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Political Economy

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

The Department of Politics and Government, in conjunction with the departments of Economics, Finance, and Insurance; History; and Sociology, offers an interdisciplinary major in political economy.

The undergraduate major in political economy exposes students to political and economic philosophies and to the consequences of specific public policies, and combines political and economic inquiries and approaches into a cohesive interdisciplinary program.

The discipline of political economy has a distinguished past. Such giants as Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Karl Marx are counted in its ranks. Economics and political science then became separate disciplines, with strong intellectual traditions. There is now an international trend to reunite them. The University of Hartford anticipated that trend by establishing an undergraduate major in political economy in 1981.

The interdisciplinary major in political economy concentrates on the relationship between politics and economics as it has developed historically and as it manifests itself in today's world. Beyond the intellectual stimulation of recognizing and seeking resolution of social problems, students of political economy learn the value of shifting the focus from one discipline to another in order to make, analyze, and evaluate policy.

Employers as well as graduate and professional schools recognize that the rapidly changing social environment places a premium on breadth of intellectual training and flexibility. Thus political economy, like liberal arts in general, prepares the student for the second and third job, not just the first. Furthermore, the relationship between politics and economics, referred to above, is manifested in new jobs such as country risk analysts at commercial banks. More generally, a degree in political economy may prepare the student for a career in business (including transnational corporations), government (including international agencies), teaching, and law, and for graduate work as appropriate for any of these pursuits. In short, scholars in the field of political economy feel justified in saying that it is an idea whose time has come again.

Political economy majors and minors should plan to fulfill their Arts and Sciences general education requirements early. Since political economy is by its very nature an interdisciplinary field, students majoring or minoring in it are encouraged to take courses in the interdisciplinary All-University Curriculum beyond the required minimum. Planning a course of study with so many variables requires close consultation with the program coordinator or other advisor.