., 2003, University of Toronto; M.A., 2005, Ph.D., 2008, University of Michigan. Appointed 2008.

Dyron K. Dabney, visiting assistant professor.
B.A., 1989, University of Virginia; Ph.D. candidate, University of Michigan. Appointed 2003.

Andrew D. Grossman, associate professor and Royal G. Hall Professor of Social Sciences.
B.A., 1980, Monmouth University; M.A., 1990, Ph.D., 1996, New School for Social Research. Appointed 1996.


Areas of study include American government and politics, constitutional law, political theory, public administration, international relations and comparative politics. Study also focuses on how public policies are developed at the federal, state and metropolitan levels. Political philosophy and American political classics are studied and taught in their original forms as expressions of the liberal arts of free citizenship.

Students in the department also study the nature of various governments found in the world today, as well as the economic, historical, cultural and ethical factors which are at the base of conflicts in international relations. Political science majors typically take advantage of internship and off-campus study opportunities in Lansing, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago and other cities in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Students interested in American politics, foreign policy and public law are especially encouraged to take a junior-year internship with either the Washington Semester Program at The American University or The Washington Center.

Political Science Department Web site

Career Opportunities

An undergraduate major in political science is used by many students as a background for graduate study--and eventually employment--in such fields as law, public policy, public administration, business administration and international relations. Other fields which may be directly open to graduates are public opinion and market research, social work, municipal management, secondary school teaching, TV and radio, journalism, lobbying, criminal justice, campaign management and legislative staff work.

The American University/Albion College M.P.A. Program

Albion College is one of a select few liberal arts colleges to have established a "linkage" agreement with the master of public administration (M.P.A.) program at The American University in Washington, D.C. The linkage agreement guarantees admission to The American University's M.P.A. program for Albion College students majoring in political science provided that they:

  • Graduate with an overall grade point average of at least 3.0;
  • Submit three letters of recommendation certifying their ability to do graduate-level work;
  • Submit an essay to The American University describing their education and career objectives
  • Submit GRE scores if they are seeking financial aid from The American University.

Majors and Minors

Requirements for Major

  • A minimum of eight units in political science, including 105 and at least one unit in each of the four subfields in the department: American government and politics, international relations and comparative politics, political theory (Political Science 351, 355 or 367), and political research. It is expected that six of the eight units in political science will be taken at Albion College. Other arrangements can be made for bona fide transfer students and students in approved off-campus programs. Exceptions are at the discretion of the department chair after consultation with other faculty members in the department.
  • No more than one unit of 391 or 392 (internships) may be counted toward a major.
  • All courses for the major must be taken for a numerical grade, except 391 and 392. In order for a course to count for the political science major, the student must earn at least a 2.0 in the course.
  • Political science majors are strongly encouraged to achieve basic competency in statistics (Mathematics 109 or Mathematics 210 are appropriate) and at least one foreign language.

Note: Freshmen may enroll in 300-level courses only with permission of the instructor.

Requirements for Minor

  • Six units in political science, including: 101, one additional unit in the area of American politics (including law-related courses), one unit in political theory, one unit of any course that qualifies as comparative (305, 319, 352, or any 289 that the chair qualifies as comparative), and two electives in any subfield.

Requirements for Major with Secondary Education Certification

  • Eight units in political science, as outlined above in the section "Requirements for Major."
  • Completion of all other requirements for teacher certification.

Requirements for Minor with Secondary Education Certification

  • Five units in political science, as outlined above in the section "Requirements for Minor," less one elective
  • Completion of all other requirements for teacher certification.

Political Science Courses

American Government and Politics

101 Politics of American Democracy (1)
An overview of the dynamics and structure of the American political system: the Constitution, civil liberties, Congress, the Presidency, bureaucracy, interest groups, political parties, and voting behavior. Contrasts the principles of democratic action with a behind-the-scenes examination of how public policy is actually made. Dabney, Grossman, Rose.

214 Congress and the Presidency (1)
An examination of the changing roles and responsibilities of Congress and the presidency with a focus on the changing political environment and the potential for leadership. Grossman.

216 Public Policy Analysis (1)
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. An examination as to how government decides to address problems. The stages of the policy-making process. Special attention is paid to the methods of program evaluation. Substantive policy areas are discussed, with an emphasis on social welfare, health, education, urban, and environmental protection policies. First-year students are not allowed to enroll in this course. Grossman, Staff.

220 Interest Groups and Political Action (1)
An examination of the increasing power of interest groups in the governmental process, including case studies of successful and unsuccessful efforts by business, labor, women's groups, ideological groups and various citizens' groups to influence public opinion and public policy. Offered in alternate years. Staff.

223 Interpretations of American Politics (1)
An exploration of frameworks for comprehending the distinctive features of the American political system and culture. Approaches which draw upon Lockean liberalism, American exceptionalism, pluralism, class analysis, and the role of race and gender in American politics are compared. Staff.

225 American Citizenship in Theory and Practice (1)
Focuses on the ways in which the concept of American citizenship has changed over time in response to various historical events such as the founding of the American republic, the abolition of slavery, the expansion of suffrage rights, the waves of immigration from Europe and Asia, and other circumstances. Grossman, Rose.

229 Film Images of World War II (1)
The history of the Second World War and world films made about the war from 1939 to the present. (Film fee.) Offered in alternate years. Same as History 229. Cocks, Grossman.

312 American Political Development (1)
Considers rotating topics: war, race, and organizational and institutional changes in historical context. Seminar themes include: the periodization of American history, national state formation, the political economy of industrialization and urbanization, and the social dynamics of continuity and change in the American political system. Grossman.

315 Presidential Campaigns and Elections (1)
The continuing evolution of both the presidential nominating process and the fall general election campaign. A look at the role played by political parties, candidate-centered organizations, money, issues, images and the mass media in the presidential selection process. Offered in those years when the presidential election campaign is at its peak! Dabney, Staff.

317 Political Parties in the United States (1)
Examines the evolution of the party system in the U.S. and roles political parties play in contemporary American politics. Looks at party realignments, third party movements and advancements, party infighting and bipartisan cooperation. Addresses the question of party decline and the rise of alternative institutions of interest articulation. Dabney.

319 Political and Social Movements (1)
Examines movements in historical and comparative perspective, focusing on 20th-century movements in the U.S., Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Considers why movements arise, and why some are successful, while others fail. Staff.

322 Crime, Politics and Punishment (1)
Whom a society punishes and how it punishes are key political questions as well as indicators of the character of the people in whose name it acts. This course examines connections between punishment and politics with particular reference to the contemporary American situation. Rose.

323 Introduction to Constitutional Law (1)
Methods of legal reasoning and analysis are taught through the study of the United States Supreme Court and basic cases in constitutional law. The writing and arguing of case briefs are required. Rose.

324 Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (1)
The same approach is employed as an Introduction to Constitutional Law, but the cases covered are the leading ones in the development of American civil liberties. Rose.

Special Studies

288, 289 Selected Topics (1/2, 1)
An in-depth examination of a current issue in politics. Examples are: the Media and Politics; Presidential Campaigns and Elections; Women and Politics; Latin American Politics; Post-Soviet Politics; and Political Change in Eastern Europe. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Permission of department. Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

International Relations and Comparative Politics

202 Political Systems of Europe (1)
Comparative study of government and political processes in European nations with special attention given to Britain, Germany, Sweden, Russia and the European Union. Analysis of democratization and related political and economic changes in Eastern Europe and Russia. Staff.

235 American Foreign Policy (1)
Exploration of the history of American foreign policy, covering leading theories that explain its shifting style, goals, and outcomes. Grossman.

305 Government and Politics of Japan (1)
Prerequisites: Declared political science major, senior or second-semester junior standing, permission of instructor.
An examination of Japan's postwar political system: the decision-making institutions, political players and public policy processes. Also surveys political parties, political economy, political participation, culture and society in Japan. Dabney.

336 International Relations (1)
A study of the behavior of nations, including topics such as: national power, balance of power, deterrence, diplomacy, collective security, international law, international organization and disarmament. Grossman.

338 International Political Economy (1)
An introduction to the study of political economy, i.e., the reciprocal relationship between political and economic activities and institutions, through an examination of the pursuit of wealth and power in the international system. Considers the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical, analytical and ideological approaches to understanding the international political economy in both historical and contemporary settings. Specific issues include trade, international finance, foreign investment, economic development, structural adjustments and globalization. Staff.

352 The Comparative Politics of Developing Nations (1)
A survey of the principal arguments about global inequality and the developmental paths of countries outside the industrialized West. Includes an examination of the roles major powers and international and non-governmental organizations have played in the political and economic histories of developing countries. Staff.

356 Human Rights in the Modern World (1)
Introduces the key concepts and theoretical tools for understanding human rights and human rights policy in the context of the modern world. Examines human rights in a global comparative context with emphases on all the major world regions. Draws on the central theories and concepts of comparative politics and international relations to explain how and why governments protect (or fail to) human rights and to examine the intersection among citizens, governments, and non-governmental organizations that work to investigate and protect against human rights abuses. Rose.

405 National Security Policy (1)
Prerequisites: Two political sciences courses, international studies courses, law, justice and society courses, or permission of instructor.
Explores the new security challenges facing the United States and other nations in the post-Cold War period. Introduces security studies, looking at the issue of nuclear weapons and its integration into strategic policy planning. Considers alternative ways to comprehend the concept of security and security studies in light of economic globalization, asymmetrical warfare, terrorism, democratization, the changing character of sovereignty, and the problem of weapons (conventional and non-conventional) proliferation. Grossman.

Political Theory

105 Introduction to Political Thought (1)
An introduction to fundamental concepts and theories of politics, with emphasis on the concepts of justice, liberty, equality and democracy. The works of theorists such as Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Rousseau, Madison, Tocqueville, Marx, and Schumpeter are explored. Ben-Ishai, Rose.

106 Contemporary Approaches to Politics (1)
Examines twentieth century approaches to political phenomena, including the works of thinkers such as Weber, pluralists, critical pluralists, rational choice theorists, contemporary feminists, poststructuralists and other contemporary theorists of power, class analysts and others. Specific topics, such as the relative role of market and state or the exceptional quality of American liberalism, will be examined. Introduces students to a variety of modes of analysis and methods of approaching political questions. Ben-Ishai, Rose.

351 Modern Political Thought (1)
Prerequisite: Political Science 105.
Critical examination of the work of modern writers on enduring themes of political life. Covers such thinkers as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel and Marx, through careful reading of the texts. Explores topics such as equality, democracy, women's rights and contending definitions of freedom. Ben-Ishai.

355 Key Problems in Political Thought (1)
The political philosophy of selected great classics from Plato to the present. Ben-Ishai.

367 American Political Thought (1)
Explores the history of American political ideas, and how those ideas continue to inform contemporary political thinking. Focuses on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with principal attention given to the Transcendental Movement and the emergence and development of pragmatism. Examines this dominant thread of American thought against the backdrop of liberalism and within the context of four related themes: individualism, equality, community and democracy. Rose.

Political Research

201 Scope and Methods of Political Science (1)
Examines the history of the discipline, and surveys principal approaches to describing and explaining political phenomena, including qualitative and quantitative analysis and moving from the behavioralism of the late 1940s, to critical theories, interpretive approaches, and rational choice models of later generations, and on to postmodern critiques challenging the idea that political science can be a science. Grossman, Rose, Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)
Individual research within context of small group discussion and analysis of a common topic of politics. Staff.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)
Individual research on a senior thesis of politics under tutorial direction of the faculty. (Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 to take a directed study in political science.) Staff.