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What is political science?

Political science is the study of politics and power from domestic, international, and comparative perspectives. It entails understanding political ideas, ideologies, institutions, policies, processes, and behavior, as well as groups, classes, government, diplomacy, law, strategy, and war. A background in political science is valuable for citizenship and political action, as well as for future careers in government, law, business, media, or public service.

What questions do political scientists explore?

Political science tries to understand how politics works. Our field tries to answer these questions and many others.

You can engage in research opportunities with our faculty. You can conduct independent and collaborative research on questions they are investigating or ones of your own. 

What Types of courses Can I take?

We provide students an opportunity to learn about politics from various perspectives. Classes are offered in the four major subfields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. Many courses cut across subfields. While some students choose the majority of courses from within one or two subfields, most take a wide variety of courses that span different areas.

If you wish, optional concentrations provide a structured academic plan. We encourage you to consult with department advisers to design individualized programs of study. For example, students have designed concentrations around themes such as race, ethnicity, and politics; global transformation; representation and law; social and economic inequalities; terrorism and national security; and citizenship studies. 

For a more detailed description of how to approach undergraduate studies in political science, please begin with our First-Year Focus page. For questions pertaining to choosing courses, please review our undergraduate frequently asked questions page.

How does political science prepare me for the future?

Our curriculum focuses on critical thinking, data analysis, and ethical reasoning and provides you with knowledge about current and past political events across the world. Our alumni pursue a number of different careers. These include government service (at federal, state, and local levels) nonprofits, law, campaigns and polling, journalism, consulting, and business.