The Political Economy major is designed to give students a grasp of the ways in which political and economic forces interact in shaping public policy. The major includes substantial study of the central analytical approaches in both Political Science and Economics and seeks to surmount the sometimes artificial barriers of specialization that may characterize either discipline taken by itself. Three of the required Political Economy courses undertake a conscious merging of the approaches in the two fields. (These courses are designed by, and usually are taught jointly by, political scientists and economists.) Political Economy 250 examines major theoretical texts in political economy and analyzes economic liberalism and critiques of economic liberalism in the context of current policy issues. Political Economy 401 examines contemporary issues in political economy in their domestic, comparative and international contexts. Political Economy 402 asks students to research and make proposals in policy areas of current importance. Background for the two senior courses is acquired through courses in international economics, public finance, and domestic and international/comparative politics and policy.
Students in Political Economy 402 visit Washington, D.C. Sunday night through Wednesday of the first week of spring vacation to conduct interviews relating to their Political Economy 402 group projects. This is a course requirement and thus a requirement for the major.