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Graduate Coursework in Political Theory

Students may pursue coursework in political theory in four ways.

  1. Students are encouraged to enroll in political theory core and thematic seminars at the graduate level in the department. Our core course, PSCI 300, introduces students to a range of texts and themes in contemporary and historical political theory. From there, students may take courses focusing on figures and periods in the history of political thought, or courses that focus on themes and methodologies in contemporary political and social thought. Particular strengths in this area include democratic theory, human rights, and feminist social and political thought.
  2.  Students may also pursue relevant graduate courses in other departments and schools, such as the philosophy department or the divinity school, with faculty approval.
  3.  Students are encouraged to undertake independent study courses with faculty members to pursue areas of interest not covered in our course offerings. These independent courses are meant to provide students with the opportunity to pursue in-depth research beyond what is covered in our seminars and to produce a research paper that demonstrates independent research and argument.
  4.  Graduate students may receive graduate credit for 200-level courses in political theory in the department by attending the class meetings and working closely with faculty to devise a more extensive reading list and more advanced research assignments. 

We strongly encourage students to meet with faculty early in their time at Vanderbilt to devise a course plan that will help them develop strength in the history of political thought, contemporary thought and debates, and special areas of focus.

For a complete list of courses, please consult the Vanderbilt catalog.