The political economy minor provides students with knowledge about how the complex institutions of the global and national economy work in comparative political and sociological contexts. At the same time, course work in the minor emphasizes the ability of students to critically analyze what they have learned by transforming that knowledge through further inquiry in written work, sustained research, and discourse.

Through their course work primarily in the social sciences of economics, political science, and sociology, students engage in much sustained inquiry into the ways in which political and economic institutions interact. This is evident in the emphasis given to instruction in public policy courses, most notably the required “gateway” course, POSC 265 Politics of Global Economic Relations, and the middle-division requirements and electives in American public policy. The required capstone seminar often deals with questions of public policy as well.

In this way, the political economy minor is most useful for students wishing to pursue graduate training in public policy, business, and law. These are all professional areas in which training across the social sciences is especially relevant.

Learning Goals

The primary learning goals of the political economy minor involve cross-cutting competencies including areas of knowledge, critical thinking, and skills of expression such as writing and oral-presentation ability. These competencies are best understood as a five-fold set of learning goals:

  • An ability to write about political economy using quantitative evidence and reasoning.
  • An ability to understand abstract theory and apply empirical data to test hypotheses flowing from such theory.
  • The acquisition of knowledge concerning both the global and the U.S. political economy, specifically how complex institutions work and how they change over time and across regions of the world.
  • An ability to bring insights from distinct social sciences to bear on the understanding and analysis of political economic issues.
  • An ability to orally present one’s own research on political economy to an audience of peers.