The master’s and doctoral programs are flexible as to fields of study and courses. In addition to the wide range of courses offered within the Department, students have the opportunity to take courses in other departments at Boston College as well as at the other institutions that make up the Boston Area Consortium. Students can study any of the four traditional fields of Political Science: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics and Political Theory. The small size of the program—about five to six students are admitted to the doctoral program each year—allows for personal attention and close contacts with the faculty. Informal colloquia and more formal presentations supplement the regular order of scholarly exchange; advanced students have an opportunity to teach under faculty supervision. While our primary focus is on the education of our students, we pay great deal of attention to their professional development, preparing them for the academic and nonacademic job markets. Most of our students are given the opportunity to teach their own classes, and all of them receive advice and instruction on publishing their works.
Many of the graduate courses are seminars in which a considerable amount of responsibility is placed upon the student to analyze readings, prepare written and oral presentations, and guide class discussions. These are experiences we encourage generally in our courses, but the seminar, with 15 or so students, is ideally suited to this purpose. The classes are small, which fosters not only conversation but close associations among students and faculty. The atmosphere is informal and collegial. As an academic community, both graduate students and faculty display an unusual blend of practical and philosophical concerns within a tradition of friendly but serious debate and scholarly exchange.