Departmental Member Profile: University of Delaware

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deptimgUniversity of Delaware, Department of Political Science and International Relations

ChairDavid Redlawsk, James R. Soles Professor and Chair
Director of Undergraduate Studies: Jason Mycoff
Director of Graduate Studies: Claire Rasmussen
Degrees offered: B.A., Political Science; B.A., International Relations; B.A., Political Science Education; M.A., Political Science and International Relations; Ph.D., Political Science and International Relations
Number of Undergraduate Majors (2015-2016): 550
Number of Incoming PhD Students (2015-2016): 7

Tell us about your department programs and initiatives:

We offer undergraduate majors in political science and in international relations as well as three undergraduate minors – political science, political communication, and legal studies. Our graduate program offers the MA and PhD in political science (with an emphasis on global governance).

Our undergraduate major in political science includes concentrations in American politics, global politics, law, politics and theory, and a recently-created concentration in politics, groups and identities.   Our undergraduate major in International Relations is highly interdisciplinary, requiring course work in Economics, as well as History, Anthropology, and Foreign Languages.   Our undergraduate students are offered plans of study that put significant emphasis on issues of diversity, collective behavior, and global politics. Opportunities for experiential learning in both domestic and international politics abound, and a large percentage of our students take advantage of Delaware’s world-class study abroad program.

We collaborate in two important academic initiatives at Delaware: National Agenda and Global Agenda. Both National and Global Agenda are lecture series devoted to appeal not only to the academic community but the public at large. In collaboration with the Department of Communication (National Agenda) and the Center for Global and Area Studies (Global Agenda), these series offer a variety of lectures organized around topical issues important at the moment. During election years, National Agenda is particularly important in channelizing our university resources to provide avenues for discussion, exploration, and reflection of national issues (including the sponsoring of the Delaware Debates). Global Agenda brings prominent members of the media, officials of international organizations, ambassadors, national think tanks, international non-governmental organizations, and ambassadors to campus to engage in current topics.

Our department also organizes two research colloquiums.  The Faculty Research Colloquium is an opportunity for our faculty members to report initial research and findings and get feedback from other faculty members and graduate students.  The Colloquium on Global Governance and Society is a lecture series associated with a graduate seminar and it is designed to bring experts from other universities to our department to engage in a specific topic of discussion. Third-year graduate students are required to present their preliminary drafts of their dissertation prospectus.

Tell us about your faculty:

Our highly-productive faculty (over 50 publications in the 2015-2016 period) encompass the full range of subfields in political science (Theory, American, Public Law, Comparative, International Relations, and Methodology). Our faculty members have a variety of substantive and interdisciplinary interests including gender and politics, American institutions, political behavior, public opinion, religion and politics, politics and economics, corporate responsibility, human rights, race and politics, international political economy, international relations theory, regional integration, democratic theory, ethnic conflict, global governance, among others. The department has developed clusters of faculty working on issues related to gender and politics, political psychology and public opinion, identity politics, in both national and transnational contexts. In addition to growing expertise in domestic politics, our faculty members cover Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Our faculty is diverse in terms of race, ethnic or national origin, religion, gender and sexual orientation, a diversity that we have cultivated and are proud to celebrate.  The department is characterized by intellectual diversity, methodological pluralism and significant interdisciplinarity. Reflecting this interdisciplinarity and diverse range of research interests, our faculty members hold joint (courtesy) appointments African Studies, Asian Studies, European Studies, Islamic Studies, Latin American and Iberian Studies, Black American Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Legal Studies, Environmental Studies, the Center for Political Communication (CPC) and more.

For more information on our faculty, please see:

Tell us about your undergraduate programs:

We offer two majors: political science and international relations. Both of these majors fall among the top ‘most popular’ majors at UD. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to major in political science, international relations, political science combined with a language (French, Spanish or German) or political science education (for future secondary education teachers).   We offer many opportunities for majors and non-majors beyond our major and minor offerings, including study abroad, undergraduate research, discovery learning experiences and service learning including internships, and Honors classes.

Our students are active participants in a series of students’ clubs that range from political affiliation to human rights concerns. We also have honor societies for political science (Pi Sigma Alpha) and international relations (Iota Rho).

The department offers many opportunities for undergraduate research. Undergraduate students engage in research through senior theses and independently-arranged research with individual faculty. In addition to individual research experiences involving a pairing of one student with one faculty member, the department offers other courses that involve undergraduate research. For example, students enrolled in POSC 471 Polling Research and Analysis (the ‘Blue Hen poll’) design and carry out their own opinion poll on campus, analyze the data and release the findings at a public event. Many second writing courses in the department involve undergraduate research as well, with students working on research projects with guidance from the instructor. Department faculty members also frequently work with undergraduate Social Science Summer Scholars or McNair Scholars during the summer months; these are administered by the Undergraduate Research Program and McNair Program, respectively, at the University of Delaware.

For more information on our undergraduate program, please see:

Tell us about your programs for Master’s and/or Doctoral students:      

Our graduate program has a focus on global governance, and while it is primarily a PhD program a limited number of MA students are admitted. Global governance may be defined as an approach to politics and public policy that transcends the nation-state and its formal institutions of government. It is global because it recognizes that virtually all issues on the public agenda—e.g. development, environment, gender, human rights, migration, religion, security, the trafficking of persons – transcend in their scope, source, and solution national boundaries. It is governance (rather than “government”) because non-formal, non-state actors—nongovernmental organizations, interest groups, professional associations, and so forth—have increasingly been accorded legitimacy in rule-making and rule-enforcement. The global governance perspective does not insist that the traditional nation-state has collapsed, or even that such a collapse is inevitable. It does suggest, however, that we will increasingly live in a world characterized by powerful tensions between the formal governmental institutions of individual nation-states, on the one hand, and a vast array of transnational, non-state forces on the other. It is this tension, with each set of forces laying claim to political legitimacy, which will shape the politics of the new century.

To help students navigate the burgeoning field of global governance, we organize study around three tracks of inquiry: The United States in the World, Global Processes and Transnational Issues, and Comparative Perspectives. PhD students pursue two tracks, while MA students pursue one. Each track offers students opportunities to explore in depth complex theoretical, conceptual, and practical questions related to particular issues, and to develop specific research interests under the guidance of distinguished faculty.  All graduate students in the first through their third years participate in the Colloquium on Global Governance and Society (COGGS), a speaker series of invited scholars organized by the third year graduate students in collaboration with the director of Graduate Studies. Through COGGS, students have the opportunity to engage the scholarship of active scholars and are often invited to meetings and meals with these scholars as well. COGGS also includes a preliminary presentation of dissertation proposals by third year students, giving them an opportunity to present, refine, and defend their ideas and allowing less senior graduate students to gain insights into the dissertation proposal process.

Approximately 50 graduate students from all over the USA and the world are currently enrolled in our graduate program. The faculty provides close advising and mentoring to our graduate students who find a collegial atmosphere in the Department. Through colloquia, seminars, and an annual spring speaker series, we offer a stimulating intellectual environment. In addition, we provide our advanced graduate students with opportunities to teach their own courses. Finally, we encourage our advanced graduate students to present their research at conferences and to publish their scholarship in peer-reviewed journals.

Our grad students are organized in the Global Governance Student Association, for more information please see:

For more on the graduate program please see: