Department of Political Science

Faculty

Distinguished Professor
Richard P. Nathan, Ph.D.
Harvard University

Professors Emeriti
Carlos A. Astiz, Ph.D.
Pennsylvania State University
Thomas W. Church, Ph.D.
Cornell University
Martin Edelman, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
University of California, Berkeley
Webb S. Fiser, Ph.D.
University of Chicago
Walter Goldstein, Ph.D.
University of Chicago
John G. Gunnell, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley
Erik P. Hoffmann, Ph.D.
Indiana University       
Alvin Magid, Ph.D.
Michigan State University
Charles D. Tarlton, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
Frank J. Thompson, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley       
Lewis P. Welch, Ph.D.
Syracuse University
Theodore P. Wright Jr., Ph.D.
Yale University
Joseph F. Zimmerman, Ph.D.
Syracuse University

Associate Professor Emerita
Anne M. Hildreth, Ph.D.
University of Iowa

Professors
Victor Asal, Ph.D.
University of Maryland
Cheng Chen, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania
José E. Cruz, Ph.D.
City University of New York — Graduate Center
Reynold Koslowski, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania
Michael J. Malbin, Ph.D.
Cornell University
Bruce L. Miroff, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
University of California, Berkeley
Julie Novkov, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
University of Michigan
Morton Schoolman, Ph.D.
Brown University
Patricia Strach, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Meredith Weiss, Ph.D. (Chair)
Yale University

Associate Professors       
Zsofia Barta, Ph.D.
London School of Economics and Political Science - European Institute
Peter D. Breiner, Ph.D.
Stanford University
Bryan Early, Ph.D.
University of Georgia
Virginia Eubanks, Ph.D.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Sally Friedman, Ph.D.
University of Michigan
Brian Greenhill, Ph.D. (Vice Chair)
University of Washington
Matthew Ingram, Ph.D.
University of New Mexico       
Gregory P. Nowell, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Rousseau, Ph.D.
University of Michigan
Timothy Weaver, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania

Assistant Professors
Christopher Clary, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Niloufer A. Siddiqui, Ph.D.
Yale University
Stephen Stohler, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania

Adjuncts (estimated): 5
Teaching Assistants (estimated): 12



The study of political science is concerned with the activity and organization of society for the realization of public goals and values. The study of political science is designed to prepare the student for responsible and effective citizenship, political participation, and advanced academic or professional studies. The student of political science may gain an understanding and appreciation of political values, institutions, and processes operating in American, foreign, and international systems.

Careers

Majors in the Department of Political Science may use their studies as preparation for graduate programs in law, public administration, public affairs, or other professional study. Studies in political science can also lead to entry-level employment in government or industry training programs. Our programs provide a basis for effective citizen participation in public affairs whether or not a student pursues further professional training. The most common careers are in law, government service, teaching, business, and journalism.

Undergraduate Study

The faculty and students in the Department of Political Science study politics in all of its manifestations:

  • The institutions of government in the United States and around the world
  • The role of interest groups, and elections and political parties in the political process
  • The relationships among nations
  • The connections of the law and courts to politics
  • The role of citizens in government

The tools we use to approach these issues range from theoretical and philosophical studies, to historical and institutional analysis, to quantitative studies.

The program requirements of the major in Political Science are made up of courses at four levels, providing breadth at the introductory level, depth in one of four distinct areas of specialization and, through elective courses, the opportunity to explore different types of political issues. As soon as possible after declaring a Political Science major, a student should meet with an academic advisor in the department and declare a concentration.

Concentrations

American Politics
The faculty in American politics have research and teaching interests in all areas of the subfield: American political institutions (the presidency, Congress, courts, state and local government, political parties), as well as political processes (elections, public opinion, urban politics, minority politics, political behavior, public policy formation). Given its location in the state capital and within Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, the department offers students unique opportunities to study ongoing research projects at the intersection of politics and public policy.

Citizenship
Citizenship is a central concept to the study of politics with deep historical roots and increasing tension in modern political life. Courses in this concentration focus on the concept from both the theoretical and empirical standpoints in the US and globally. Taught by faculty from different subfields, these courses examine citizenship from the individual and institutional perspectives and include a consideration of what it means to be a citizen from a legal and a normative vantage point, as a political identity, and in the public policy process.

Equality & Inequality
As discussions of economic and political inequalities become increasingly present in our political debates, issues of equality and inequality have become central to the polity. Courses in this concentration focus on these issues by examining the intersection of law and social policy as it pertains to underrepresented groups. Taught by faculty from different subfields these courses examine debates about group identity, civil rights and liberties, discrimination and the meaning of justice in a democracy.

Global Politics
The global politics faculty have research and teaching interests in a range of substantive and geographical areas, current changes in the world, and the comparative study of political systems. Particular areas of interest include civil-military relations, political economy, gender and LGBTQ rights, human rights, political violence and terrorism, contentious politics, foreign policy, regional integration, nationalism, ethnicity and international relations, international conflict and security, international regimes, WMD, and economic statecraft. The faculty has regional specializations in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Europe, Israel-Palestine and China.

Law & Institutions
The rule of law, often overlooked and sometimes contentious, plays a central role in everyday American life. Courses in this concentration focus on the development and operation of the legal system, the work of the branches of government and the interactions of these political institutions with the public. Taught by faculty from different subfields, these course consider how laws are constructed and implemented, how they affect ordinary citizens, and the impact they have on public policy debates and political change.

Political Theory
The subfield of political theory includes faculty members whose interests range from the traditional texts to contemporary theory, including critical theory, deconstructive readings of political theory, theories of political judgment, and German social and political theory.

Although students are allowed to work out their own program with faculty mentors, the program aims to give students a firm grounding in the history of political theory, interpretive theory and the philosophy of the social sciences, and the various strands of contemporary theory.

Political Economy & Development
Comparing policy in the U.S. with those in other nations adds critical insight in a globalized world. Courses in this concentration seek to build an understanding of macro level development by examining the connections between politics and economics. Taught by faculty from different subfields, these courses focus on nation building, social safety nets, the changing role of nation states and national institutions, and the controversial influence of money on people and policies.

Public Law
The subfield of public law at the University at Albany has a national reputation for the quality of its program. The public law faculty pursue a variety of research interests related to law, legal actors, and legal systems. Faculty members in this area focus their research on national and subnational legal processes, the relationship between law and state development, the relationship of law and the legal system to public policy, interest groups, the media, and the political system in general. Faculty members also examine doctrinal issues in constitutional and public law, as well as the relationship of private law to public policy in the United States and around the world.

Security & Statecraft
International conflict and security dominate the politics of most areas of the globe and are key components of our foreign policy conversations. Courses in the concentration focus on the expanded understanding of the concept of security as states and non-state actors develop new strategies, tactics and tools to challenge the established order. Taught by faculty from different subfields, these courses examine patterns of political violence, migration politics, and how nations and the international organizations respond to modern day threats.

Special Programs or Opportunities

Recognizing the fact that a lawyer must be politically knowledgeable, many pre-law students major in political science. Individuals engaged in the practice of law automatically are involved in political activities because of their dealings with the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Political science majors gain the strong analytical and writing skills they will need to succeed in law school and in legal practice, and the Public Law concentration can help students to determine whether attending law school is the right choice.

The location of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy in the capital city of the Empire State affords students of political science unusual opportunities to observe and study the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of the state government, the second largest public employer in the United States. With a few exceptions, the principal office of each state department, division, and office is located in Albany.

Internship opportunities are available for juniors and seniors to work in legislative and other governmental offices in Albany; the department also organizes a competitive Semester in Washington internship program available in the fall and spring semesters, open to high achieving students across the university.

Library resources to support research in New York State government are excellent. Students have access to the New York State Library, with one of the largest collections in the world. State departments, divisions and offices also have specialized libraries containing information not commonly housed in university or public libraries.

Degree Requirements for the Major in Political Science

General Program B.A.

The major in political science requires a minimum of 36 credits distributed as follows:

  • R POS 101, R POS 102, and R POS 103
  • 12 credits at or above 300 level in the chosen concentration
  • One 400 level writing intensive course (which may be among the credits in the
    selected concentration)
  • 15 political science elective credits, 12 of which must be at or above 300 level or among the 200 level courses requiring a 100 level prerequisite

Majors in Political Science must pick an upper-division concentration from the disciplinary core (American Politics, Global Politics, Political Theory, Public Law) or from the interdisciplinary concentrations (Citizenship, Equality & Inequality, Law & Institutions, Political Economy & Development, and Security & Statecraft). Only one concentration may be completed. Students are required to take at least four courses in their area of concentration at the 300 or 400 level. It is recommended, but not required, that students take their required 400 level writing intensive course in their area of concentration.

The courses for each area of concentration are as follows:

American Politics
R POS 303/R PAD 304 Public Policy in Theory and Practice
R POS 319 American Political Development
R POS 320 American Federalism
R POS 321/R PAD 321 State and Local Government
R POS 322/R PAD 322 Government & Politics of New York City
R POS 323 Urban Government
R POS 324/ A LCS 375 Latino Politics in the United States
R POS 325/R PAD 325 The Government and Politics of New York State
R POS 329/R PAD 329 Administrative Leadership
R POS 331 American Legislatures
R POS 332 The Presidency
R POS 334 American Political Parties and Groups
R POS 337 Campaigns and Elections in U.S.
R POS 340/R PAD 340 Introduction to Policy Analysis
R POS 341/R PAD 341 Washington in Perspective
R POS 347 Comparative Latin American Migration: The United States and Europe
R POS 348 Comparative Urban Politics: The United States and Europe
R POS 365 Government and the Mass Media
R POS 410/R PAD 410 Minorities and the Politico-Legal System
R POS 424 Community Politics
R POS 430 Founding the American National Government
R POS 433/A WSS 433 Women, Politics, and Power
R POS 435 Congress and the Presidency
R POS 438 Political Behavior
R POS 439 Topics in American Politics
R POS 488/R PAD 488 The Science and Art of Political Campaigns
R POS 495Z/R PAD 490Z Research and Writing in Washington

Citizenship
R POS 306 Contemporary Democratic Theory
R POS 321/R PAD 321 State and Local Government
R POS 334 American Political Parties and Groups
R POS 307 American Political Theory
R POS 377 Politics of Southeast Asia
R POS 433Z/A WSS 433 Women, Politics, and Power
R POS 439Z Topics in American Politics: Controversies in American Values
R POS 449Z Topics in Public Law: Equal Citizenship in Comparative Perspective
R POS 469Z Topics in Comparative Politics: Democracy and Democratization
R POS 474Z Politics of International Migration

Equality & Inequality
R POS 313/A WSS 360 Feminist Social and Political Thought
R POS 324/A LCS 375 Latino Politics in the United States
R POS 326 Introduction to Public Law
R POS 336 Civil Liberties
R POS 387 Public Spending and Fiscal Policy
R POS 395/R PAD 395 International Political Economy
R POS 399 Selected Topics: The Welfare State
R POS 419Z Equality Left and Right
R POS 426Z American Constitutional Law I
R POS 427Z American Constitutional Law II
R POS 449Z Topics in Public Law: Election Law
R POS 449Z Topics in Public Law: Equal Citizenship in Comparative Perspective
R POS 469Z Topics in Comparative Politics: Democracy and Democratization

Global Politics
R POS 317 Comparative Criminal Procedure
R POS 327 Comparative Judicial Politics
R POS 343/R PAD 343 Homeland Security
R POS 347 Comparative Latin American Migration: The United States and Europe
R POS 348 Comparative Urban Politics: The United States and Europe
R POS 350/R PAD 350 Comparative Public Policy
R POS 351 European Politics
R POS 353 Developing Political Systems
R POS 354 Russian Domestic Politics
R POS 355 Government and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa
R POS 356 Russian Foreign Policy
R POS 357/A LCS 357 Latin American & Caribbean Politics
R POS 360 Violent Political Conflict
R POS 361 Comparative Ethnicity
R POS 362 Nationalism and Nation-Building
R POS 364 Building Democracy
R POS 366/R PAD 364 Approaches to Development
R POS 367 Politics of the Middle East
R POS 368 Information Technology and World Politics
R POS 370 International Relations: Theory
R POS 371 International Relations: Practice
R POS 373/A EAC 373 Government and Politics in the People's Republic of China
R POS 375 International Organization
R POS 376 The Foreign Policy of the People's Republic of China
R POS 377 Politics of Southeast Asia
R POS 380 Basics of International Law
R POS 383 American Foreign Policy
R POS 384 Formulation of American Foreign Policy
R POS 386 International Conflict and Security
R POS 387 Public Spending and Fiscal Policy
R POS 395/R PAD 395 International Political Economy
R POS 396/R PAD 396 Energy Policy, Domestic and International
R POS 398/R PAD 398 Comparative National Security Policy
R POS 425Z Justice Reform in Latin America
R POS 447Z/A LCS 465 Latina/os and the New Political Economy
R POS 448Z Identities, Boundaries & Mobilization
R POS 450Z Theory and Research on Global Politics
R POS 452Z Communist and Post-Communist Political Systems
R POS 469Z Topics in Comparative Politics
R POS 472Z International Conflict and Resolution
R POS 473Z Economic Relations in the Global System
R POS 474Z Politics of International Migration
R POS 479Z Topics in International Relations
R POS 484Z American Foreign Policy Formulation and Implementation
R POS/R PAD/ H HPM 486 International Health and Human Rights: an Interdisciplinary Approach

Law & Institutions
R POS 317 Comparative Criminal Procedure
R POS 319 American Political Development
R POS 325/R PAD 325 The Government and Politics of New York State
R POS 326 Introduction to Public Law
R POS 331 American Legislatures
R POS 332 The Presidency
R POS 335 The American Supreme Court
R POS 336 Civil Liberties
R POS 344 Predicting the Supreme Court
R POS 363/R CRJ 353 American Criminal Courts
R POS 425Z Justice Reform in Latin America
R POS 437Z Law and Society

Political Economy & Development
R POS 319 American Political Development
R POS 323 Urban Government
R POS 350/R PAD 350 Comparative Public Policy
R POS 362 Nationalism and Nation-Building
R POS 387 Public Spending and Fiscal Policy
R POS 395/R PAD 395 International Political Economy
R POS 399 Selected Topics: The Welfare State
R POS 439Z Topics in American Politics: Money in Politics
R POS 469Z Topics in Comparative Politics: Democracy and Democratization
R POS 479Z Topics in International Relations: U.S. Banking and Financial Crisis

Political Theory
R POS 301 History of Political Theory I
R POS 302 History of Political Theory II
R POS 306 Contemporary Democratic Theory
R POS 307 American Political Theory
R POS 308 Theorists and Theorizing
R POS 310 Contemporary Political Philosophy
R POS 313/A WSS 360 Feminist Social and Political Thought
R POS 314 Problems of Political Inquiry
R POS 419Z Seminar in Political Theory

Public Law
R POS 326 Introduction to Public Law
R POS 328/R PAD 328 Law and Policy
R POS 330 Law, Courts, and Politics
R POS 333/A WSS 333 Women and the Law
R POS 335 The American Supreme Court
R POS 336 Civil Liberties
R POS 344 Predicting the Supreme Court
R POS 346/A WSS 346 Law, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity
R POS 363/R CRJ 353 American Criminal Courts
R POS 425Z Justice Reform in Latin America
R POS 426Z American Constitutional Law I
R POS 427Z American Constitutional Law II
R POS 437Z Law and Society
R POS 449Z Topics in Public Law

Security & Statecraft
R POS 351 European Politics
R POS 367 Politics of the Middle East
R POS 383 American Foreign Policy
R POS 399 Selected Topics: Foreign Policy and Coercive Statecraft
R POS 437 Law and Society
R POS 474Z Politics of International Migration
R POS 479Z Topics in International Relations: Politics of Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Security

Internships cannot be used to satisfy the 400 level course requirement, but honors seminars or independent studies can be counted if they are appropriate and with permission.

Independent study courses are used to deal with topics not covered by regular departmental offerings and after classroom courses dealing with the same subject have been completed. Prior to registering for independent study, students must have their proposed research project approved by a faculty member willing to direct the research. The student's prospectus must outline the topic of the proposed research, indicate its importance to political science, and describe the methodology to be employed and methodological problems that may be encountered. Only Public Administration courses that are cross listed with Political Science are acceptable in meeting the 36 credit requirement.

The Political Science Internship (R POS 390) is open to juniors and seniors. A maximum of 3 credits from R POS 390, U UNI 390, 391 or 392 will be applied toward a major in Political Science. Approval of the department is required prior to enrollment.

The Department recommends that students take the 200 level topical courses and/or the department's R POS 250 Research Methods in Political Science. Students who came to UAlbany as transfers are particularly encouraged to take R POS 250.

Honors Program

This program is designed to provide qualified students with the opportunity for a special educational experience in small seminars where they can develop their writing, discussion, and analytical skills.

Majors may apply for admission to the Director of the Honors Program at the end of the sophomore year, or for junior transfers, upon admission to the University.

The requirements for admission include: an overall cumulative grade point average of 3.50, and a 3.70 in political science courses; and completion of 12 credits in political science (including, normally, R POS 101, 102, and 103) before beginning the program.

Honors Program Requirements

The Honors Program requires 16 credits of honors work. All students beginning the Honors Program will take Great Ideas in Political Science (R POS 496Z). This seminar is taught each fall and only honors students may enroll.

Students in the honors program must take two 4 credit honors versions of existing 300 level courses (R POS 300 level + 1 credit R POS 300). In addition to attending classes and doing the same assignments as the other students in the course, they will earn the additional fourth credit through a tutorial with the faculty member teaching the course that will include extra reading and writing assignments. Students in the honors program will have the option of capping their studies with either a 4 credit honors thesis (R POS 499Z) written under the supervision of a faculty member or a 4 credit version of an existing 400 level course in which the honors student will undertake a major writing project (R POS 400 level + 1 credit R POS 400).

Honors students will need to have an upper-division area of concentration in American Politics, Citizenship, Equality & Inequality, Global Politics, Law & Institutions, Political Economy & Development, Political Theory, Public Law, or Security & Statecraft. The two 300 level honors courses and the 400 level honors course or honors thesis can be used to fulfill this requirement. Honors students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.25 overall and 3.50 in political science to continue in the program in the senior year and to graduate with honors.

Combined B.A. in Political Science/M.A. in Political Science

The combined B.A./M.A. program in Political Science/Political Science provides an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill integrated requirements of undergraduate and master's degree programs from the beginning of the junior year to earn the B.A. and M.A. degrees within nine semesters.

The combined program requires a minimum of 143 credits, of which at least 32 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for the B.A., students must meet all University and school requirements, including the requirements of the major described previously, the minor requirement, the minimum 90 credit liberal arts and sciences requirement, general education requirements, and residency requirements. In qualifying for the M.A., students must meet all University and school requirements as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin, including completion of a minimum of 32 graduate credits and any other conditions such as field seminars and Master's Essay (R POS 698), professional experience, and residency requirements. Up to 12 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.A. and M.A. programs.

A student may apply to the combined degree program in Political Science/Political Science at the beginning of their junior year or after the successful completion of 56 credits. To be eligible for admission, the student must have completed at least one semester in residency at this University.

The student must also have completed at least 6 credits of coursework in political science at this University, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher, a grade point average of 3.20 or higher in course work completed at Albany, and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty to be considered for this program.

Combined B.A. in Political Science/M.P.A. in Public Administration

The combined B.A./M.P.A. program in Political Science/Public Administration provides an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill integrated requirements of undergraduate and master's degree programs from the beginning of the junior year. A carefully designed program can permit a student to earn the B.A. and M.P.A. degrees in one less semester than is normally required.

The combined program requires a minimum of 154 credits, of which at least 46 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for the B.A., students must meet all University and school requirements, including the requirements of the major described previously, the minor requirement, the minimum 90 credit liberal arts and sciences requirement, general education requirements, and residency requirements. In qualifying for the M.P.A., students must meet all University and school requirements as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin, including completion of a minimum of 46 graduate credits and any other conditions such as a research seminar, thesis, comprehensive examination, professional experience, and residency requirements. Up to 12 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.A. and M.P.A. programs.

Students may apply to the combined degree program in Political Science/Public Administration at the beginning of their junior year or after the successful completion of 56 credits. To be eligible for consideration for admission, the student must have completed at least one semester in residency at this University. The student must also have completed at least 6 credits of coursework in political science at this University. Additional requirements for admissions into this program are: a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher; a grade point average of 3.20 or higher in coursework completed at Albany; a grade of B or higher in two quantitative courses; and two supportive letters of recommendation from faculty. The Graduate Record Exam is not required. Of the 36 credits required for the B.A. degree in political science, at least 18 credits must be from courses taken in political science on this campus.

Combined B.A. in Political Science/M.I.A. in International Affairs

The combined B.A./M.I.A. program is highly competitive and allows students to complete their bachelor's degree in Political Science while simultaneously working on a master’s  in International Affairs degree. Students enroll in graduate courses during their senior year that concurrently count towards both the B.A. and the M.I.A. degrees.

The combined program requires a minimum of 151 credits, of which at least 43 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for B.A., students must meet all University and school requirements, including the requirements for the major described previously, the minor requirement, the minimum 90 credit liberal arts and sciences requirement, general education requirements, and residency requirements. In qualifying for the M.I.A., students must meet all University and school requirements as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin, including completion of 24 graduate credits in the core, 5 elective courses, a capstone project and other conditions such as professional internship or career experience, professional development module and residency requirements. Up to 12 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.A. and M.I.A. programs.

Students may apply to the combined degree program in Political Science/International Affairs at the beginning of their junior year or after the successful completion of 56 credits. To be eligible for consideration for admission, the student must have completed at least one semester in residency at this University. The student must also have completed at least 6 credits of course work in political science at this University. Additional requirements for admissions into this program are: a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher; a grade point average of 3.20 or higher in coursework completed at Albany; a grade of B or higher in two quantitative courses; and two supportive letters of recommendation from faculty. The Graduate Record Exam is not required. Of the 36 credits required for the B.A. degree in Political Science, at least 18 credits must be from courses taken in political science on this campus.