Photo of Prof. Robert George with two undergraduate students

The Department of Politics, in collaboration with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, offers the program in American Ideas and Institutions (AIIP) for students who wish to further and demonstrate their understandings of the three branches of the federal government and the values, ideas, and theories that underlie them and are animated by their workings.  It draws together a menu of courses from American politics, political theory, public law, and other departmental offerings.

Program Requirements

A student in the program is required to complete five courses, one in each of the four topics listed below, as well as one more additionally chosen from any one of the areas.  No individual course number may be counted for more than one program requirement (even if, as in the case of POL 332 for example, the course may be taken by a student more than once as the topic changes annually).

Topic Areas:
(1) The Executive Branch
POL 325 The Presidency and Executive Power
POL 330 Electing the President: Voter Psychology and Candidate Strategy
POL 332 Topics course: American Statesmanship [when topic deemed relevant by the program advisor]

(2) The Legislative Branch
POL 324 Congressional Politics
POL 329 Policy Making in America

(3) The Constitution and the Courts
POL 314 American Constitutional Development
POL 315 Constitutional Interpretation
POL 316 Civil Liberties
POL 320 Judicial Politics
POL 326 Constitutional Difficulties in the Age of Trump

(4) American Political, Legal, and Constitutional Thought
WWS 370 / POL 308 Ethics and Public Policy
POL 314 American Constitutional Development
POL 315 Constitutional Interpretation
POL 316 Civil Liberties
POL 319 History of African American Political Thought
POL 321 American Political Thought
POL 332 Topics course: American Statesmanship [when topic deemed relevant by the program advisor]

 

Senior Thesis

While a student in the program must write a thesis on a topic related to the student's primary field, the thesis must also incorporate significant content related to themes in one or more of the topic areas of the program.  The student should meet with the AIIP advisor during the fall semester of senior year to confirm the suitability of their thesis topic.  On or before the thesis draft deadline, the appropriate content of the thesis must be certified by the AIIP advisor.


All students who declare their concentration in Politics are eligible to pursue this track and should inform the Undergraduate Program Manager of their intention to pursue it upon declaring the concentration in April of their sophomore year, and no later than February 1 of their junior year. 


Questions regarding the Program in American Ideas and Institutions should be directed to the program advisor, Prof. Keith Whittington.  

 

Please note: The degree will read A.B. in Politics and unlike University Certificates, the departmental program will not appear on the transcript. Concentrators who successfully complete the program’s requirements will receive a departmental attestation on Class Day.