Political Science

Undergraduate Program

The department graduates approximately 75 undergraduate concentrators annually, making it one of the larger social science concentrations at Brown.

We offer smaller freshman, sophomore, and senior seminars, as well as larger introductory and upper level lecture classes. We have a robust Honors Program in which students work closely with faculty advisors to write a senior thesis, a yearlong original research project, and faculty often work in collaborative research partnerships with concentrators. Many of our students secure politics- and policy-based internships during their four years at Brown.

What We Study

Political science concentrators enjoy flexibility to choose courses based on their interests. One way to navigate the concentration is to pursue courses in “pathways,” each representing a different focus or theme. While pathways are optional, we encourage students to explore them in consultation with their faculty advisers.

Some possible pathways:

Black Political Thought

AFRI 1085 The Black Vote: A Critical Interrogation of a Concept

AFRI 0800 Theorizing Racism

POLS1335 Slavery and Freedom: Selections from African American Political Thought

POLS 1530 Gender, Slavery and Freedom

POLS 1820E Pragmatism in Black and White: Race, Domination, and Democratic Faith

POLS1820F Black Protest: Theory and Praxis

POLS0820H Race and Visions of Justice

Ethics and Politics

POLS 0821B Ethics and International Affairs

POLS 1825K Good Government

Foreign Policy

POLS1560 American Foreign Policy

POLS1350 Chinese Foreign Policy

POLS1824T US-China Relations

International Political Economy

POLS1020 Politics of the Illicit Global Economy

POLS1822G Political Economy of Hard Policy Problems

POLS1190 Politics of Climate Change

POLS1822I Geopolitics of Oil and Energy

IAPA1801K From Growth to Green Transition

POLS1420 Money and Power in the International Politics Economy

International Security

POLS1550 War and Politics

POLS1500 The International Law and Politics of Human Rights

IAPA1804 Diplomacy, Crisis and War in the Modern Era

POLS1225 The Politics of Nuclear Weapons

IAPA1804I National Security Decision-Making

POLS1822U War and Human Rights

POLS1821P Political Psychology of International Relations

POLS1821M War in Film and Literature

Law and Politics

POLS 1821 Issues in Democratic Theory

POLS 1820D Civil Liberties: Moral, Political and Legal

POLS 1170 Constitutional Law: Individual Rights

Political Institutions

POLS 1820V Institutions: Questions of Power and Democracy

POLS 1822C Congress

POLS 1130 The American Presidency

Promise and Problems of Democracy

POLS 1822H Corruption and Governance Across Democracies

POLS 1825Q The Politics of Democracy and Integration in Europe

POLS 1820F Issues in Democratic Theory

POLS 1820X Democratic Erosion

POLS 0920I The Politics, Ethics, and Art of Corruption

Race and Politics

AFRI 1085 The Black Vote: A Critical Interrogation of a Concept

AFRI 0800 Theorizing Racism

MCM 1507A Film and Politics

POLS 1310 African American Politics

POLS 1315 Social Groups in U.S. Politics 

POLS1820F Black Protest: Theory and Praxis

POLS 0820H Race and Visions of Justice

Social Justice and Political Identity

POLS 1085 Injustice

POLS 1335 Slavery and Freedom

POLS 1820F Black Protest: Theory and Praxis

POLS 1820E Pragmatism in Black and White: Race, Domination, and Democratic Faith

POLS 1360 US Gender Politics

POLS 1530 Gender, Slavery and Freedom

POLS 1822Q Identity Politics in Global Perspective

The Politics of Freedom and Movement

POLS 1823J Freedom Work and Leisure

POLS 1824S The Politics of Migration

The Politics of Public Policy

POLS 1435 Politics of Climate Change

POLS 1822 Geopolitics of Oil and Energy

POLS 1824K The American Welfare State in Comparative Perspective

POLS 1825E Health Care Politics and Policy


Research and Internships

Political science concentrators at Brown also have opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research projects. Our faculty-student research teams have won a number of Undergraduate Research and Teaching Assistant grants for work during the academic year and during summer months.

We also work hard to help students secure internships in government, policy institutes, and non-governmental organizations, and Brown University's LINK award provides funding to offset the costs of unpaid internships for many of our students.

Saxena Center for Contemporary South Asia

Undergraduate Research and Internships

The purpose of undergraduate summer funding is to facilitate research for a senior thesis or to provide internship experience with an academic or civil society organization. Students are invited to propose work with any organization or indicate their interest in one of the Center’s partners by contacting our Center Manger. Students who are unsure of where they would like to intern or are interested in one of the initiative's partners are encouraged to discuss their interests with a faculty member as early as possible. Students who already have contacted an organization are required to attach a letter of interest from the organization. Details about the Center’s partners, such as Janaagraha (Bangalore) and Centre for Policy Research (Delhi), and PRADAN (various) can be found on our partners page.

Amount: Up to a $5,000 maximum per project.

Eligibility: Sophomores and Juniors (Brown University Only).

Deadline: Monday, March 13, 2023 at NOON

Application requirements: A two-page project proposal, unofficial transcript, resume, budget, and a letter from the organization (if proposing an internship). 

Apply at UFunds

Subject to university guidelines regarding spending and travel, the Saxena Center for Contemporary South Asia would like to offer winter research and travel awards of up to $3,000 to graduate and undergraduate students of Brown University. Students in any discipline whose research develops knowledge about South Asia may apply. Pending university guidelines funds may be used for  travel to visit archives or conduct fieldwork where possible, attend conferences virtually or in person, language training, unanticipated research expenses due to COVID-19, or other non-travel efforts to further one's research during these challenging times. It is highly recommended that students review current university travel policies as it may be necessary to submit your travel plans for university review in October or early November, even before the committee has reached a decision about awards. Please reach out to stephanie_abbott@brown.edu with questions.

Award: Up to a $3,000 maximum, students may apply for smaller amounts. 
Eligibility: Undergraduate and Graduate Students (Brown University)
Deadline: Monday, October 11, 2022 at NOON
Application Requirements: Up to a one page project proposal including budget (a paragraph may be sufficient), unofficial transcript, and resume.
Apply at UFunds

China Initiative Undergraduate Summer Research Awards

China Initiative Undergraduate Summer Research Awards support thesis research by Brown undergraduates whose focus of study is Greater China. The awards support archival, library, and on-site field research in Mainland China or Taiwan; in exceptional cases, the awards might be used to research in other global locales relevant to the topic. 

Amount: Grants of up to $5000 are awarded for one summer.

Eligibility: Undergraduate in their junior year (rising seniors) are eligible to apply for this opportunity to fund thesis research in the summer before senior year.

Deadline: Monday, April 15

More Information

Jack Ringer Summer in Southeast Asia Fellowship

The Jack Ringer Summer in Southeast Asia Fellowship is made possible through the generosity of Jack Ringer '52, who served in Burma after graduating from Brown. The award supports summer travel to Southeast Asia to conduct research or work in an internship.

Amount: Up to $4,000

Eligibility: All Brown Undergraduates

Deadline: Spring term: Nov 30; Summer term: Mar 31; Fall term: August 31

Contact: Anita Nester


John P Birkelund Fund For Diplomacy

The fund will support student internships related to foreign policy and diplomacy, research projects, symposia, and lectures on topics related to diplomacy. 

Amount: Up to $2,000

Eligibility: All Brown Undergraduates

Deadline: Spring term: Nov 30; Summer term: Mar 31; Fall term: August 31

Contact: Anita Nester


KoChon Fund

A permanent endowment administered by the Watson Institute, the KoChon fund is utilized for a wide variety of research and academic activities related to Korea. For undergraduates, the Institute accepts applications to advance student research interests on Korean topics, offering one to two awards per year, which include the option of pursuing field research in Korea.

Amount: Up to $4,000

Eligibility: All Brown Undergraduates

Deadline: Spring term: Nov 30; Summer term: Mar 31; Fall term: August 31

Contact: Anita Nester


Marla Ruzicka International Public Service Fellowship

The Marla Ruzicka International Fellowship supports the summer plans of one Brown undergraduate who displays the characteristics of compassion, determination, and selflessness in the pursuit of international human rights, post-conflict rehabilitation, or international public service in its most noble spirit, and whose summer plans reflect those traits.

Amount: up to $4,000

Eligibility: All Brown Undergraduates

Deadline: Spring term: Nov 30; Summer term: Mar 31; Fall term: August 31

Contact: Anita Nester


Stone Inequality Initiative Funding

The Stone Inequality Initiative invites undergraduate and graduate proposals for internships, research grants, collaboration with faculty or other student projects. The funds are available to students from any discipline. Work should be focused, broadly, on the issues surrounding great wealth in American society, on the American gilded age(s). Ten awards are available.  

Please submit a letter in which you describe the proposed project, your proposed budget and the name of a faculty mentor or committee chair.   

We will accept applications immediately and make the awards on a rolling basis.  

Please send applications or inquires to alberto_alcaraz_escarcega@brown.edu.

Amount: Up to $5,000

Eligibility: Available to students from any discipline.

Deadline: We will accept applications immediately and make the awards on a rolling basis.

Contact: Alberto Alcaraz Escarcega

More Information


Taubman Center Undergraduate Research Fellowship on Political Underrepresentation

The Taubman Center for American Politics and Politics is pleased to provide resources to students interested in research on ​political ​underrepresentation​ at the city, state, or federal level. This fellowship of $2,500 will be awarded to five students per semester, and will provide research funding ​to​​ ​undergraduate students who have experience in, or a commitment to, working with issues relating to underserved communities​. 

Application Deadline: February 15th


Additional Sources

Brown Connect

Part of President Paxson’s plan to increase student access to internships and research positions, BrownConnect allows students to search for real-world opportunities while still on campus. By bringing the Brown community together to support students, BrownConnect enables undergraduates to follow their own paths beyond the classroom.

Brown in Washington

The Brown in Washington Program offers students a semester in Washington, D.C. during their junior or senior year, interning with public and nonprofit sector agencies and completing coursework that complements their internship placements. The program is the product of a partnership between the Swearer Center and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Dean's Discretionary Grants

The Dean of the College has a small budget to fund undergraduate research projects that fall outside the boundaries of other research award programs. Students will normally have exhausted all other University grant sources before seeking support from the Dean. Special requests of all sorts are considered, but projects that incorporate an international or global component are especially encouraged.


Fellowships at Brown represent university-sponsored programs including nationally competitive fellowships that fund faculty-student research collaborations, unpaid internships, independent research and travel, and post-baccalaureate work or study both in the United States and abroad. Here you will find information about the range of opportunities at Brown as well as selected external awards of potential interest to Brown students.

Office of Global Engagement Grant Opportunities

Priority will be given to requests that demonstrate an effort to advance the inclusion of the international community on campus and beyond, and/or that contribute to academic research and scholarship.


UFunds coordinates applications for funding from offices at Brown. You will find opportunities here for members of the Brown community, including undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty.

Undergraduate Research

Brown sponsors a number of fellowship and grant programs that support undergraduate research during the summer or the academic year. Many of the awards are specifically designed to facilitate faculty-student research collaborations, including Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards and Royce Fellowships.

Beyond the Concentration

After graduation, political science concentrators follow a wide range of paths including law school and graduate school in political science or public policy; active political engagement at the local, state, national, or international level; and management consulting.

Our graduates have an excellent track record of securing jobs in fields that are related to politics, and many of them go on to attend graduate school in the areas of law, political science, international relations, and public policy.

Departmental Undergraduate Group (DUG)

The DUG provides opportunities for undergraduates to take part in department student events. The membership consists of interested undergraduate concentrators in the department.

To join the DUG or to participate in DUG activities, please contact an undergraduate DUG board member, Hollie KutscherMatthew Lichtblau, or Jack Tajmajer. All Department events are open to all concentrators.