Political Science

<p>Can anyone tell me anything about the political science program? How hard the major is/what is the workload like, any insight into classes etc.</p>

<p>Hey carguy8888,</p>

<p>The political science program is very strong, especially in theory. Political Science at Duke is divided into four areas of concentration and for the major, you need to pick a concentration but take at least one class in each area. Here's more information on the undergrad curriculum: Political</a> Science :: Undergraduate Program :: Curriculum</p>

<p>Most polisci majors will tell you to pick IR or American Politics as your concentration, dismissing theory classes as a waste of time. And on a whole, there are very few political theory concentrations, since it's less pragmatic. I'm a theory concentration, and I really hope that you don't dismiss it completely: it can be incredibly rewarding.</p>

<p>As a generalization, the workload for polisci classes is pretty low - there are usually lots of readings but, to be frank, very few people actually do them all. However, there are some really hard classes (Non-state Actors comes to mind) which, despite the work required, are definitely worth it. Don't shy away from the hard classes or professors with bad ratemyprofessor.com ratings - sometimes, these are the classes that are most worthwhile. And while there are no incentives to doing the reading (no negative consequences, no reading quizzes), I've found that keeping up with it helps you get the most out of lecture and classes. </p>

<p>The major really is what you make of it. If you diligently take the field seriously, I think you'll love it - and you'll be surrounded by some of the leading scholars in political science, many of whom love to counsel undergrads. It's a great opportunity. But if you treat it as a blow-off easy major, then that's exactly what it'll end up being.</p>

<p>Ketty- What do you recommend for someone entering as a freshman who wants to major in polsci with a international relations focus? I've heard that 91 is a good intro course that would be fairly straightforward so that one can get used to college workload and study habits, but I was considering 93 which is international relations, but I've heard it's a lot harder and not for first semester freshmen.</p>

<p>BallerDuke14:</p>

<p>I haven't taken either course. However, I would definitely recommend the intro course over the more intense one given that you're a first semester Freshmen. I think most freshmen tend to underestimate how difficult the whole transition actually is. Don't be in a big rush to dive into academics right away. Take it easy in the beginning. =)</p>

<p>I'd recommend either an intro or a theory course to start out with.</p>

<p>I got questions because I am bookbagging classes right now and I feel really lost. I plan to major in Poli Sci so I added two classes. 91: American Political System, and 93D International Relations. Should I take two Poli Sci classes in my first semester? Also should I take 4 or 5 classes my first semester. I got priority for writing 20 so I have that scheduled as well. Should I add a seminar class? Can anyone please help.</p>

<p>Prospectus: Take 4 classes. Taking 5 classes is never worth it in the end (unless you have an impeccable work ethic and like to study in the library for fun). I had to make this mistake twice before I <em>finally</em> got it. </p>

<p>It's okay to take two polisci classes - although, I'd recommend that you explore a bit further. Have you always liked AP psych? Take an intro psych class. Do you enjoy philosophy and are curious to learn more? Take Phil 41 or 42. Maybe a history class? Or a compsci class? Linguistics? Econ? </p>

<p>My advice would be to take PolSci 91 along with Writing 20, an academic exploration class (anything you're interested in), and perhaps a language class to get started on that T-Req and get you on the track for study-abroad in the future.</p>

<p>Ketty: Thanks for the advice! I don't know about taking a language course my first semester because I have always struggled more with language. Duke said if thats the case then I should do it in the second semester. What do you think? I think I might do Writing 20, Poli Sci 91, Something History, and then maybe another poli sci class.</p>

<p>Should be fine. I hope you don't get too sick of polisci. :P</p>

<p>With regards to the decision between taking 91 and 93, I'll put it this way: 91 is a snooze-fest, but super easy. My friend who has NO political background/knowledge of current events coasted and got an A. I, on the other hand, took 93 fall of my freshman year and nearly died. My grade was fine, but it remains the most work I've ever done for a class, and I'm a rising senior. Heavy reading load (most necessary) and weekly current events quizzes. However, I maintain it was one of the best classes I've ever taken at Duke--it "woke me up," so to speak, to actually-tough college classes, forced me to stay in-the-loop with regards to current events, and I took it with Peter Feaver, who is an excellent lecturer (albeit fiercely conservative, and this bleeds through his course). This course is the reason I am a polisci minor now.
If you're willing to put the work in, take 93.</p>