Political Economy

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Traditionally, the study of politics and economics was combined. Modern thinkers like Adam Smith and John Locke were referred to as political economists: individuals who understood the intricate relationship between economics and politics. While these disciplines have become separated at many colleges, The College of Idaho recognizes that a good understanding of either discipline really requires a good understanding of both.

Why study Political Economy at The College of Idaho?

The Department of Political Economy offers two majors through the PEAK curriculum: Political Economy and International Political Economy. The Department of Political Economy also offers a Political Economy minor and is integral to the College's environmental studies major, and interdisciplinary minors in Asian studies, international development, education studies, criminal justice studies, pre-law and speech rhetoric for students with special interests in those areas.

Our political economy students are challenged to understand and analyze human society, to reassess personal values regarding economic and political issues, to gain an understanding of economic and political principles within a broad domestic and global societal context, to express complex and personally-developed political and economic positions both orally and in writing, to develop an understanding of major political/economic philosophies and questions of justice, and to develop the perspective, analytical methods and proficiency required to conduct research into issues of economic and political interest.

In addition, students who take courses in international political economy gain a substantive knowledge of the political and economic life of selected foreign countries and to apply social science concepts, theories and analytical tools to the political and economic policies of those countries. International Political Economy majors are required to gain competency in at least one foreign language and all students in the department are encouraged to do so.

The department has a 3+3 BA or BS/JD cooperative program with the University of Idaho whereby students can complete a Bachelor of Arts or Science from The College of Idaho and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Idaho. Students pursuing any major are encouraged to explore this unique opportunity. See the "Cooperative Programs" section for specific requirements.

Career Opportunities for C of I Political Economy Students

Our Political Economy major is designed for students primarily interested in domestic politics, law, economics/business related careers and public policy. The International Political Economy major is designed for students whose primary interests lie in the study of international politics, international economics/business and foreign affairs. Numerous C of I alumni have gone on to successful careers in government service and have been elected to local, state and national office, including two governors of Idaho and a governor of Oregon. Writing and journalism, language studies, humanitarian and non-profit work, teaching and ministry are also possible career choices for political economy students.