Political Economy

Major and Minor in Political Economy

Department of History and Political Science

Major (36 hours: 8 required courses and 4 electives)

Eight Required Courses:

  1. POLEC 200Foundations of Political Economy. An introduction to the fundamental alternative ways of thinking about the relation between government and economic life and to some of the main concepts necessary for thinking about this relation. [This course will involve some history of economic thought, but it is not an economic history course.  Its focus is not economic thought, but how different political arrangements and ideas imply different approaches to economic life, and vice versa.  Moreover, the idea is not to canvass a series of dead and forgotten systems or models, but to look at the most important alternatives that have been developed in the course of history as a way of thinking about the question, what is the best approach?]
  2. POLSC 101Understanding Politics
  3. POLSC 102Democracy in America
  4. ECON 232Principles of Microeconomics
  5. ECON 233Principles of Macroeconomics
  6. POLSC 345Western Political Thought III: Early Modern Political Thought
  7. POLEC 310The Political Economy of a Free Society. This course examines the fundamental change that occurred in political economy in the 17th and 18th Centuries.  Emphasis will fall on the Enlightenment impetus towards freedom and the rise of classical liberalism. An examination of the original arguments for classical liberal political economy found in the works of thinkers such as Smith, Ricardo, Bastiat, Cobden, and others.
  8. POLEC 320 - 20th Century Political Economy: the Welfare State and Beyond.  Examines the most important and influential thinkers on political economy in the 19th and 20th Centuries, including Marx, von Mises, Keynes, Hayek, and Friedman.

Four Electives: Chose two from each category:

Category A:  

  1. POLEC 410American Political Economy I: Founding Through Civil War. Examines the theory and practice of government’s role in the American economy through the Civil War. May include the arguments of Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Clay, and Lincoln as well as topics such as assumption of Revolutionary debt, the National Bank, government funding of internal improvements, the development of railroads, and the opening of Western lands.
  2. POLEC 420American Political Economy II: Reconstruction through the Great Society.  Examines the theory and practice of government’s role in the American economy from Reconstruction through the Great Society. May include the arguments of Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, FDR, Dwight Eisenhower, and LBJ as well as topics such as trust-busting, creation of the Federal Reserve, the New Deal, the federal highway system, and the Great Society
  3. POLEC 430International Political Economy/Globalization. Examines the attempts to develop, preserve, and regulate an international economy based on the principle of free trade. Considers questions such as what political institutions are required for free trade as well as specific issues such as the World Bank, the dollar standard, exchange rates, national borrowing and lending, and sovereign debt.
  4. POLEC 440Topics in Political Economy (can be repeated twice as topics change). This course provides an intensive examination of an important topic, text, or controversy in political economy.  Topics, which might vary widely, will change from year to year:
    • causes and consequences of the Great Depression
    • the political implications of economic integration in Europe
    • the political effects of liberalization of trade with China
    • the political economy of the modern administrative state
    • Islamic political economy
    • an intensive reading of some significant text in political economy such as Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Selections from Karl Marx, etc.
    • A study of some particular program or law, such as TARP, Sarbanes-Oxley, the subsidies for green energy, or the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).
    • Marxism, Communism, and Socialism.

Category B:

  1.  ECON 301 – Game Theory
  2.  ECON 321 – Public Finance
  3.  ECON 331 – Comparative Cultural Economic Studies
  4.  ECON 332 – Intermediate Microeconomics
  5.  ECON 333 – Intermediate Macroeconomics
  6.  ECON 334 – Money and Banking
  7.  ECON 342 – Global Economics

 Minor (24 hours):

Required Courses:

  1. POLEC 200 – Foundations of Political Economy
  2. POLSC 101 – Understanding Politics
  3. ECON 232 – Principles of Microeconomics
  4. ECON 233 – Principles of Macroeconomics
  5. POLSC 102 – Democracy in America
  6. POLSC 345 – Western Political Thought III
  7. POLEC 310 –  The Political Economy of a Free Society
  8. POLEC 320 –  20th Century Political Economy: the Welfare State and Beyond


  1. Choose one: POLEC 410 - American Political Economy I, POLEC 420 - American Political Economy II, or (with the approval of the Department Chair), POLEC 440 - Topics in Political Economy.  
  2. Choose one: ECON 301 - Game Theory, POLEC 430 - International Political Economy/Globalization, ECON 331 -  Comarative Cultural Economic Studies, ECON 332 - Intermediate Microeconomics, ECON 333 - Intermediate Macroeconomics, ECON 342 - Global Economics, or (with the approval of the Department Chair) POLEC 440 - Topics in Political Economy.

Strongly Recommended in Core:

  1. MATH 208 – Elementary Statistics
  2. HIST 113 – Western Civilization II


with Margaret Cogar, John Moser, Rebecca Schmeller, Jeffrey Weidenhamer What...Read more