About the Program
Political Science can be of interest to students with any of a wide range of intellectual concerns and career goals. The discipline encompasses a number of different sub-fields, and the Department's course offerings reflect various dimensions of the study of politics.
The field of American Politics includes the study of political behavior (electoral politics, public opinion, politics of interest groups), public policy analysis (economic policy, social welfare policy, urban public policy), and the study of governmental institutions (the Presidency, Congress, judicial process and public law, the politics of bureaucracies).
Courses in Comparative Politics include the study of various political phenomena from a comparative perspective (revolution and political violence, political elites, political modernization and development, comparative public policy), and the study of government and politics in particular geographical areas (Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Western Europe).
Courses in International Politics include the study of international development, international political economy, national security and defense policy, nuclear weapons and arms control, terrorism and guerrilla warfare in international perspective, international organizations, bargaining and negotiation.
Political and Social Theory involves the study of various political, empirical, and conceptual aspects of the ways in which we seek to understand the political world. It includes courses in the history of political thought, modern ideologies, and contemporary political philosophy, political psychology, and political sociology.
Finally, the Department offers a number of courses in Formal and Mathematical Approaches to the study of politics. There is also among the faculty a variety of intellectual styles and approaches to the discipline and a considerable willingness to adapt the curriculum to meet the developing interests of students, either with new courses or through independent study.
The major in Political Science can be an exceptional means for students to acquire a broad liberal education, and the faculty has a strong commitment to this objective. In addition, students may find the major a useful preparation for a number of career options.
A great many of our graduates go on to law school. Others seek professional training and/or advanced degrees in such fields as public administration, urban planning, policy analysis, business, journalism, education, and social work. Some may decide to pursue graduate training in political science (or in other related disciplines) and seek academic careers. Finally, of course, a number of political science graduates may enter careers in federal, state, or local government.
Like all other majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, Political Science is not itself a pre-professional program. The B.A. degree in Political Science can, however, be used to facilitate a wide range of career opportunities.