Explore the many ways in which politics is shaped by culture, economics and history

  • About this program

    The Politics & Society program at UNH Manchester is uniquely positioned to give you the real-world experience and skills you need to help shape the world at a non-profit organization, as a lawyer, in public office and more. This highly interdisciplinary major draws on roots in political science, international relations, sociology, and economics to help you learn how to solve social problems in America and beyond.

    With our highly flexible degree program, you’ll have the opportunities at your fingertips to create your own path, even choosing to concentrate your courses in American Politics & Public Policy, International & Comparative Studies, or Law & Justice. Moreover, through hands-on experiences you’ll develop the foundational critical thinking, communication, and research skills that make you perfect for careers in government, politics, diplomacy, and business. Our students intern at non-profits like the Red Cross or government agencies like the Mayor’s office, and are accepted into some of the country’s most prestigious graduate programs in law, public policy, international relations, and more.

    For more information contact Program Coordinator Melinda Negron-Gonzales at 603-641-4364 or melinda.negron@unh.edu; or contact the Office of Admissions.

  • Program of Study

    Students must complete 128 credits to graduate, including 44 credits in the politics and society major.

    Students must maintain an overall cumulative GPA of 2.0 and a cumulative GPA in the major of 2.0. No credit toward the major will be given for any course in which the student receives a grade of less than C-. Students also must fulfill the UNH Discovery Program requirements. Up to three courses may be used toward both the politics and society major and UNH Discovery Program requirements. Transfer students must take at least 28 credits in the major at UNH Manchester.

    Requirements for the Politics & Society B.A. degree

    11 required courses (44 credits).

    5 required courses:

    POLT 401, Politics & Society OR PHIL 436: Social & Political Philosophy
    POLT 402, American Government
    POLT 403, US in World Affairs
    POLT 595, Strategies for Political Inquiry
    PS 701, Senior Capstone Experience

    SIX PS or POLT courses, up to TWO SOC or ECN courses may substitute for PS/POLT courses, with approval from program coordinator. Only one 400-level course accepted, one course must be 700 level. Four of these six courses may be used toward an option in International & Comparative Studies, American Politics & Public Policy, or Law & Justice.

    PS 407, Politics & Law in Contemporary Society
    POLT 500, American Public Policy
    POLT 521, Rights & the Political Community
    POLT 522, Dissent & the Political Community
    POLT 560, World Politics
    POLT 509, Managing Bureaucracy in America
    POLT 557, Politics in Italy
    PS 501, Social & Political-Economic Theory
    PS 502, Political Psychology
    PS 503, Political Theory & Historical & Social Context
    PS 504, Empire, Democracy & War
    PS 505, Political Violence & Terrorism
    PS 506, Civil Society & Public Policy
    PS 507, Justice, Law & Politics
    PS 508, Supreme Court in American Society
    PS 509, Political & Social Change in Developing Countries
    PS 510, Politics of Food
    PS 511, Women & War
    PS 651, Selected Topics in Politics & Society
    PS 695, Independent Study
    POLT 701, Courts & Public Policy
    PS 702, International Relations: Interdisciplinary Approaches
    PS 703, Dictatorship & Democracy

  • Areas of Study

    Students are not required to choose an area of specialization (“option”). Students who concentrate in a particular area of study MUST complete FOUR courses in the chosen option. Options are recorded on student transcripts. NOTE: (* = required)

    Law & Justice
    This option will appeal to students who are interested in law, justice and philosophy. Students learn about the structural and procedural aspects of the American court system, and the philosophical and ideological foundations that undergird this system. The option is designed to prepare students for careers in law, government and public service.

    PS 407 and PS 507 required.

    • PS 407 Politics and Law in Contemporary Society
    • POLT 500: American Public Policy
    • POLT 513: Civil Rights & Liberties
    • PS 501: Social and Political-Economic Theory
    • PS 503: Political Theory and Historical and Social Context
    • PS 506: Civil Society & Public Policy
    • PS 507: Justice, Law & Politics*
    • PS 508: The Supreme Court in American Society
    • POLT 520: Justice and the Political Community
    • POLT 521: Rights & the Political Community
    • PS 651: Special Topics: International Human Rights
    • PS 651: Special Topics: Business & International Human Rights
    • HIST 679: Rights Revolution
    • POLT 701: Courts & Public Policy



    International & Comparative Studies
    This option will appeal to students interested in international affairs, the way politics works in different countries and the relationship between governments and societies. Students learn about the role of governments and non-governmental organizations in addressing social problems that often transcend national borders in an increasingly inter-connected world. The option is designed to prepare students for careers in government, international organizations, diplomacy, international development, public service, non-profit organizations, international business and education.

    ONE 400-level course accepted. PS 509 required. ONE 700-level course required.

    • ECN 411: Intro to Macroeconomic Principles
    • HIST 422: World History in the Modern Era
    • HIST 425: Foreign Cultures
    • SOC 400: Intro to Sociology
    • ANTH 411: Intro to Anthropology
    • POLT 560: World Politics
    • PS 502: Political Psychology
    • PS 505: Political Violence & Terrorism
    • PS 506: Civil Society & Public Policy
    • PS 509: Political & Social Change in Developing Countries*
    • PS 510: Politics of Food
    • PS 511: Women & War
    • POLT 521: Rights & the Political Community
    • POLT 522: Dissent & the Political Community
    • POLT 550: Comparative Government & Society
    • POLT 557: Politics in Italy
    • HIST 656: 20th Century Europe
    • PS 702: International Relations: Interdisciplinary Approaches*
    • PS 703: Dictatorship & Democracy*

    (ONE 700-level course required, either PS 702 or PS 703)



    American Politics & Public Policy
    This option will appeal to students interested in the American political system. Students learn how America’s public policies are created and implemented, and how the government agencies tasked with their implementation are managed. The option is designed to prepare students for careers in local, state and federal government, non-profit agencies, law, public service and public policy in specific areas (e.g. public health, environment, etc.).

    ONE 400 level course accepted. POLT 500 required.

    • PS 407: Politics & Law in Contemporary Society
    • HIST 406: History of Modern US
    • POLT 500: American Public Policy*
    • POLT 502: State and Local Government
    • POLT 505: American Congress
    • POLT 506: Parties, Interest Groups, and Voters
    • POLT 509: Managing Bureaucracy in America
    • POLT 512: Public Opinion in American Politics
    • POLT 521: Rights & the Political Community
    • POLT 562: Strategy and National Security Policy
    • PS 506: Civil Society & Public Policy
    • PS 507: Justice, Law & Politics
    • PS 508: The Supreme Court in American Society
    • POLT 701: Courts & Public Policy
    • POLT 711: Public Opinion and Survey Research
    • POLT 751: Comparative Environmental Politics and Policy
  • Minor

    Political Science Minor

    The Political Science minor is great for students interested in domestic or international business, communication arts, American government and foreign affairs. The minor consists of five courses (20 credits total). These courses may be taken in any combination of the four fields and levels (400-700) offered. The fields to choose from are: American politics, political thought, comparative politics and international politics. It is recommended that no more than two courses be taken at the 400 level.

    The minimum grade requirement is C- per course. Any grade lower than a C- will not count toward the minor. Students wishing to use transfer credits from abroad or other universities should meet with a political science advisor to determine eligibility toward the minor.

    Political Economy Minor

    Students interested in pursuing a career in government, public service, business, communications or the law can add a deeper perspective through this minor. The Political Economy minor consists of five courses (20 credits total). Students must take five of the following courses, with no more than THREE from the same designation (i.e., no more than three ECN or three POLT), and no more than THREE at the 400-level:

    ECN 411 (Introduction to Macroeconomic Principles)
    ECN 412 (Introduction to Microeconomic Principles)
    ECN 635 (Money, Banking and Macroeconomic Activity)
    ECN 640 (Business, Law and Economics)
    ECN 650 (Economics for Managers)
    POLT 401 (Politics and Society)
    POLT 403 (US and World Affairs)
    POLT 560 (World Politics)
    POLT 567 (Politics of Global Resources)
    POLT 743 (Comparative Political Economy)
    POLT 762 (International Political Economy)
    PS 501, Social and Political-Economic Theory

    HUMA 412 (Industry and Welfare)

    HUMA 660 (Moral Dimension of Economic Life)

    BUS 701 (Business, Government and Society)

    Substitutions are permitted by permission of minor coordinators, Tom Birch and Melinda Negrón-Gonzales.

    For more information contact Melinda Negron-Gonzales at 603-641-4364 or melinda.negron@unh.edu or Tom Birch at 603-641-4108 or Thomas.Birch@unh.edu.

  • Faculty

    staff photo

    Melinda Negron-Gonzales

    Assistant Professor & Program Coordinator
    Politics and Society Program
    Social Science Division
    Pandora Mill Building
    603-641-4364
    Melinda.Negron@unh.edu

    staff photo

    Stephen Pimpare

    Lecturer, American Politics & Public Policy
    Politics and Society Program
    Social Science Division
    Pandora Mill Building
    Stephen.Pimpare@unh.edu

    staff photo

    Michael Contarino

    Professor Emeritus
    Politics and Society Program
    Social Science Division
    Pandora Mill Building
    603-942-7870
    Michael.Contarino@unh.edu

    Judith Kumin

    Adjunct Faculty Member
    Politics and Society Program
    Social Science Division
    Pandora Mill Building
    603-496-4282
    Judith.Kumin@unh.edu

    staff photo

    Thaddeus Piotrowski

    Professor of Sociology
    Politics and Society Program
    Social Science Division
    Pandora Mill Building
    603-641-4157
    Thaddeus.Piotrowski@unh.edu

  • Florence Summer Program


    The Politics and Society program offers a six-week summer program in Florence Italy. All UNH students who qualify for international study may apply.

    The UNH Manchester Florence Summer Program enables UNH students to earn 8 academic credits, while living for six weeks in Florence, Italy, the birthplace of the Renaissance. The program is located in the beautiful and historic Rucellai Palace in central Florence, and is offered in collaboration with the Institute at Palazzo Rucellai.

    Students are housed in fully-furnished, centrally-located apartments, close to all of Florence’s most famous landmarks, such as the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery, and Piazza della Signoria.

    Students take two courses for eight academic credits. One of these courses will be the UNH course, POLT 557: Politics in Italy, offered by UNH Manchester professor Michael Contarino. Students choose their second course from the offerings of the Institute at Palazzo Rucellai’s distinguished faculty. A list of courses offered this summer is available at the web site of the Institute: http://www.palazzorucellai.org. All courses except Italian language and literature courses are taught in English.

  • Who Should study Politics and Society?

    Do you love discussions with your friends and family about political topics, global issues, and what’s happening on Capitol Hill on any given day? If you’re interested in what makes our democracy thrive and our communities tick, how we turn ideas into laws that help people, or how to run a successful political campaign, then Politics & Society is the perfect choice for you.

    With the ability to fine-tune your course schedule to focus on what interests you most, you’ll be able to use your unique skills to your advantage and make a degree that’s all your own. That may mean focusing on international affairs and learning about American foreign policy or United Nations peacekeeping missions. Or perhaps you’re more interested in American politics and policies in healthcare or environmental sustainability? Or maybe you want to take your debating talents and learn how to defend people’s civil rights as an attorney?

    In the Politics & Society program at UNH Manchester, the choice is yours.

  • Why study Politics & Society?

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many political and social professions are projected to experience positive job growth between 2012 and 2022. For example:

    • Political scientist/consultant: 21%
    • Survey researchers/pollsters: 18%
    • Post-secondary teachers: 19%
    • Urban and regional planner: 10%
    • Public relations and fundraising managers: 13%
    • Sociologist: 15%
    • Market research analyst: 32%

    At UNH Manchester, the Politics & Society program is focused on solving social problems, such as poverty and climate change, by educating future leaders to use the insights of social science research to shape laws and policy.

    With the individualized attention you get from the faculty and staff on campus, you’ll be able to achieve whatever dreams you put your mind to. Your required internship as part of your senior Capstone project could have you getting hands-on experience working at a non-profit or at a media agency in Boston, or working for a political campaign. Beyond graduation, you’ll have the career skills you need to jump into a number of different industries, from local government to economics, or enter into a prestigious grad program in political science, law, and more.

  • Course Sequence

    The following is an example of a course sequence. The sequence may vary depending upon a student's academic history and transfer credits. Students should contact their academic advisor with specific questions.

    First Year

    Fall Semester
    UMST 401, First Year Seminar
    POLT 401, Politics and Society
    ENGL 401, First Year Writing, or Inquiry Course
    Foreign Language I
    Quantitative Reasoning Course

    Spring Semester
    POLT 402 American Politics & Government
    ENGL 401, First Year Writing, or Inquiry Course
    Foreign Language II
    Discovery Course

    Second Year

    Fall semester
    POLT 403 US in World Affairs
    Discovery Course
    Discovery Course
    Elective Course

    Spring Semester
    POLT 595 Strategies for Political Inquiry
    Discovery Course
    Discovery Course
    Discovery Course

    Third Year

    Fall Semester
    500-700 Level PS Course
    PS 695 Independent Study (or Internship)
    Discovery Course
    Elective Course

    Spring Semester
    500-700 Level PS Course
    Discovery Course
    Elective Course
    Elective Course

    Fourth Year

    Fall Semester
    500-700 Level PS Course
    700 Level PS Course
    Elective Course
    Elective Course

    Spring Semester
    PS 701, Senior Project and Interdisciplinary Seminar in Politics and Society
    500-700 Level PS Course
    Elective Course
    Elective Course

    * for majors entering after fall 2013

  • Career Facts

    With UNH Manchester’s brand-new areas of study in Law & Justice, International & Comparative Studies, and American Politics & Public Policy and highly flexible curriculum, you can make a career path that is all your own, select the courses that lead to the future you want, in industries like government, politics, international affairs, non-profits, sociology, economics, journalism and business.

    This highly flexible and personalized degree program offers you many career and further education options to suit your skills:

    Career Possibilities:

    • Business or Public Administrator
    • Editor
    • Elected Official
    • Foreign Service Officer or Ambassador
    • Freelance Writer
    • Government Relations Manager
    • International Relations Specialist
    • Journalist
    • Law Enforcement Officer
    • Lobbyist
    • Political Campaign Manager
    • Political Consultant
    • Pollster
    • Public Affairs Manager
    • Researcher
    • Teacher
    • Town or Regional Planner

    Graduate Studies:

    • Political Science
    • Public Policy
    • Public Administration
    • Diplomacy
    • International Relations
    • Journalism
    • Law
    • Sociology
  • Student Stories

  • Course Descriptions

    Click on each course title to read the full description. For all courses offered at our campus, click here

      POLT 401 - Politics and Society

      Introduction to the nature of politics and political institutions. Emphasis on political behavior and continuing issues of modern politics, such as power, authority, legitimacy, freedom, and order
      Credits: 4

      POLT 402 - Introduction to American Government

      Power and competition in American politics focusing on: voters and elections; public opinion and the media; interest groups and political institutions - the President, Congress, and the Courts. Examines critical political issues from the founding of the nation to the present.
      Credits: 4

      POLT 403 - United States in World Affairs

      Introduction to United States foreign policy since the end of World War II examining the foundations of American policy, the origins and conduct of the Cold War and the dilemmas of the post cold War era. Explores contemporary problems facing United States foreign policy such as the international economy and transnational global issues. 403W is writing intensive
      Credits: 4

      POLT 407 - Law and Society

      January Term 2012 Course details

      Introduction to the ways in which law operates in modern society: its forms, functions, underlying values, and the consequences of its application in particular regimes. Topics include the psychological bases for legal obligation; the evolution of particular legal doctrines; the philosophical underpinnings of legal responsibility; the relationship of law to social structures; the relationship of law to morality; the nature of legal reasoning; and critiques of law.
      Credits: 4

      POLT 500 - (M1) - American Public Policy

      Foundational public policy course examining policy choices and conflicts, how policy decisions are made, how policies are assessed, the development of potential policy solutions, and the politics of policy-making. Students engage in a task force project that simulates public policy processes and culminates in a policy recommendation at the end of the semester. Writing intensive.
      Credits: 4

      POLT 520 - Justice and the Political Community

      Origin of the idea of justice; relationship between politics, justice, and morality; selections from Plato, Aristotle, Roman, Islamic, and Christian political philosophers.
      Credits: 4

      POLT 521 - Rights and the Political Community

      Human rights and the quality of communities as expressed in Hobbes, Locke, Mandeville, Rousseau, and others. Group 8.
      Credits: 4

      POLT 522 - Dissent and the Political Community

      Current political ideologies and controversies in America and abroad; liberal democracy and its critics since the 19th century. Group 8.
      Credits: 4

      POLT 524 - Politics and Literature

      Classical and contemporary works of literature to illustrate perennial issues in political philosophy; among authors studied are Aristophanes, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Melville, Tolstoy, and Sartre. Group 8.
      Credits: 4

      POLT 555 - Politics in Russia

      Develops an understanding of politics in the Russian Federation. Surveys the political history of Russia from 1900 until the collapse of the Communist Party and the dissolution of the USSR. Focuses on the development of the Federation's institutions, with emphasis on the Presidency and the Parliament, federalism, the role of the people, transformation toward a market economy, and the Federation's status as a democracy.
      Credits: 4

      POLT 557 - Politics in Italy


      Credits: 4

      POLT 560 - World Politics

      Examines the structures, processes and issues that shape contemporary international relations. Topics included are: the rise of the nation-state system and its current prospects; national and international security in the post Cold War era; problems of the international political economy; international conflict resolution; human rights; and global environmental politics.
      Credits: 4

      POLT 562 - Strategy and National Security Policy

      Provides an overview of U.S. national security. Examines the nature of security, evolution of strategy, and the history of the United States approach to its national security. Focuses on the policy and decision-making processes, the use of force in international affairs, and the capabilities of the U.S. military. Concludes with treatment of specific issues, including the current American security environment-- state and non-state threats, contemporary military strategy, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, peacekeeping, coercive diplomacy, alliances, and conflict management and resolution. Writing intensive.
      Credits: 4

      POLT 708 - Administrative Law

      Examines the legal rules governing regulatory agencies, in the U.S. Topics include regulatory adjudication and rulemaking, legislative and executive control over administrative agencies, judicial review and public participation. Course examines federal and state levels of government
      Credits: 4

      POLT 762 - International Political Economy

      The evolution of international economic regimes (monetary, trade, development). Particular emphasis on theoretical approaches to explain current economic problems: systematic theories (interdependence, hegemonic stability); domestic determinants (bureaucratic, interest group); and decision-making theories (rational choice). Writing intensive.
      Credits: 4

      PS 407 - Politics, Law and Contemporary Society

      This course examines the foundation and structure of the American legal system and the complex relationship between law, politics, and contemporary social structures, including the philosophical and historical origins of law and the concept of sovereignty. Using case studies and United States Supreme Court decisions, the course considers the philosophical, historical, economic, environmental, and sociological underpinnings of contemporary legal and politics issues.
      Credits: 4

      PS 501 - Social and Political-Economic Theory

      Classics of sociological and political economic theory, as well as contemporary thinking in conservative, classical liberal, modern liberal, and radical political economy. Emphasis on the historical context in which these ideas emerge, and the links among them. Readings and discussions include such thinkers as Comte, Spencer, Weber, Durkheim, Locke, Marx, Smith, Riccardo, J.S. Mill, Shumpeter, Keynes, Hayek.
      Credits: 4

      PS 502 - Political Psychology

      Political opinion, identity, and belief-formation and reinforcement. The roles of cognition and emotion in how political identities, opinions and beliefs form, change and resist change. The implications of idea-framing in the acceptance and rejection of political concepts and ideologies. The role of social contexts and the media in creating conceptual boundaries in contemporary politics. Writing intensive.
      Credits: 4

      PS 503 - Political Theory and Historical and Social Context

      Course analyzes and evaluates the roles of political philosophy and historical circumstances in politics through the readings of selected works by political philosophers and political leaders whose writings combine political philosophy with historical analysis. Special attention given to the nature of argument, choice, and leadership in political behavior. Authors studied include Machiavelli, Madison, Marx, and Lincoln.
      Credits: 4

      PS 504 - Empire, Democracy and War

      The United States, the world's oldest and most prominent constitutional democracy, is frequently characterized as an American empire, and empire maintained not only by its political ideals and its economic strength, but also by war. Through the reading of selected ancient and modern works by major political philosophers, historians, and political leaders, this course examines empire, democracy, and war as recurrent political concerns and as the actual experience of different regimes throughout history, including the United States. Works by, among others, Aristotle, Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Kant, Clausewitz, and Lincoln are supplemented by selected historical studies and by analyses of American policy since World War II.
      Credits: 4

      PS 505 - Political Violence and Terrorism

      This course provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of political violence and terrorism. It covers the psychological and sociological roots of terrorism, the organizational patterns of cells, groups and networks, and the role of ideology and identity in shaping goals, targets, and tactics. No credit for students who have previously taken PS 651 Special Topics: Political Violence and Terrorism. This course will serve as a requirement in the forthcoming Homeland Security major.
      Credits: 4

      PS 506 - Civil Society and Public Policy

      Explores how grassroots advocacy organizations and social movements mobilize human and material resources in order to shape public policy and what tatics and organizational and communication strategies lead to success. Provides students with hand-on learning through service learning project at a local organization. Policy areas may include immigration, environmental conservation, women's issues and more. Instructor permission required.
      Credits: 4

      PS 507 - Justice Law and Politics

      This course examines the relationships among law, politics, and social structures and how much relationships shape our conceptions of justice. We explore philosophical and historical origins of US law and such concepts as due process and sovereignty. We examine the foundations and economic, environmental, and sociological underpinnings of contemporary legal and political issues.
      Credits: 4

      PS 508 - Supreme Court in US Society

      This course examines Supreme Court legal holdings from the creation of the American Republic to the present, with attention to the social and historical contexts in which holdings have been made. We examine Constitutional issues, the process by which the Court examines such issues, the ways in which political and social context has framed and influenced Court decisions, as well as how the Court has influenced politics and the broader society.
      Credits: 4

      PS 509 - Political and Social Change in Developing Countries

      Overview of the pressing social, political, and economic issues in the developing world. Analysis includes: political development, including different forms of authoritarianism and democracy; international political economy and models of macro-economic development; international and national aid programs aimed at reducing poverty. Case studies include China, India, Iraq and more.
      Credits: 4

      PS 510 - Politics of Food

      This course examines the politics of how food is produced, marketed and distributed in the United States, with attention to how the American food system has changed since World War II. The ethics and nutritional and public health implications of current agricultural policies and practices are looked at carefully, as are the environmental impacts of current practices. The impact on international food prices and markets and world hunger are also examined.
      Credits: 4

      PS 511 - Women and War

      Explores impact of war on women as both victims (i.e. refugees, rape victims) and participants (i.e. warriors). Covers issues such as women in combat as soldiers and terrorists, women's rights, sexual violence and rape during warfare, women's roles during peace-building etc. Case studies include Bosnia, Liberia, Afghanistan, USA, Colombia, and more.
      Credits: 4

      PS 695 - Independent Study

      Independent study on specific topics in Politics ans Society. Project must be approved by the project supervisor Politics and Society Program.
      Credits: 1-4

      PS 701 - Senior Project and Interdisciplinary Seminar in Politics and Society

      Students undertake internships or other approved field projects with organizations such as political campaigns, media organizations, government offices, business or community groups. The seminar component enables students to share and analyze these experiences, employing readings, discussions, collective behavior games, and speakers. Permission required.
      Credits: 4

      PS 702 - International Relations: Interdisciplinary Approach

      This course explores International Relations Theory as developed by political scientists, subjected to critical insights from other disciplines, including psychology, anthropology, political economy and history. Course first surveys the historical development of International Relations Theory, beginning with Thucydides and Macchiavelli, and proceeding through 20th and 21st century realist, liberal, Marxist and constructivist theories. Theses theories are then examined critically in the light of insights from psychology, anthropology and political economy. Pre or Coreq: PS 501 or PS 401 or permission of instructor. Special fee.
      Credits: 4

      PS 703 - Dictatorship and Democracy

      This course examines the theoretical debates in comparative politics and political sociology regarding the social and economic bases of dictatorship and democracy, as well as the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. The course considers different conceptualizations of democracy, as well as competing theoretical agruments regarding the causes of democractization. Readings draw on case studies from different regions, including Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
      Credits: 4