Skip to main content

Undergraduate Advising and Research
Parker House, HB 6201
Hanover, NH
Phone:  603.646.3690
Fax:  603.646.8190


Basic Structure of the Department

  • The Government Department offers one major and one minor. Requirements for both can be accessed through the department's website.
  • Most courses offered by the department fall into one of four sub fields:
  • American Politics (30s): This subfield focuses on the study of U.S. political institutions, processes, and behavior. Americanists study elections, Supreme Court decisions, social movements, Congressional politics, interest groups, political parties, federalism, state and local politics, public policy, and related topics. GOVT 3 is the introduction to the subfield.
  • Comparative Politics (40s): This subfield focuses on the study of politics and policy in other countries, often comparing the politics of one nation to that of another nation. In other words, comparativists do for other countries what Americanists do for the United States. Comparativists also study democratization and dictatorship, revolution, political parties, economic development, nationalism, and related topics and themes.  GOVT 4 is the introduction to the sub field.
  • International Relations (50s): This subfield focuses on the study of interactions among sovereign states and other actors in the international arena. People who study international relations study diplomacy, trade, war, international law and international organizations (e.g., the UN), and so forth. GOVT 5 is the introduction to the sub field.
  • Political Theory and Public Law (60s): This sub field focuses on the theoretical and philosophical questions raised by the ways human beings wield power and seek justice.  Political theorists also study basic questions pertaining to freedom, rights and liberties, legitimacy, the appropriate boundaries of law, and so forth. GOVT 6 is the introduction to the sub field.
  • Many courses, and the interests of most faculty members, span subfield divisions. Courses in the 20s are upper-level courses that cross subfields in Government, and which do not belong just in one of the four subfields. Students are invited to identify topics or puzzles of interest to them, and then to chase those topics or puzzles across subfields (and, indeed, across academic departments and programs).
  • The Government department sponsors one FSP to London, and one domestic program to Washington, DC.  Prerequisites for the London program are GOVT 4 or 5 (or equivalent courses or course work).  Prerequisites for the DC program are GOVT 3 or other course work in American politics.  Most students who participate in the Government programs have been Government majors.

Information for the First-Year Student Who Plans on Pursuing Studies in Government

  • Each of the four introductory courses (GOVT 3, 4, 5, and 6) is associated with one of the four subfields described above. These courses are appropriate for first-year students, and they are offered frequently. Government majors are required to take at least two of the four introductory courses, and the sooner they are taken, the better.
  • Prerequisite for the major is GOVT 10, ECON 10, or MATH 10, with a grade no lower than C.  Another course in statistics and the methods of social science may be substituted for GOVT 10, with permission of the department chair. AP credit for Math 10 does not count as the prerequisite for the major unless a student takes a GOVT 10 equivalency test.

Current Enrollments, Class Size, and Distributives


The Government home page

Last Updated: 9/6/13