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

  • About this program

    The Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Society provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of politics. The program emphasizes the many ways in which politics both shapes and is shaped by social, cultural, economic and historical context.

    The program explores such issues as the historical context of political processes and ideas, how economics and politics impact one another, and how political ideas are framed, legitimized, de-legitimized and manipulated in different social contexts.

    Politics and Society majors develop critical thinking, communication and research skills essential for careers in government, politics, journalism, diplomacy and business.

    Graduates of the program also will be well-prepared for graduate studies in law, political science, sociology, public policy, public administration, business administration, journalism, diplomacy, international relations and history.

    As the University’s urban campus, UNH Manchester is well-positioned to connect students to local, state and national politics through coursework, research, and internships. Students will have opportunities to work on local and national political campaigns, in local government and with community organizations for credit as a part of their Senior Capstone project.

    For more information contact Program Director Melinda Negron-Gonzales at 603-641-4364 or melinda.negron@unh.edu, or Michael Contarino at 603-641-4138 or mike.contarino@unh.edu; or contact the Office of Admissions.

  • Program of Study

    Students must complete 128 credits to graduate, including 56 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 the UNH Discovery Program requirements. Transfer students must take at least 28 credits in the major at UNH Manchester.

    Program Requirements

    Students should complete lower-level courses before beginning their upper-level program. Substitutions may be approved with permission of the politics and society program coordinator. Writing-intensive (“W”) courses are included at all levels and will be offered all semesters. Students are encouraged to take a course in statistics and an Inquiry course in a related area.

    Six 400-Level Courses

    All of the following

    • POLT 401 Politics and Society
    • SOC 400 Introductory Sociology
    • ANTH 411 Global Perspectives on the Human Condition
    • ECN 411 Introduction to Macroeconomics

    One of the following

    • POLT 402 Introduction to American Politics
    • POLT 403 US and World Affairs
    • PS 407 Politics and Law in Contemporary Society

    One of the following

    • HIST 410 Historical Survey of American Civilization
    • HIST 405 History of Early America
    • HIST 406 History of the Modern United States
    • HIST 422 World History in the Modern Era
    • HIST 435/436 Western Civilization

    Seven 500/600/700-Level POLT or PS Courses

    Can include POLT courses (all UNH POLT courses are approved) and interdisciplinary PS courses. (Up to two SOC courses may substitute for POLT/PS courses, only if approved by program coordinator)

    Current and soon-to-be offered PS courses include:

    • PS 501 Social and Political-Economic Theory
    • PS 502 Political Psychology
    • PS 503 Political Theory and Historical and Social Context
    • PS 504 Empire, Democracy and War
    • PS 505 Political Violence and Terrorism
    • PS 506 Civil Society and Public Policy
    • PS 507 Justice, Law and Politics
    • PS 508 The Supreme Court in American Society
    • PS 509 Political and Economic Change in Developing Countries
    • PS 510 The Politics of Food
    • PS 511 Women and War
    • PS 651 Selected Topics in Politics and Society
    • PS 702 International Relations: Interdisciplinary Approaches
    • PS 703 Dictatorship and Democracy

    One Capstone 700-Level PS Course

    • PS 701W: Senior Project and Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar in Politics and Society
  • Areas of Study

    Voluntary Concentrations

    Law, Justice and Society

    Courses are taught by legal professionals who serve as adjunct faculty.

    • PS 407 Politics and Law in Contemporary Society
    • PS 501 Social and Political-Economic Theory
    • PS 506 Civil Society and Public Policy
    • PS 507 Justice, Law and Politics
    • PS 508 The Supreme Court in American Society

    International Relations

    • POLT 403 US and World Affairs
    • POLT 560 World Politics
    • PS 505 Political Violence and Terrorism
    • PS 509 Political and Economic Change in Developing Countries
    • PS 510 The Politics of Food
    • PS 702 International Relations: Interdisciplinary Approaches

    Political Sociology

    • PS 501 Social and Political-Economic Theory
    • PS 502 Political Psychology
    • PS 503 Political Theory and Historical and Social Context
    • PS 505 Political Violence and Terrorism
    • PS 506 Civil Society and Public Policy
    • PS 507 Justice, Law and Politics
    • PS 508 The Supreme Court in American Society
    • PS 509 Political and Economic Change in Developing Countries
    • PS 510 The Politics of Food
    • POLT 798C: Seminar in Comparative Politics

    Political Economy

    • PS 501 Social and Political-Economic Theory
    • PS 506 Civil Society and Public Policy
    • PS 509 Political and Economic Change in Developing Countries
    • PS 510 The Politics of Food
    • POLT 557 Politics in Italy
    • POLT 560 World Politics
    • PS 702 International Relations: Interdisciplinary Approaches
    • POLT 798C: Seminar in Comparative Politics

    Political Philosophy

    • PS 501 Social and Political-Economic Theory
    • PS 503 Political Theory and Historical and Social Context
    • PS 504 Empire, Democracy and War
    • POLT 520 Justice and the Political Community
    • POLT 521 Rights and the Political Community
    • POLT 522 Dissent and the Political Community
    • POLT 524 Politics and Literature
  • Minor

    Political Science Minor

    The Political Science 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 breadth of perspective through the 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 Michael Contarino.

    For more information contact Michael Contarino at 603-641-4138 or Tom Birch at 603-641-4108.

  • Faculty

    staff photo

    Melinda Negron-Gonzales

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

    staff photo

    Michael Contarino

    Associate Professor
    Politics and Society Program
    Social Science Division
    University Center
    603-641-4138
    Michael.Contarino@unh.edu

    Judith Kumin

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

    staff photo

    Thaddeus Piotrowski

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

  • Florence Summer Program 2014

    Apply for the 2014 Florence Summer Program Now

    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.

    The 2014 summer session begins 14 May and ends 28 June. Classes are held Monday through Thursday, affording students long weekends for independent travel. Rome, Milan, Bologna, Venice, the Alps, Sicily, and many other destinations are easily accessibly by train. Students have the opportunity to travel around Tuscany and Italy on Institute-sponsored field trips, to visit vineyards and olive groves, to attend opera and theatre performances in the Boboli gardens -- to experience the best of Italy at the nicest time of the year.

    The program is offered by the UNH Manchester Politics and Society program, and Politics and Society majors have preference in admission. However, all UNH students are welcome to apply.

    The cost of the program is $4554 for NH Residents and $4,891 for Non-NH Residents, including tuition for two courses, housing, and use of the services and excellent facilities of the Institute at Palazzo Rucellai. This fee does not include airfare or food. Financial Aid is available for students who qualify.

    Apply for the 2014 Florence Summer Program Now. Students also may contact directly Professor Michael Contarino at mc1@unh.edu or 641-4138

  • 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
    PS 407, Politics and Law in Contemporary Society
    ENGL 401, First Year Writing, or Inquiry Course
    Foreign Language II
    Discovery Course

    Second Year

    Fall semester
    ANTH 411 Global Perspectives on the Human Condition
    Discovery Course
    Discovery Course
    Elective (possibly in minor)

    Spring Semester
    HIST 405, HIST 406, HIST 410, HIST 422, HIST 435, or HIST 436
    Discovery Course
    Discovery Course
    ECN 411, Introduction to Macroeconomic Principles

    Third Year

    Fall Semester
    SOC 400, Introduction to Sociology
    500-700 Level PS Course (includes PS, POLT and SOC Courses)
    500-700 Level PS Course
    Elective Course

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

    Fourth Year

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

  • 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 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.
      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