Welcome to the Department of Political Science at Boston College
We are an unusual department, a department that has resisted the trend of pushing political science research away from questions that are relevant to citizens and political actors. Though we are particularly strong in the humanistic and qualitative approaches to politics, we celebrate methodological diversity. Twenty-six full-time faculty members (both senior and junior) teach in the department. We are also fortunate to have colleagues in a variety of other research and practice positions. This results in a considerable range in subject matter and academic approach. What unites our nationally renowned faculty is the recognition of the primacy of political problems and the conviction that these problems should determine the methodology that is appropriate in each case.
The master’s and doctoral programs are flexible as to fields of study and courses. In addition to the wide range of courses offered within the department, students have the opportunity to take courses in other fields at Boston College as well as at the other institutions that make up the Boston Area Consortium. Students are invited to welcome to the department of political science at Boston College to study any of the four traditional fields of political science: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, and Political Theory.
The small size of the program—about five to six students are admitted to the doctoral program each year—allows for personal attention and close contact with the faculty. Informal colloquia and more formal presentations supplement the regular order of scholarly exchange; advanced students have an opportunity to teach under faculty supervision. While our primary focus is on the education of our students, we pay a great deal of attention to their professional development, preparing them for the academic and non-academic job markets. Most of our students are given the opportunity to teach their own classes, and all receive advice and instruction on publishing their work.
Many of the graduate courses are seminars in which a considerable amount of responsibility is placed upon the student to analyze readings, prepare written and oral presentations, and guide class discussions. These are experiences we encourage generally in our courses, but the seminar, with 15 or so students, is ideally suited to this purpose. The classes are small, which fosters not only conversation but also close associations among students and faculty. The atmosphere is informal and collegial: both graduate students and faculty display an unusual blend of practical and philosophical concerns within a tradition of friendly but serious debate and scholarly exchange.