PSCI 3225 Strategy and Politics

Instructor Contact:

Dalton Dorr, PhD


About the Course:

How many decisions do we make on a whim?  This class examines how political actors consider the potential choices and preferences of other actors before strategically making their own decisions. This course introduces students to the tools and concepts of game theory, a powerful and generalized approach to understanding how people make politically strategic decisions like while voting, lawmaking, and in international conflict.

Recommended prerequisites: PSCI 1101, or PSCI 2012, or PSCI 2223


This course is designed to expand the methods that students use to analyze and apply theory to current political issues. By the end of this course students should be able to cohesively discuss rational-choice decision-making processes on political and other social issues through the lenses of strategic interactions. Students will learn to apply mathematical models in a rational-choice framework to explain both observed and unobserved outcomes from political events. Most importantly, students will understand the strengths and weaknesses of using rational-choice analysis to substantiate arguments and opinions about political issues.

Required Texts:

Game Theory for Political Scientists, James Morrow (1994)

Grading (out of 100 points):

Problem Sets: 25

Response Papers: 20

Participation: 10

Midterm Exam: 20

Final Exam: 25

Now that you’ve selected your favorite Continuing Education courses, email or print the information, including class number, to more easily search Buff Portal and enroll. Still have questions? Contact an advisor.


Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado