The University of Edinburgh

Harvard University

Political Science

"Politics is the art of the possible."

- Otto Von Bismarck

The details:

This EXPLOREMYX introduces you to some of the courses that are required to complete a major in political science. Try it on for size and see if political science is a major you really want to invest the time and money in. You’ll learn how different political institutions create and enforce laws, how they represent the interests of the people they govern and how they interact with other nations. Political science is a dynamic major both for exploring the nature of law, power and authority but also for familiarizing yourself with the different methods used to research social behavior.

How long it’ll take:

1 semester



exploremyx: Political Science

1. The University of Edinburgh

Introduction to Social Research Methods

How does ‘society’ function? What makes ‘culture’? These are crucially important questions that can help us to understand the most pressing issues that human beings face today – but how do we answer them? This course will explore the techniques and approaches used by researchers to answer difficult questions about the social world.

This course isn’t a practical or technical guide to doing research. Rather, it offers a way for us to think deeply about what methods are, and what they allow us to achieve.

When you complete this course, we want you to be critical users of research – and that means having the ability to always question the application of methods, and to hold ourselves to account as researchers and scholars. That not only makes our research better, it also foregrounds the things that are most exciting and interesting about methods.

What you’ll learn:

  • The kinds of methods researchers tend to adopt

  • The contexts in which certain research methods are used

  • The benefits, drawbacks and ethical implications of research

2. Harvard University

US Government

What are the foundations of the U.S. political system? How do leading institutions such as the presidency and Congress operate? Where do public opinion, political parties, groups, and the media fit in? What explains America’s economic, social, and foreign policies? If exploring these questions interests you, then this series is for you.

You’ll examine the American political system, including its constitutional foundations and public policies. You’ll learn about U.S. institutions and U.S. political organizations while maintaining a perspective on the "big picture". What are the driving forces and persistent tendencies of American politics? Who governs America — how, when and why? Lectures highlight the main features of American politics and case studies will prompt you to think critically about what you have learned.

American politics has all the aspects of drama, but it has real meaning for people’s everyday lives. This introduction to the U.S. government will enable you to understand the origin of key narratives in U.S. political discourse and guide you through a complex system so that you can enable change in your communities.

What you will learn:

  • Public policy in America

  • The dynamics of American politics

  • The inner workings of the three branches of the U.S. Federal Government

  • The forces in American politics that shift the political landscape

  • How early American politics informed the U.S. Constitution

3. Harvard University

Justice Today: Money, Markets, and Morals

Should you be able to buy a vote, citizenship, or college admission? Would you bet on someone else’s life—or, more accurately their death date? What about paying to see the exploitation of a person?

Competition, status, and greed often cause one’s moral compass to move in the wrong direction, but if there is a market to support these macabre sales, then the question to consider is this: Are there certain moral and civic goods, that markets do not honor, and money cannot buy?

Deciding case-by-case the ethical considerations to determine when and if people’s rights are violated, you will immerse yourself in videos from the Institute for New Economic Thinking, learning alongside a global cohort of peers—engaging in discussion and debating the moral dividing line.

Led by award-winning Harvard Professor Michael J. Sandel, professor of the popular HarvardX course Justice, you will explore topics that might sound familiar, like price gouging and human organ sales—but have you thought of linestanding, refugee quotas, or lookism? This course will take a deep dive into various “needs” and whether they abuse market mechanisms.

What you'll learn:

  • The ways in which markets have crowded out non-market spaces and norms.

  • To reflect about the moral limits - if any - of market norms.

  • How “needs” are subjective, and place value on nontraditional goods and services.

  • How to clearly articulate a philosophical argument about the allocation of goods and the moral boundaries of markets in our societies.

  • How to develop and refine your own ethical framework to address challenging moral dilemmas.

This work totals 112 hours over the course of 15 weeks

Enroll me in this exploremyx

Please note that MYX will enroll you in these courses before the start of term.

The University of Edinburgh

Harvard University