Learn more about the department courses and requirements
The Government Department at Colby is the community of teachers and students dedicated to the study of politics. Our department, which now counts approximately 220 majors, is recognized as one of the best in its field at any liberal arts college in the country. We are proud of that reputation and work hard to maintain it.
We feature a faculty of publishing scholars who are deeply committed to teaching and advising. Several of us are active in real-world political affairs as consultants to governmental institutions at the local, state, federal, and international levels, and our political commentaries appear regularly in local, national, and international media outlets.
We cover all four of the principal subfields of political science: Political Theory, Comparative Politics (of Europe, the Middle East, East Asia, Africa, and Latin America), International Relations, and of course, American politics.
The department presents a diversity of ideological orientations and methodological approaches that expose students to a wide variety of viewpoints and perspectives on political and public-policy issues.
We encourage student involvement in our research, from electoral reform in the U. S. to democratization and nation-building in the developing world, and from the intricacies of environmental regulation to the changing nature of political elites in Eastern Europe. We welcome meaningful student participation in the life of the department, both through the opportunity to become paid research assistants to the faculty and through participation in the Student Review Board.
The major requires rigorous courses taught by demanding instructors and provides a challenging and stimulating intellectual experience. It also presents students with the opportunity to undertake independent study under the supervision of a faculty member or to write an honors thesis in the senior year. A political science major prepares students for a wide variety of career opportunities in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
We also encourage our majors to take on political and government-related internships at the state, federal, and international levels. Some work with government agencies or international organizations; others become involved in political campaigns or with NGOs, both domestic and foreign-based. Internships are facilitated during the January Program.
Our curriculum is complemented by Colby’s vibrant interdisciplinary programs, including Global Studies, Latin American Studies, East Asian Studies, American Studies, African-American Studies, Jewish Studies, and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. In addition, Colby’s Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights, together with the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, provide venues through which students can familiarize themselves with real-life political issues, both domestic and international.
We rely on a loyal corps of Colby alumni who majored in Government while on Mayflower Hill and have remained in close touch with us over the years. This group includes outstanding lawyers, political leaders, businesspersons, diplomats, journalists, academics, and community-concerned citizens, several of whom frequently return to Colby to attend our spring departmental lecture. Many more stand ready to help us as we counsel majors applying to graduate school or looking for that important first job.