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.
- Why do countries fight wars?
- Why can’t the Democrats and Republicans in Congress cooperate with each other?
- Why are some countries rich and others poor?
- What does it mean to act ethically in politics?
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 Frequently Asked Questions.
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.
- Rigor and flexibility: You can become an expert in a specific area of study and choose from a wide range of electives within the major.
- Diverse career paths (e.g., law, government service, business, policy analysis, teaching, consulting)
- Strong analytical skills: Learn to critically evaluate problems and solutions; develop skills in research, writing, and argumentation; acquire quantitative skills and become familiar with multiple methodologies; earn skill-based certificates of achievement in foreign language and/or quantitative skills.