Skip to Main Content
Chat With Us

Political Science


Collection Development Policy

Guide to Political Science research at Boston College Libraries

Collection Development Policy

*This collection includes Political Science, International Studies, and Law.


This collection serves the Political Science Department and the International Studies Program.  It supports research, teaching and learning in law, politics, political history, political theory  and philosophy, government, military and naval science, international relations and international studies at Boston College.

Description of the Programs

The Political Science Department has four major areas of research and study:  political philosophy, American politics, comparative politics and international politics.  Political philosophy and theory are particular strengths of the department.  At this time, the  majority of faculty research is qualitative and theoretical versus quantitative.

Political Science Degrees Offered:

  • B.A. 

  • M.A.

  • Ph. D.

The International Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program focused on the international aspects of disciplines in the Social Sciences and Humanities.  Program faculty are typically affiliated with a department.   Most courses are cross-listed with other departments including Communications, Economics, History, Political Science, Sociology and Theology.  Enrollment in the major has increased by 102% since 2009, according to the BC Factbook.  Majors must submit an application for admission to the program. The minor is among the most popular minors offered.  Additionally, the  International Studies Program was cited in Strategic Direction IV of the 2018 BC  Strategic Plan, Ever to Excel: Advancing Boston College’s Mission, as a program that will grow as part of the institutional effort to enhance global engagement. 

International Studies Degrees Offered:

  • Minor

  • B.A.


The Political Science and International Studies Bibliographer makes selections based on research and curricular needs, user request and disciplinary knowledge.  Faculty and student recommendations are encouraged.  Requests from faculty and graduate students are fulfilled whenever possible.  Fiscally responsible practices used in selection include negotiating for lower pricing, cancelling unused subscriptions, assessment and comparison of vendor offerings and cost-sharing with other bibliographers.  

Disciplinary Scope

The collection supports the four major areas of study within the Political Science Department, (political philosophy, American politics, comparative politics and international politics) and concentrations of interest in International Studies such as political economy, development studies, peace and conflict studies, social justice and religious and secular ethics.  The law component of this collection is broad to meet a range of research and teaching interests on the subject at the Chestnut Hill campus.

Interdisciplinary Relationships

The bibliographer works with bibliographers in the Social Sciences and Humanities to coordinate interdisciplinary acquisitions. This is particularly important to support  International Studies and Political Philosophy.  In some cases, the bibliographer coordinates law related acquisitions with the Boston College Law Library.  

Collection Emphases for Political Science

The collection focuses on current events, issues, and processes with historical emphasis in government, political development, political theory and philosophy. Research in this field is often interdisciplinary in nature and selection supports this.  The collection is global in scope but the United States and Europe are best represented.  Major publishers include Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, University of Chicago Press, Princeton University Press, CQ Press, Taylor & Francis  and Sage Publications. 

o   Out of Scope

  • See Boston College Libraries Collection Development Policy.

o   Minimal Level

  • General interest political commentary and analysis is selected for research and curricular purposes.  Mainstream popular publishers are preferred.
  • Political Systems (Central America, South America, Africa, Central Asia & South Asia)
  • Local Government
  • Military Science (administration, infantry & engineering) [Subclasses UA-UH]
  • Naval Science [Subclass V]

o   Basic

  • History (Europe, Asia & Africa) [Subclasses D-DT]
  • Socialism & Communism [Subclass HX]
  • Comparative government and functions of government
  • Public Administration
  • Political Systems (Europe, Russia, Canada, East Asia & Middle East)
  • Military Science, General
  • War Philosophy
  • Atomic weapons

o   Research Support

  • Ancient and Modern Philosophy [Subclass B]
  • United States History [Subclass E]
  • Political Theory and Political Philosophy
  • Government, Congress & Executive Branch (United States)
  • Political Systems (United States)
  • Voting and Electoral System (United States)
  • Political Violence
  • Political Rights (United States)
  • Political Parties (United States)
  • Colonies and Colonization
  • Immigration and Emigration (United States & Europe)
  • International Relations

Note:  Material that some may consider controversial may be acquired for the collection if it supports research and teaching needs.

Collection Emphases for International Studies

This collection is highly interdisciplinary.  It spans history to present day with greatest emphasis on the 20th and 21st centuries.  This collection provides research level support for topics of curricular needs and faculty research in their disciplines. 

Collection Emphases for Law

This collection is basic and focused on U.S. federal law, minimal state law and basic Massachusetts law.  Technical and advanced works are typically out of scope unless requested by a faculty member or graduate student.  Case books are occasionally collected.


Format decisions follow the General Collection Development Policy and allow for considerations of requester preference, curricular needs, and other factors.

  • Journals: electronic journals are preferred, ideally they are perpetual access if possible

  • Books and Monographs: electronic edited volumes and collections and print monographs are usually selected

  • Statistics and Data: collections of statistics and data are preferred for ease of access and management over single data sets, examples include ICPSR, Roper Center for Public Opinion

  • News and Current Affairs Resources: examples include CQ Researcher,,

  • Specialized Resources and Collections: these collections are acquired to meet curricular needs and specified faculty and graduate student research needs, examples include ProQuest Congressional, FBIS, CQ Almanac, CQ Voting and Elections, JSTOR Security Studies and Protest & Revolution Online

  • Article Databases and Indexes: many databases, including Google Scholar, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, International Political Science Abstracts, Policy File Index, PAIS and NexisUni serve these disciplines. JSTOR is popular. 


The majority of selections are for English language material. French and German are collected also.  Acquisitions in other languages are made based on faculty request or a specific need. 


We purchase recent imprints, but may do retrospective purchasing of older materials as needed.


 See the Boston College Libraries Gift Policy. 

Collection Maintenance

See the Boston College Libraries Collection Maintenance Policy.