Math/Political Science Major

The goal of the Math/Political Science joint major is to offer undergraduates an opportunity to learn the same cutting edge methodologies that are used by many Emory faculty in their own research. As a result, this major is excellent preparation for a great variety of careers. For example, one of the goals of the joint major in political science and mathematics is to produce an elite group of undergraduates who will enter the most prestigious social science graduate programs, with the ultimate goal of becoming university professors. The professorial job opportunities for methodologically well-trained graduate students is currently excellent, and everything on the horizon suggests that this need will only increase in the future. Similar prospects apply to many other careers as well.

Majors will be assigned both a Political Science advisor and a Math advisor.  Students completing the major must complete a total of 14 courses, seven courses from political science departmental offerings and seven courses from the math department, both of which are described in detail below. These courses must include the following:

Political Science Courses:

  • POLS 100: National Politics in the United States
  • POLS 110 Introduction to International Relations or POLS 120 Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • POLS 208: Research Design Methods* 
  • POLS 310: Statistical Modeling
  • Three electives in political science at the 300 level or above. These electives must be chosen from only one of the following areas: American politics, International Relations or Comparative Politics. These courses must have content (such as readings or paper assignments) which employ the methods learned in 208 and 310. A student must have his or her choice of 300-level courses approved by the joint political science and math faculty advisor. One of the electives must be an approved research seminar in political science. This type of course should be a capstone seminar in which a student would be able to fully utilize his or her training in mathematically-based research methods to work within a substantive area and/or on a substantive project. A student must have his or her choice approved by the joint political science and math faculty adviser.

*POLS 310 must be completed prior to enrolling in POLS 208. 

Math Courses:

  • MATH 111 and 112: Calculus I and II (or prior AP credit)
  • MATH 211: Multivariable Calculus
  • MATH 212: Differential Equations or MATH 250: Foundations of Mathematics
  • MATH 221: Linear Algebra
  • MATH 361 and MATH 362: Probability and Statistics

Requirements Checklist for the Math/Political Science Major 

Political Science Courses by Area

To declare a major, please refer to the instructions on the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) websiteIf you have any questions or concerns about major requirements, please contact Amanda Hutson.

Honors Program Eligibility

A student who is a joint major in math and political science may participate in the political science honors program alongside political science and international studies majors, or in the math honors program. The political science honors program requires taking a graduate or senior seminar of the student's choice. That graduate or senior seminar can satisfy requirement "e" above, contingent on the approval of the political science adviser. Honors students also take an Honors Tutorial (POLS 495) in the fall of the senior year, as well as POLS 499 Honors Research in the spring of the senior year. These last two courses will satisfy only one of the three required courses in section "d" above (under political science courses). That is, students who complete the honors program will still need to take at least two 300 level or above courses as described in section "d." In accordance with college guidelines, a joint major wishing to pursue honors in political science must receive approval of the math department for entry into the political science honors program, and the math department must also agree on the level of honors ultimately awarded. Also per college guidelines, a joint major pursuing honors in political science must have a faculty member of the math department on the honors committee, in addition to a political science faculty member and an outside member.

For additional information about the Math/Political Science Major contact Courtney Brown in the Political Science Department or Ken Mandelberg in the Math Department.

Note on the Research Course Requirement

Starting in the Fall of 2016, the Political Science department implemented a new requirement that MATH/POLS students complete a research paper as part of their Political Science major.  Classes that contain a paper that meets the research requirement are numbers with either a POLS394 or POLS494 designation or contain "RCH:" in the course title. 

Courses that are designated as research classes are NOT focused exclusively on research.  In most cases the course is quite similar to other Political Science classes, except that it contains a major research paper. We encourage students to contact the professor to determine the parameters of the major paper in the research class.