Government department ranked first worldwide
The London School of Economics and Political Science has ranked Bowdoin's government and legal studies department the top small college political science department in the world. Among 200 colleges and universities in the study, the government departments at Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, Yale University, and UCLA were ranked the top five overall. Bowdoin was ranked 123, but was the top small college on the list. The colleges and universities were ranked based on how much of the government department's research appeared in the top 23 prestigous political science journals.
Government major Melissa Hudson '05 agreed that research participation and publication at Bowdoin is one of the department's strengths. She also noted that the department encourages students as well as professors to become involved in research and to publish findings in The Forum, Bowdoin's own politial science journal. "The Forum is one of the only political science journals published by a small college," she said. "We're highly encouraged to publish a substantial amount of work as undergraduates. The journal is definitely one of the best aspects of the department; it speaks to the department's caliber."
Students receive a lot of support from the faculty while they are researching. "The department offers joint projects and independent studies, which count as two courses," said Hudson. "At any level of research, there is support. They really make research a priority for students."
Kate Fendler '05, a fellow government major, also saw research as an important priority of the government and legal studies department. "I haven't had a professor that doesn't do research," said Fendler. "They are very knowledgeable in their specific area of study."
Fendler felt that Bowdoin's small size provided many advantages that a university cannot offer, including small class sizes and personable professors.
"The legal studies class I'm taking right now is only 16 or so students, so you can't hide. It really lets you get to know your professors," she said. "They not only know your name for the semester you are in their class but also two years later. You can't get that at a bigger school."
Hudson also noted how supportive and challenging the faculty in the government department is. "Advisors and professors I've had don't just encourage you to think about information but also to consider how that information affects you as an individual."