What Students Say
• What can you learn from it?
• What is it like being a politics major?
• What are common misconceptions about politics majors?
• What kind of internships and international experiences have majors had?
• How will politics majors save the world?
• Why would anyone want to date a politics major?
What is politics?
The breadth of the field of politics is both a blessing and a curse. One the one hand, politics certainly does have something for everyone. You can study almost anything both in our society and around the world through the lens of politics. However, it can feel as though you always bite off more than you can chew and can never really make a dent in the wide world of politics.
There are a few misconceptions about Politics majors. Perhaps the most widespread is the idea that the politics department has curricular and intellectual opportunities that are indistinguishable from those of the Woodrow Wilson School. While there have been some similarities in the politics and WWS curriculums in the past, the recent reform of the WWS undergraduate program has made the majors more distinctive than ever before. Concentrating in Politics allows you to focus on politics. You have to take a total of 10 courses to meet the Politics course requirements, and all of them can (but don’t have to) be Politics courses. The WWS major, in contrast, requires you to be interdisciplinary with requirements in economics, sociology, psychology and science in addition to politics. Interdisciplinarity is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does limit one’s ability to study political phenomena in any depth. The Politics Department, in our opinion, allows more freedom both in the classes that majors are allowed to take and the focus of their independent work.
Politics majors have had a wide variety of internships and international experiences. The department advises students to go abroad typically during junior year. While students are still required to complete a JP during the semester abroad, the department tries to make this as easy as if the student were on campus. The way of fulfilling this requirement is to work with a Princeton Politics adviser through regular e-mail contact or via Skype. Joining a Woodrow Wilson School Task Force may also be an option, if space is available.