Course Syllabi

Our course syllabi can be accessed by logging in with your Dartmouth NetID.

The 4 Subfields

American Politics is the study of U.S. political institutions, processes, and behavior. Americanists study elections, Supreme Court decisions, social movements, Congressional politics, interest groups, political parties, federalism, state and local politics, public policy, and related topics.

Comparative Politics is the study of politics and policy around the world. Comparativists study democratization and dictatorship, revolution, ethnic and religious politics, political violence, individual and group rights, political parties and elections, economic development, and related themes.  

International Relations is the study of interactions among sovereign states and other actors in the international arena. People who study international relations study diplomacy, trade, war, international law and international organizations (e.g., the United Nations), and so forth. 

Political Theory and Public Law focuses on the theoretical and philosophical questions raised by the ways human beings wield power and seek justice. Political theorists also study basic questions pertaining to freedom, rights and liberties, legitimacy, the appropriate boundaries of law, and so on.

Many courses, and the interests of most faculty members, span subfield divisions. Students are invited to identify topics or puzzles of interest to them, and then to pursue those topics or puzzles across subfields—and, indeed, across academic departments and programs.

Department Median Grade Standards

Except under extraordinary circumstances, median grades in GOV courses will not exceed A- in seminars, and B+ in all other courses.

Transfer Requests Information


The Government Department transfer request deadline is 10 days prior to the deadline listed on the Registrar’s webpage for the relevant academic term.

Department of Government deadline to file transfer request application (Winter and Spring 20): Friday, September 27, 2019

Registrar deadline to file transfer term application (Winter and Spring 20): Monday, October 7, 2019

Department of Government deadline to file transfer request application (Summer and Fall 20): Friday, April 10, 2020

Registrar deadline to file transfer term application (Summer and Fall 20): Monday, April 20, 2020


Submit the course syllabus along with the Registrar’s Transfer Credit Approval Form and a Government Department Transfer Credit Form for each course to Roberta Seaver in 201 Silsby Hall. She will submit it to the Government Department Curriculum Committee for review.  An email will be sent to notifying you of the committee’s decision. You will then pick up the completed form and submit it to the Registrar’s office. Please download the form so you may complete all required fields before sending to the department.

Transfer Credit Regulations

  • You must obtain advance approval from the Government Department in order to get credit for courses in Government that you plan to take elsewhere even if you aren't majoring or minoring in Government and do not plan to do so. Applications must be submitted to Roberta Seaver. Exemptions from this rule are granted only to matriculating transfer students.
  • Transfer courses may never be used to replace seminars or to fulfill the Culminating Experience.
  • Please note that according to ORC regulations:
    • Students are not allowed to transfer courses to Dartmouth until they have completed all their first-year requirements.
    • Only courses from accredited four-year-degree-granting institutions may be considered for transfer credit
    • No credit is given for internship programs.
    • A course must be at least three weeks long and meet for a minimum of 30 contact hours.
  • The Department’s application deadlines are one week prior to the Registrar’s application deadlines, to allow time for processing. The Department application must be submitted on the form provided here and must be accompanied by a syllabus for the course you intend to take (see below). Please download the form to complete the required fields. Students who are accepted into an official Dartmouth exchange program must submit transfer requests within one week of being notified of their acceptance into the program.  Please be aware that courses from Dartmouth exchange programs are not automatically accepted for transfer credit to the Government Department and many requests for transfer cannot be approved.
  • The syllabus you submit with your application must document all assigned readings and exercises (exams, papers, etc) along with page numbers for readings and written assignments. If the syllabus you need is not yet ready, submit one for the same course by the same professor when he/she last taught it; or if that too is impossible, submit one from the same course's most recent iteration regardless of who taught it.
  • If the Department decides to grant your request, you will fill out the Applications for Transfer and Exchange Credit and send it to the Registrar’s Office accompanied by the syllabus and the Government Department approval.
  • Normally, you may transfer no more than two courses toward your major or minor in Government. Students who are not Government majors or minors may transfer more than two courses that have been approved for Government credit toward their overall Dartmouth course requirement, subject to regulations specified in the ORC.
  • If the Department decides to grant your request, you will be credited with the addition to your overall College course count. The Department may, at its sole discretion, also award the following: (a) Credit toward your distributives, if the content of the proposed transfer course warrants--typically SOC and/or INT, with possible World Culture credit given; (b) Course credit toward your Government major or minor, but only with respect to the total number of courses required for its completion; or (c) Credit for a course that specifically substitutes for an equivalent Dartmouth course--meaning that the credit not only counts toward your major or minor but also fulfills the same requirement within the major or minor as the Dartmouth equivalent (e.g., will be recognized as fulfilling prerequisites for other courses).
  • NOTE: Shortly before your scheduled graduation, the Registrar will check your transcript in detail to make sure that you are claiming no more transfer credits than the rules allow, that you receive only the level of credit authorized by the Department, that you received passing grades for transfer course(s), and that you have fulfilled all distributive and major requirements after the preceding have been taken into account. If anything is amiss, you will not be allowed to graduate! It is the student’s responsibility to ascertain that s/he is claiming neither more transfer credit than the rules allow, nor credit at a level beyond what the Department has authorized. It is also up to the student to make whatever arrangements are necessary to his/her grade from the other school reported to our Registrar.

Applications for Transfer and Exchange Credit are available in the Registrar’s Office.